Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Transcendence (2014)

The world, as we know it, had ended. There was no electricity and no internet. Basically, it looked like the post-computer age... The ultimate nightmare for millennials whose electronics are always at arms' reach. No, it wasn't the aftermath of Typhoon Rammasun. It was the opening scene of the movie, Transcendence

Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, and Rebecca Hall played a team of scientists who wanted to develop a computer with artificial intelligence. Depp's character believed that, at some point, artificial intelligence would have achieved "transcendence", that state in which it would be much better than human intelligence. However, before he had achieved transcendence, Depp's character was injured by people against the technology... He only had a few weeks to live and was convinced by Hall's character to use it to upload his mind into a computer. Everything went downhill after that.

I was willing to suspend disbelief as I watched the movie because the technology being featured was reminiscent of Dr Arnim Zola's computer-preserved mind in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, it became way too much, and I just had to shake my head, when people connected to the Depp supercomputer via the Internet and nanobots (comes with superhuman strength and the ability to regenerate) started appearing. No wonder someone had to pull the plug on Web connectivity!!

The story wasn't so good... I was expecting more when I saw the star-studded cast. And why did the plot-maker put Cillian Murphy and Morgan Freeman way too much in the background? They could have shone in the greyish light emitted by Depp's computer acting. At least, this time, he wasn't running around like a drunken pirate or an apparently dim-witted tourist. His performance reminded me, somehow, of his portrayal of Sweeney Todd: dark and menacing. Bettany was good, as always, though he appeared to have been given the human version of his role as Jarvis (from the Robert Downey Jr.-led Iron Man series).

The second mind-centered movie I've seen in a span of one month... Just a few weeks after I've watched Inception for the nth time.