Thursday, May 1, 2014

Transcendence review by Mandi Mayhem!

"So you're trying to create a God? Your own God?"

"That's a very good question. Um, isn't that what man has always tried to do?"

Transcendence stars the versatile Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence. He is a humble scientist on a quest to create a sentient computer that would combine the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. He believes that such a computer will create a technological singularity and change the world. His highly controversial experiments involving uploading a monkey's conscience have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists. (Control technology before it controls you!) While he is giving a speech about the potential good his findings could bring to the people, his lab is attacked by these "terrorists", as well as many other such labs across the country. Many people are killed, and almost all research is lost, save for PINN (think HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey). 

Having given a well-received presentation, he walks out confidently but -buzzkill- is immediately shot. He survives, but they quickly learn the bullet was laced with radioactive materials and he is given 5 weeks to live. In their attempt to destroy Will, the extremists end up becoming all he needed to succeed. His loyal wife and best friend, both fellow researchers, use PINN's technology to upload Will into the quantum computer. His body dies, but his conscience survives the transfer. He immediately requests to be linked to the net to further develop, which raises suspicion within his best friend. Is this really Will Caster? Why is he demanding access to banks and files?? 

His unquenchable thirst for knowledge quickly escalates into a god-like mission for domination and you start to second guess yourself. Who's really  the villain in this movie? Dr. Lancaster, who has created a small army of invulnerable townies that are working on a collective mind, or the radical group that murdered him? Even his doting wife is unsure. There is a thin line between technology's promise and its peril, and Transcendence begs its audience to consider the consequences of taking it too far. If it comes down to it, would we choose the destruction of technology and live in a pre-tech world (no texting? no Instagram? eep!) or should we accept transcendence and end pollution, disease, and human mortality?

 The previews made it look so straightforward: dude enters the interwebs and takes over the world; but I was wrong . I found this film to be intuitive and beautiful, and I even teared up a little when his nature, and what could have been, is revealed. Don't judge me. Just go see it for yourself. =D 

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