453. Transcendence

Background info

453-transcendenceTitle: Transcendence
Director: Wally Pfister
Year: 2014
Run time: 1hr 59m

“Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed – to be a participant in his own transcendence.”

Live blog

2:40 – This is the kind of dystopia I’m not on board with! No technology?
7:36 – Poor Mr Bettany can only ever be Jarvis now.
9:26 – Depp has that thing on stage, he could be reading the phone book and they’d be captivated.
10:39 – Transcendence makes more sense to me than the singularity.
14:01 – They… poisoned the cake? How will I ever eat cake again?
15:53 – Siri 2.0 and then some.
16:03 – “That is your opinion that happens to be wrong.”
21:34 – This can’t be that far in the future then… paper magazines still exist.
27:36 – This is a little reminiscent of Flatliners. Not the greatest.
31:32 – Beautiful location.
37:10 – They’re DEFRAGMENTING Johnny Depp. Officially the best film ever.
44:59 – So, now, JD has turned into Siri?
51:01 – That Brightwood looked like a good place to podcast from until the trucks started rolling in.
54:00 – The way they’re doing the town up is like the end of Cars.
59:10 – How did he put that record on in the first place?
1:07:54 – Okay, he’s gone rogue now.
1:09:12 – Five stories down = bunker.
1:11:47 – “They are autonomous but can also work in unison.” Terrifying.
1:20:24 – Cos, I love my husband but everyone needs their space.
1:30:54 – If it’s in the rain, I don’t see how turning off the internet will help.
1:36:58 – Ah, see, he was building a new body but started with the hands. Learning from past mistakes.
1:50:19 – A worldwide blackout is just so hard to fathom.

Conclusions

I was really quite excited about this one when I first heard about it. Johnny Depp in another interesting role, the concept of human intelligence being transferred to machines, and all that goes with it. The fact that the film made little impact didn’t really put me off and I was keen to see what it was all about.

I can see why this one didn’t turn many heads, but I do think it was a very interesting watch. The film raises so many great concepts, touches upon fascinating ideas, and broaches really tough and important questions about the limits, ethics and future of artificial intelligence.

What I think it struggled with was trying to come up with an answer, or a story at least, to hang the whole thing on. After setting up the incredible premise and building to the peak of the story, the only place left to go was down. The answers weren’t particularly realistic, they didn’t sit well and it all felt like it got a bit bogged down in tying up the loose ends, where it perhaps should have been more theoretical. Good acting, good ideas, but a disappointing conclusion.

Rating: 3/5

2 comments

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