Saturday, November 15, 2014


Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall,
Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman

"What if a New Intelligence was Born?"

Nowadays, Johnny Depp has evolved into either essaying roles of freaky yet unique characters or some normal guy stuck in a uniquely strange scenario. I guess the key word here is 'unique' and I understand for any actor it is imperative to delve into a role that will stand out from the numerous predictable ones.

It must be quite challenging for Johnny Depp specifically to always find roles which won't be, for lack of a better word, boring. I respect him for that and admire his guts since most of these roles although unique, per se, these movies don't really rake in the big bucks like blockbusters do.

In "Transcendence", he is cast as Dr. Will Caster, a technology expert at the forefront of artificial intelligence research. An advocacy which he and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) have passionately worked for ages. Their dream is to create an all knowing computer that has the personality of a human. Their work is abruptly cut short by an organization that opposes AI in any shape or form.

An incident occurs which puts Dr Caster's life in danger so before he dies, he decides to 'upload' his brain and his 'personality' into the computer. Upon his passing, Evelyn waits for the machine to wake up with Will's persona deeply embedded within its wired components. Behold! It works and it is presented through a computer monitor with a disembodied voice and Will's flickering face on screen.  It is quite freaky, creepy and everything that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up straight.

As the film progresses at a slow and very long pace, we soon find out just how dangerous it is to play God and the perils of technology overload. Much of the movie focuses on the interaction between Evelyn and Will through the screen.

You keep asking yourself is it really Will or just some hologram presence of an uploaded version of him. Can machines really feel or are they just programmed to 'feel'? Are we being slowly trained to be more machine-like as we become more and more dependent on technology? Or do we project our personality unto our gadgets?

Either way, it is a dangerous world to live in as social interaction is minimized or practically non existent. But the scarier thought is we don't need a film like "Transcendence" to show us the dangers as we are all currently hooked on being connected at all times. Other people don't re-wire our brains, it just happens as we live more of our lives online. We're slaves to convenience.

Personally, there is nothing wrong with this premise. We just need to know when to 'disconnect' and be truly present in the 'here' and the 'now'. Heh! Well look who's talking?! I get hives when there is no wifi connection at any establishment I visit even for 10 minutes. 

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