I saw the movie Transcendence the day that it came out. The theater has been lacking in movies that past few months. Now that the good ones are starting to come out, I have the impulse to see them right away. A midnight showing isn’t too late for me. The following review contains SPOILERS, so read with caution.
The movie is currently hovering at 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t think that it is a fair judgement. I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased. My current love interest is Future Technology and nanotech. I’m currently writing a story about an Evil AI who controls people with the nanites in their body. I have to admit, it hurt when I saw a similar situation in this movie. Would’ve thought it was a more unique idea… But back to the point. I may have liked this movie more than others because it felt like a prequel to my own book.
That being said, here’s some good things about the movie:
They made the AI part realistic. It’s easy to say “hey, let’s stick this guy’s brain in a computer.” But they showed it taking the time to map his mind, to record his words, and to get it all working.
I think it had some neat evolution of science. He started at this basic place, and thanks to being able to process, being able to see and know so much, he was able to advance science quicker than it should be possible.
There were some downsides:
They had a lot of ideas and glossed over most of them. Rebellion against technology, him controlling people with the nanites, the smart particles, the regeneration, his wife growing suspicious and questioning her choices, the other scientist coming around to the rebel’s way of thinking… all good, all flashed through. If they had developed these ideas more fully, given the movie another half hour or hour, it would have been a lot better.
A lot of reviews that I’ve read are saying “it’s a classic man vs technology” blah blah blah. I think they missed the point. In the end, Johnny Depp’s character, the AI, turns out to not have been evil at all. He wasn’t hurting anything. He wasn’t killing anyone. He was still himself, and everything he did was what his wife asked for. He was healing the world without any cost of life to do it. So, what was the problem? Well, this is the real point of the movie, in my opinion. Technology can only move so fast. If it jumps by leaps and bounds, if it seems out of control, then no matter how benevolent it may be, it will frighten people. To the point of rejection. To the point of retaliation. That was the conflict in the movie. Not him being an AI. But what he created with his reach.
All in all, I think it was a good movie. I don’t regret shelling out the 30 or so bucks to see it at the theater. Not something that needs to be in theater. Wait for Redbox if you want. But it’s worth a watch. Especially if you like this genre.