I didn’t have any real feelings towards this film before going to see it, no real excitement or dislike for the film after seeing the trailer. All I knew was that I wanted to see it and that it was an interesting concept to deal with. There were some really good actors involved in the shape of Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman. This was an unusual film for Johnny Depp in that his character was doing something unusual and amazing, but looked perfectly ordinary. He usually goes for the weird and out there type of character, not a scientist.
What does transcendence or transcendent mean?
(Of God) existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe. Often contrasted with immanent.
Beyond or above the range of normal or physical human experience:
the search for a transcendent level of knowledge
Surpassing the ordinary; exceptional, her transcendent beauty
All these definitions explain exactly what Johnny Depp’s character is aiming for, he Wants to play God along with his wife who wants to make the world a better place. Paul Bettany goes along for the ride, but he can see the dangers of such a thing. Is it good to play God? Should we be able to destroy diseases? Look at what has happened in recent years with medical developments, we deal with so many diseases which has led to population living well into their 90’s. Unfortunately the rate in which we deal with the body has surpassed how we can treat the mind meaning there is an increase in those with diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Should we play God?
Johnny Depp (Will Caster) has created artificial intelligence which can reason with human beings. This technology could change the world, curing diseases, increasing crop production, bring back forests etc.. there are some people that can see the dangers and kill Will with a bullet laced with radiation to stop this program continuing. His wife Evelyn Caster wants to keep him alive in one way or another so attaches him to the AI system, downloading his voice, memories, intelligence, emotions and physical appearance. This means when he dies he will live through this computer.
All seems to be working well, but then a computer can be destroyed therefore it would be easy for Will to die once more. The rebels have the same notion and plan to destroy the computer and transcendence at the same time. The good thing about being a computer is that you can go online and then you have as much space as you want and access to as much information as you want, which is where the danger lies. Will goes online and enjoys his limitless size and although he has good intentions he ends up taking control of those he is trying to help. Those he has helped to walk again, those that once were blind and can now see and even those close to death. He has also been able to create new life and not in the conventional way.
It is a beautiful idea, but the problem is the fact that things just happen without any form of explanation. Things are created at warp speed and literally out of nothing without ever explaining why? The rebel group without Paul Bettany (Max Waters) do not seem smart enough to take on this mighty power, so they too seem unlikely adversaries. Paul Bettany joins the rebel force after being kidnapped, but I can’t see why he was ever agreeable to Wills idea in the first place. Morgan Freeman sees through the idealism of transcendence and also joins the rebels who are more than willing to kill to get their own way. It’s all quite unbelievable!
The performances of each actor are really good and it was great to see Johnny without the make up and to show that he is a great actor. His wife steals the show however as the wife that can’t let go of the love of her life. Wouldn’t we all do the same if we could? I know I would. She takes a long time to realise that things have gone to far and tries to alter her actions, but has it all gone too far? There are so many questions to ask yourself during the film. I think good things could be achieved, but things just go a little too far too quickly.
Is transcendence possible? From the film you wouldn’t know as there are no explanations. Artificial intelligence has been something those with a technological mind have hoped for for many years. Films have had the idea since the days of The Terminator, which of course was ground-breaking. Many computer companies have their own AI section to help them understand their customers needs. They do not come in the shape of robots at the moment, just computer programs. Some of us have AI on our phones in the shape of Siri which recognises our voices in order to do what we want it to do. The technology started off quite pedestrian, but is getting better and better as time goes on. The aim is to have programs that can read text and understand it and then move onto understanding traffic in droid controlled vehicles. Will we one day be able to create the human brain? You’ll have to ask the likes of Google, Facebook and Microsoft for that answer.