“Transcendence” stars Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, the leading researcher in Artificial Intelligence, who finds himself in a desperate situation where the only way to save his life is to make him one with his experiments. Alongside Depp is Rebecca Hall as Evelyn, Caster’s wife, partner in his research, and ultimately the hand of God.
The film appears to address the age-old fear of A.I. and the implications it would have on humanity, particularly humanity’s chances against a power-hungry A.I. with extra-human abilities. The trailer is exceptionally bone chilling because it taps into some of our deepest and most emotion-based fears with lines like, “…how will you know who you’re dealing with?” and, even more devastatingly, “This is not Will.” The idea that humans will one day lose any shred of the things we most value in each other is sincerely alarming.
The “villain” is initially an organization called R.I.F.T., who stands adamantly and dangerously in opposition to the advancement of A.I. and acts as the enemy of our hero, Caster. The dynamic eventually shifts to place Caster in the apparent position of villain. The concept of an all-powerful, unstoppable entity that loses any shred of humanity, artificial or not, in its instinctual thirst for intelligence is bloodcurdlingly horrifying.
The trailer looks like it could possibly reveal too much of the story for spoiler adverse audiences, but then this trailer looks like an equidistant mash-up of the first trailer with bits of new footage sprinkled in. That tells me we can expect effective surprises that transcend (See what I did there?) the shock of the trailer.
The film also features Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins Jr., and Morgan Freeman.
Here’s the official synopsis:
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. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.
Though my fear of singularity will probably propel me to bring a Snuggy to the film to hide inside during the scary parts, my butt will nonetheless be in a seat for “Transcendence.” In fact, it will be firmly planted in an IMAX Theater on April 17 for the very first showing, because I am obviously a masochist.