Johnny Depp steps outside of his comfort zone to star in the hard-core science fiction thriller “Transcendence.” The film follows a group of scientists who specialize in artificial intelligence and addresses the concept of singularity, a time in the not so distant future where humans merge with technology. Depp stars as Dr. Will Caster, an artificial intelligence expert who’s life’s-work culminates around him while his life hangs in the balance.
Dr. Caster’s goal is to create an A.I. that knows everything ever known with the added human elements of consciousness and capacity to be self aware. After sharing at a technology summit, he is attacked and fatally poisoned in a series of planned assassinations on upper echelon tech guru’s.
Dr. Caster’s wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and good friend Max (Paul Bettany) carry out his dreams of transcendence utilizing his own A.I. creation.
Depp made the movie compelling, but he is the lone bright spot and he was under-utilized. Hall, Bettanny and Morgan Freeman were quality supporting actors. The ultra-talented cast gave it their best, but couldn’t bring enough life to the story.
Capturing the concept of singularity and possible outcomes could be really amazing science-fiction material, but director Wally Pfister and screenwriter Jack Paglan dropped the ball delivering the message. Pfister, a former cinematographer for Christopher Nolan was stepping into the director chair for the first time. The CGI was vivid and Pfister’s take on advancement in nano-tech was very interesting visually.
Unfortunately, at some point in this story there was a disconnect. There were too many lulls in action and needless shots that did not add any depth to the story. Most importantly the science behind Dr. Caster’s transcendence was not believable, so the rest of the story suffered.