Monday, June 16, 2014

Transcendence 2014 Movie Review Starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman

At first sight, the boring movie poster did not seem very creative nor provocative, which really put me off from watching the movie. But I decided to watch anyway because it involves computers and high tech stuff, and I was really bored.

It is refreshing to see Johnny Depp taking on a role that distances him away from his recent Pirates of Carribean roles. In this movie, he plays a character similar to the computer giants Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. He plays a famous computer scientist Dr(or something) who is working on an AI alongside influential partners that includes his scientist wife and good friends to benefit the world.

All things look happy and perfect until he gets shot by an extremist group who fears the emergence of Artificial Intelligence that could take over the world. The bullet contains a plutonium toxin that would not get him much days to live. In desperation, his partners uploaded his consciousness into the supercomputer system to preserve his consciousness or his ‘soul’.

I researched consciousness and cognitive science a few years ago, so I am very familiar with the various consciousness-related topics brought up in the movie and can recognize and understand the various consciousness-related topics right away. The consciousness-related problem that is still mystifying the scientific community's efforts to explain what consciousness is, as well as the consciousness researcher Daniel C Dennett, easily came to mind as I watched the movie. The movie was definitely written based on the philosophical themes of consciousness studies, too bad the movie poster was so dull that hid such an interesting plot about artificial intelligence that is very familiar to me.

This movie brought on the feeling of having an eerie ghost in the machine taking a captive hostage who gets disturbed by the artificiality. It explores people’s innate fear of letting an unknown computer-driven intelligence take control of the world and their battle to determine the very good or corrupted nature of such a computer-driven intelligence. Those who are huge fans of the Terminator movies, the A.I. Movie, The Net and the Borg of Star Trek would definitely like this movie, they would have a great thrill as well as great fun trying to guess how the movie would turn out in the end.

Johnny Depp takes on a role that is reminiscent of one of his earliest movies Edward Scissorhands that brought him to great fame and caused many female fans to fall in love with him. This latest movie really reminded me of his role in that movie that portrayed a good-hearted innocent character amongst many fear-driven people who did not understand him. This movie seems like a form of tribute to that movie and I wonder if it signals Johnny’s retirement from acting.

Morgan Freeman once again takes on a very very bad baddie role, the last one I know being in the movie Now You See Me. Anything that stars Morgan Freeman seems to guarantee a great movie.

This film deals with much intellectual philosophical themes and would spark lots of intellectual thought, and it is presented in a very refreshing way since the other related movies about AI came about. This is a definitely a great movie to watch and to rewatch. I give it a 9.5 out of 10.