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‘Transcendence’ transcends patience and plausibility

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What happens when a man, Dr. Will Caster, Johnny Depp seeks to redefine the limits of consciousness, through the use of technology? What would the ramifications be to individuality, mortality and the universe? These are the questions which “Transcendence” purports to ask, and while we as a species have created AI, the limits of what it can do, still supersede our needs. Yes, man has advanced technologically however, ‘Transcendence’ combines elements of “2001, A Space Odyssey” “Frankenstein” and “Robocop”. In other words, where does consciousness end? And given that, what is the cost/benefit ratio to all of mankind?

“Transcendence” does not answer any of these questions, but merely sets out a nightmarish world in which Dr. Caster and his wife, Evelyn, Rebecca Hall, endeavor to harness the technology they have, against the backdrop of a terrorist group, which fears that these advances would lead to the destruction of individuality, privacy, and self-determination as we know it. As the story plays out (all too predictably) their fears are justified.

The script for this film is poorly organized, and all too often lacks creativity. Many characters are introduced without knowing their names, when a few scenes later they are referred to by name one is left wondering who that person is. This happens three times during the film and leaves theatergoers asking themselves if they missed a scene where the character was introduced with his/her name or if it was just omitted. The truth is that the information, was not supplied till the following scene.

This kind of writing shows a lack of respect for the audience it is trying to speak to, which in a film where they already telling you that they are creating technology which will be smarter than any human ever will be, is more than a little insulting.

“Transcendence” transcends the very limits of patience. It is too long, with explosions coming out of nowhere, the limits of believability stretched to the point of breaking, and finally leaving one to wait for its all too predictable end. Speaking of the end, it seems as if writer Jack Paglin was setting up viewers for another shot at transcending this bomb. Let us hope that he finds the courage to detonate that idea before it implodes on us all.


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