Transcendence (2014): Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman Star in Upcoming Sci Fi

Johnny Depp in Transcendence Trailer

We don’t get good old fashioned sci-fis anymore these days, do we? I don’t mean all the comic book movies, or even the Star Trek movies, which use science as an excuse for explosions. I’m talking about the thrillers Philip K. Dick, Michael Crichton, Isaac Asimov etc. gave us, the ones where we truly explore an idea to its logical extreme. Next year we have one such movie coming, starring Johnny Depp, and marking the directorial debut of Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister.

Pfister got the Academy Award for Inception, and has worked with Chris Nolan in every movie since Memento. Nolan is coming up with his own sci-fi, called Interstellar, and it’ll be the first time since Following that he will have a different cinematographer. Nolan is still involved with this film, acting as an executive producer.

The Plot

A scientist’s brain is uploaded on a supercomputer, and then hijinks ensue. The plot isn’t clear yet. All we know is that it involves a scientist, his wife, a supercomputer, an anti-technology terrorist organisation, and something about “singularity, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.”

I cant’t tell you a lot about the characters, or the plot, but I think the central concept is clear — what if you could meld a computer’s power and accuracy with a human brain’s ingenuity? What if computers could transcend the human brain? Imagine what the precision, agility, and efficiency of a computer and the creativity of a brain could do if they’re present in a single entity, and have the entire internet uploaded on it. You could recall any detail at any moment, and think about the data like a human. It would be like a superpower. Curing cancer would be much easier.

As you can already see from the little plot details, the film will be dealing with heady philosophical and political themes.

Who’s in it?

Johnny Depp as Will, a scientist who looks like Johnny Depp.

Rebecca Hall as Evelyn, Will’s superhot wife who is also super-smart.

Morgan Freeman as old wise guy with really nice voice.

Kate Mara as Bree.

Paul Bettany as Max.

Cillian Murphy as some creepy looking guy.

Cole Hauser

Cory Hardrict as a member of the anti-technology organization.

Release Date

The film will be uploaded into the screens of your theaters on April 18, 2014



What’s Good About it?

The screenplay, which has been compared to 2001 and Inception, was in the Hollywood Black List (a list of most wanted unproduced scripts in Hollywood) for some time. Does that mean it’s good? Depends on how much you trust the tastes of Hollywood producers.

There’s also Mr. Depp for all you ladies. It’s good to see him do something that isn’t a Jerry Bruckheimer production. Pfister’s cinematography in Nolan’s films have been excellent, and although directing requires a much broader set of skills, my instinct says he’ll turn out to be fine.

What’s Bad About it?

I hope it isn’t another “Technology is bad” parable. It made sense in the cold-war era, but aren’t we past our anxiety over modern scientific progress now? I know it makes good dramatic sense to turn science into the villain all the time, but it’s intellectually dishonest and dangerous.

Our Clever Prediction

A lot depends on the reviews. They already have a marquee name. If the film gets good buzz, then it can become a decent hit.