Today we have the new film Transcendence, starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman.
Depp stars as Dr. Will Caster, a scientist who wants to create a sentient computer with more brainpower than all of mankind combined. He works together with his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) towards this end. Unfortunately, he and his colleagues incur the wrath of anti-technology terror group RIFT. The radicals murder most of Caster's contemporaries using a combination of poison and explosives. Only Caster's friend Joseph Tagger (Freeman) survives because he didn't eat the poisoned cake they sent. Sadly, Caster himself is shot with a bullet laced with a deadly radioactive isotope, and he is only given a month to live. Faced with his death, Evelyn, along with Caster's other friend Max (Paul Bettany) decide to upload his consciousness to a computer. The procedure works and they think they have him back. However, the digital Caster begins behaving strangely, and Max thinks they've made a terrible mistake.
It isn't long before RIFT attacks the Caster home in an attempt to shut him down. Evelyn manages to get her cyber-husband onto the internet where he proceeds to evolve. He then directs her to move to a desert town called Brightwood in order to hide from RIFT while he grows in power. Meanwhile, Max, who has been kidnapped by RIFT, begins to see things from their perspective. He fears what his former friend will become if he's not stopped, and contemplates trying to take him offline. But that will be easier said than done, because Caster is converting others to his cause and has powerful tricks up his sleeve.
This movie really didn't do it for me. I do appreciate Depp's versatility, and I like that he can be over-the-top in one film and subtle in another. His talent is not in question here. Sadly, Transcendence just doesn't bring any new ideas to the table. It's the same future paranoia regarding AIs we've seen in countless other stories. Nor did I grow attached to any of the characters; none of them really stood out, and Freeman plays the same soft-spoken gentleman he always does.
Also, I feel Caster's potential as a god-like entity remains unrealized. I never got the sense he was a threat to mankind, nor did I get what everyone was so afraid of. I think they could have done more with this premise.
Ultimately, I think people can skip this one and not miss out on anything.