Transcendence (2014)

A review - by Shlomoh Sherman
April 21, 2014

Transcendence (2014)
Director: Wally Pfister
Writer: Jack Paglen
Stars: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman
Plot Keywords: one word title - artificial intelligence - extremist - transamerica pyramid - mind uploading
Plot: As Dr. Will Caster works toward his goal of creating an omniscient, sentient machine, a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent him from establishing a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.
Taglines: What if a new intelligence was born?
Genres: Drama - Mystery - Sci-Fi - Thriller
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality
Official Sites: Official Facebook - Official site [Japan] -
Country: UK - China - USA
Language: English
Release Date: April 18, 2014 (USA)
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA
Company Credits
Production Co: Alcon Entertainment, DMG Entertainment, Straight Up Films
Technical Specs
Runtime: 119 mins
Sound Mix: SDDS - Datasat - Dolby Digital - Dolby Atmos


This movie has received negative user reviews from several people and I am at a loss as to what they expect from a sci-fi movie. JEEZUS Man! It's not friggin Gone With The Wind. Check the reviews at

For many years we have been hearing about computers and artificial intelligence and we've been wondewring if a computer can ever achieve the level of real human intelligence. Transcendence is a movie about the merging of a man's mind and the bits and bytes within a computer system.

Dr. Will Caster, a AI scientist, working to create a computer with real human intelligence is shot by a member of a reactionary terrorist group whose aim is to allegedly stop the advance of computer technology for fear that such technology will ultimately be damaging to humanity. Caster survives the initial attack but several days later, it's discoveder that the bullet which hit him has been laced with radioactive material which will kill him within a month's time.

Knowing that his end is near, Caster enlists the help of his wife, Evelyn, and his close friend and collegue, Max, to put into effect the work they have been secretly involved in, - upoading a digital version of his mind to their own high power computer. After a time of hesitancy on the part of Max, Evelyn does upload Will's digital mind to the computer.

Realizing what she has done, the terrorists attempt to destroy the computer but they are too late. Caster has already sent his computerized personna onto the Internet where his activities are unstoppable.

However Caster's desire to help humanity soon morphs into a quest for his personal power.

Although it appears that he is curing people of diseases, what he is actually doing is creating an army of supermen and superwomen.

Max is captured by the terrorists and forced to make a choice of whether or not to help them destroy the entity that Will has become. In order to do this, they realize that the entire Internet has to be shut down, and since all of earth's technology has by now become dependent on the Internet, shutting it down will mean the end of a technological society and a return to a pre-scientific-revolution way of life.

Indpendently, Caster's wife also realizes that her husband's mind has changed from a desire to aid humanity to a lust for personal power over humanity

Only with her help can Caster be stopped. Will her love for him prevent her from doing this or will her concern for humanity trump? No matter how bad other reviews have been, THIS reviewer was on the edge of his seat. Needless to say, the special effects were stunning.

Did You Know?
Wally Pfister's directing debut.
[from trailer]
Will: For one hundred and thirty thousand years, our capacity to reason has remained unchanged. The combined intellect of the neuroscientists, mathematicians and engineers pales in comparison to the most basic A.I. Once online, a sentient machine will quickly overcome the limits of biology; in a short time, its analytic power will become greater than the collective intelligence of every person born in the history of the world. Some scientists refer to this as the Singularity.

Soundtracks: Happy Birthday to You - Written by Mildred Hill and Patty Hill

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp       ... Will Caster
Rebecca Hall ... Evelyn Caster
Paul Bettany ... Max Waters
Cillian Murphy ... Agent Buchanan
Kate Mara       ... Bree
Cole Hauser       ... Colonel Stevens
Morgan Freeman ... Joseph Tagger
Clifton Collins Jr. ... Martin
Cory Hardrict ... Joel Edmund
Falk Hentschel ... Bob
Josh Stewart ... Paul
Luce Rains       ... Roger
Fernando Chien ... Heng
Steven Liu       ... Chiu
Xander Berkeley ... Dr. Thomas Casey

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