Blu Ray Review: Transcendence (North American Version)

Synopsis: Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is a leader in the field of Artificial Intellegence, working to create a sentient machine that combines mankind’s collective intelligence with true human...


Synopsis: Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is a leader in the field of Artificial Intellegence, working to create a sentient machine that combines mankind’s collective intelligence with true human emotion. Anti-Technology extremists will kill to stop him, but their attempt forces Will to record and upload his own mind to a supercomputer to achieve transcendence… and nearly unstoppable power as the fate of the world rests on Will’s now questionable humanity.

Review: If your looking for a fast paced action adventure film with lots of explosions and big scale FX then ‘Transcendence’ will not be for you.

What we have with Transcendence is a thought provoking and cerebral science fiction story, which both warns and shows the possibilities of artificial intelligence or in this case what happens when a persons intelligence is uploaded to a computer.

Which is exactly what happens. When Dr. Caster is near death his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany) used his research and upload his mind to a computer.

However as Caster’s mind takes over a computer he needs more power in order to achieve transcendence, but along the way his quest leads down a path, which makes his A.I. and massive achievements the object of fear from the rest of humanity.

‘Transcendence’ has some huge ideas. In fact near the beginning of the film Caster gives a lecture to some university and corporate types and says that a True Computer A.I. if allowed to run at its fullest potential would be able to multitask and out think the whole of humanity to a point where it would run everything. This prompts one person to ask, “Are you talking about creating a God?”

The films talks about many subjects and like many movies that have come before it shows off the potential benefits of an A.I. but also shows the potential pitfalls.

The acting performances from all concerned in this movie are fantastic, but much of the film is carried by Johnny Depp and Rebecca Hall. In fact Hall plays her part well as the wife that will do and sacrifice anything for more time with the one she loves, but even she after some time begins to fear what her husband becomes during his journey toward transcendence.

Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman provide the counter argument for transcendence and play a key role in being the films moral compass. There argument being the obvious, “Just because we can do it. Should we?”

While the films asks a lot of interesting scientific and philosophical questions. It doesn’t really bring anything new to the table apart from improved special effects and new questions, but it does play out as a fairly solid piece of human drama.

I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 in that it is a watchable and enjoyable film, but I don’t think its one that will stand up to too many repeat viewings.

The Blu Ray edition includes a few extras, which include various discussions about Trenscendence from the cast and crew and some making of documentaries and a brief scientific exploration of A.I. hosted by both scientists and film makers.

‘Transcendence will be released across North American on Blu Ray, DVD and VOD on July 22.

Score 3/5

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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