Transcendence (2014)

6.21 h 59 min2014X-RayPG-13
A terminally ill scientist downloads his mind into a computer. This grants him power beyond his wildest dreams, and soon he becomes unstoppable.
Wally Pfister
Johnny DeppMorgan FreemanRebecca Hall
Science FictionSuspenseDrama
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Kate MaraCillian MurphyCole HauserPaul Bettany
Marisa PolvinoKate CohenAnnie MarterBroderick JohnsonAndrew A. KosoveDavid ValdesAaron Ryder
M6 Studio
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.4 out of 5 stars

3746 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 11% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 4% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

L. SmithReviewed in the United States on October 27, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
The evolution of Strong AI and what it means for humanity
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written by Jack Paglen and directed by Wally Pfister, Transcendence tells the story of how a quantum computer gains sentience and the collision and conflict that results when machine and man merge. Johnny Depp plays Dr. Castor, a scientist looking for funding to back his research project to develop a thinking computer. The "Strong Artificial Intelliegence" as it is called, is engineered to problem solve, and with extreme programing, with neuronal engineering is said to be poised to surpass and overcome human biology. The scieintist are hoping to unlock the nature of consciousness, discover where the soul resides, and replicate it via a super quantum computer. This is called the "singularity". Dr. Castor and his wife Evelyn Castor, have hopes of curing cancer, eliminating poverty, disease, hunger, all manor of ills that plague the planet and humanity.. thereby healing the planet. . The Castors present their hypothesis to a symposium filled with mathematicians, engineers, neuro-scientist, with hopes of garnering funds to further their research.
However, there is a radical group of students and onlookers, poised to stop the researchers from any further development. The group is steeped in
fear and the "terrorist" group called "Rift" revolutionary independence from technology, do not accept a world with quantum technology that becomes merched with biology, no matter how altruistic the intent. Rebecca Hall plays Evie Castor, Paul Bettany plays Max Waters lead programmer ushering in the "soulful element " of "Pinn" the independent Neuronal network invented by Dr. Will Castor. Morgan Freeman plays the researcher and Cryptologist Dr. Joseph Taggert, Cillian Murphy plays Donald Buchwald, FBI agent in charge of investing the bombing, the terrorist, the research, and finding out why the terrorist are trying to kill Dr. Castor, and destroy years of reseach.
The development of Strong AI has ignited deep seated fear and resentment , that manifest in the simultaneous bombing of multiple labs across the country, killing many people, scientist and civilians. One of the terrorist shoots Will Castor with a "Polonium dipped isotope, radioactive radiation poisoning and the affects are irreversible. He will be dead in 5 weeks. With the time he has left, Will decides to spend it with his wife and not in the laboratory. Since the co-ordinated attack left the bulk of the reseach in ruins, Evie decides to shut down the lab, but stumbles onto key concepts that link and click in her mind that her husband was close to the "singularity". Will is dying, she attempts to build the lab at home. They download Wills' conscienousness into the quantum computer. His physical body dies during the research. But is consciousness lives in the quantum computer and grows.. expands so much they all must relocate to further the work, and Dr. Castor comes alive again to lead the research.. It starts to get really "Supernatural" when the environment and Will Castor become one and people from all over the desert who want treatment for ills, derive supernatural powers and this really sends RIFT into overdrive... I did not like the extreme measures the terrorist used to block the research, kidnapping Max and turning him into their "Patsy" , and the scene where Will Castor, in an effort to quell and calm his wifes' feelings, reads her neuronal impulses, blood analytes, vital signs, blood chemistry and projects it all on the big screen in the lab. His power had become so immense, he could not see he crossed the line and not only had he not given it a second thought to penetrate her thoughts he took it another step and invaded her body chemistry, physiology, brain chemistry and mapped her anatomy and showed her. Fortunately, she knew when she and Will got deeper and deeper into the research, anything was possible. The unthinkable happened, she was afraid of what he'd become and the only alternative was now, for Max to create a virus, give it to Evie to trap Will and infect him, thereby infected the entire internet, threatening to throw civilization backward into the stoneage, total more technology. While, Dr. Castors' comment during the synposium, before all the violence ensued, that man has always, though out time, as attempted to create God, or become a God, this is where man always gets it wrong. It may be true that the universe has a way of stoping all attempts at man overreaching . As if God has a built in "Dead Mans' Switch that is automatically kicked in when mankind takes it one step beyond.. I love this movie, because it gives us a peek into what we as a species might expect from ourselves in the near future.
15 people found this helpful
Mr. PequodReviewed in the United States on April 30, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A very smart film! Cutting edge science fiction!
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This is a hard science fiction film that is stunning in it's breadth. If you know something about self-replicating nanotechnology, advanced artificial intelligence (advanced meaning self-awareness and the ability to solve very complex problems and actually effect repairs and act on the decisions the machine intelligence makes) and consciousness transference from the organic life form to the intelligent machine then you'll love this film. This is combined with an old tried and true film standard which is that love can conquer all. Awesome shooting locations in central New Mexico and elsewhere. Get the Blu Ray if you have a player!
5 people found this helpful
InfamousSReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
The best in its class! Do not miss this movie!!
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So far to my knowledge this is the greatest movie depicting a potential world with Artificial Intelligence. Me and my partner loved this movie and enjoy the SciFi and Tech genres along with movies that make you think what if? What I really love about this movie is the open and endless questions they inspire within you and it's a great conversation to have with those around you. Otherwise the acting was brilliant, computer graphics were believable and stunning, and the script was intelligent & entertaining. Look elsewhere for cheap tricks and stupid senseless babble, this makes sense and has a wondrous story telling way about it. 10/10
12 people found this helpful
StacyReviewed in the United States on July 6, 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
Satisfying exploration of potentials in the inevitable creation of a digital human being
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I can easily envision it happening the way it happens in the movie - when a human chooses to change their substrate into digital form rather than become nonexistent and be certainly and forever separated from the ones they love. At least with that first experiment there are plausible possibilities for reunion. Not only that, but a human in digital form could theoretically process information at the same speed as the fastest computers, plus utilize human-style reasoning and problem-solving skills - which computers have not previously achieved. The inevitable and shockingly fast jumps in technologies, including physical human evolution - and the fears and doubts that accompany it - are explored emotionally and intellectually with engaging performances by the actors. The performance that stands out most in my mind is that of Rebecca Hall who plays Evelyn, the wife of main character, Will (Johnny Depp's character). It was easy to feel what seemed like her genuine emotions - conflict, relief, love, grief, fear, uncertainty - you name it. Her performance reminds me of the enthralling work of Olivia Williams as Anna in The Sixth Sense. I think this movie will be among those (such as Gattaca) that we will think about when trying to sort out what future technologies will mean for us when we are faced with them. Good performances, good visual artistry, beautiful and smart special effects. I loved the movie.
7 people found this helpful
Todd M.Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2018
3.0 out of 5 stars
It’s a good sci-fi thriller that lost its way.
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There are some great visuals and a very interesting plot but someone decided it needed to be an action movie and that just doesn’t work and that’s why I think it’s about 2.5 stars. The romance also doesn’t work because Rebecca Hall as the wife was just not the best casting choice and I have no idea why Morgan Freeman is in it. the premise is fascinating and if they had stayed the course with it and dropped off about 30-minutes it would have been a taunt little movie. Throwing in the attack scenes late in the movie didn’t work and literally didn’t accomplish much since they were armed with a vintage cannon and that was more comic relief than action. It seems many movies now suffer from the 2-hours+ syndrome that more often than not hurts the movie more than it helps and is likely there just so movie goers feel they got their money’s worth. Spoiler… after Depp has built his empire in the desert for several years it’s pretty much a joke to see Freeman and his crew roaring into town to attack the underground complex with a WW2 cannon.
2 people found this helpful
Bianca BefanaReviewed in the United States on October 23, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Transcendence is Transcendent!
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I was surprised this movie didn't get a wider audience review. It's a 'sleeper' of a film which is why I think it would have made an excellent television series. I've read Bradbury enough to know that this story-line 'Transcended' his original written word. Had an A-Star list of actors to enjoy too. Again, would make a great series, but then Depp, Cillian Murphy & God, aka, Morgan Freeman wouldn't be starring in it. Still take the time to watch this movie. It's worth it & strangely prescient.
6 people found this helpful
Breaking SunriseReviewed in the United States on May 9, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
Starts well then goes ridiculously down hill!
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The script had such potential to be brilliant but...
How did they get Morgan Freeman to take a part
That made him look so stupid as the scientist he
Began as? Even the FBI guy seemed more open minded to it. And Paul Bettany had only an excuse to be brainwashed by torture but jumps to the conclusion with Freeman that it needed to be destroyed.?? Making both go from Scientist to terrorist themselves with only one visit and no
Chance as colleagues to give him a chance.
Bettany guesses only it is bad or dangerous and they began to destroy with little to no evidence only fear and disbelief. Ignoring its brilliance and joining with terrorist made them both look so stupid as scientist without any research to back up their fear!!! Only Bettany seems to have lost his
Scientific mind by brainwashing and jumping to only the worse conclusion making the only two people the casters worthy of the gift reached by their sacrifice. Making the potential scientist who could have helped impossible. Ignorant and careless for human life. Might as well have made their reaction and fears no smarter than a monkey!! Ruining any chance to consider the brilliance of him as a good human being while he races to save his lover. Never possible yet nothing he did was with bad intent and ruins the whole story by fear and ignorance only jumping to conclusions from a microscope to make them so full of fear about their theory. So he never got to find out about the soul that may have been his whole existence. Even risking Evelyn’s life by killing her. As was said in the beginning about the terriost and so far from scientist as they could be.
Becoming the terrorist themselves without any proof. I think their actions ruined the movie
And that became unbelievable. Shameful even.
They all were racing to get an AI and when it happened they instantly thought only the worse.
And acted the worse. Making no sense and turning them all into terrorist without any facts or proof so by the end they destroyed what they had
Wanted to achieve. Making them ridiculous.
Cause only the most brilliant and good two human beings in love get destroyed after their sacrifice
And I did not get it? Fear they turned out to be worse than the terrorist. As closed minded and
Hateful as the terrorist without any proof.
Instead of ever helping attain what they were supposed to believe and supposed to want more than anything. Made the whole movie sideways!
Ridiculous and stupid for scientist. Cause they New he was the most advanced after terrorist killed the scientist that succeeded in proving
It could be done. The only reason to watch became Johnny Depps character and his wife’s
Brilliance and the rest without helping them
Made all of them look just scared and stupid.
With only bad intents and giving no scientific
Help. He seemed so willing to let them but instead
They only believed dangerous and without any research only fear and evil guesses by Bettany
Who jumps only at a worse scenario they destroy again what I said they all were trying to do.
All their actions made them as bad or worse than terrorists cause they were scientist! All of which
Became terrorists. Unbelievable! Could have been good if they had at least explored his outcomes
Like scientists I believe would have. Where was the champagne ? And scientists destroying the
The thing they all had worked toward?
Shameful as they knew the type man he was.
And they all were trying to do what he did?
What about life? They killed her!!!
And that ridiculous fear of Martin they killed!!
Was it their egos? To destroy such potential
And of course he needed more power which Bettany has issue with??? They are in a deserted
Building. With only a few cores from his genius penn. How did they get Freeman to play such a
Stupid character? The fearful scientist and supposed friend of Will.
Made no sense!
Personally I wish he blew them up when they hit her!
Sadly he raced alone to get back to her.
At their surprise and still destroy was all they
Wanted to do though shocked he did make it back out of love. I could never believe scientists who worked so hard for an AI would still want to destroy such a breakthrough. Imagine if they
Worked together?
That could of been interesting and had put those terrorists nuts in jail!!!
Not become like them!
2 people found this helpful
Simply KellyReviewed in the United States on July 9, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Bonus features!
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My friends make fun of me for liking this movie enough to buy it on BluRay, but what do they know?! I love the movie and really wanted the added bonus features on the bluray. So...I bought it! Thrilled with the packaging, delivery, and all the bonuses I can watch (without my lame friends 🤣)
4 people found this helpful
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