Monday, April 28, 2014

Transcendence Movie Review

Last Saturday I saw the movie Transcendence ( It's gotten mixed reviews on how good or not good it was as a movie, but two elements of the plot really intrigued me, and I think that alone makes it worth seeing (I'm not enough of an artist to say if it's a good movie from a filmography standpoint, or enough of a writer to say if the plot is predictable or not).

Some minor spoilers will appear below.

1. The RIFT Terrorists
One of the things I really loved about this movie was that there was no "one good guy" or "one bad guy". Everyone was just human, with understandable fears and motives. The RIFT group had a really great point - a really strong AI, while it would mean a lot of very exciting things for technology, would also be somewhat terrifying. Preventing that AI from getting online and from taking over the world is an understandable motive. Doing it by killing tons of people (note in the trailer he says, "they hit AI labs all over the world") is not so good, but terrorists use death and bombs to make points. For the first time EVER, I sort of understood the point they were trying to make. People weren't listening to them about the dangers of the AI, so they made their voices louder. In a terrible, violent way, but they were louder.

2. The Fear of Death
The main premise of the movie is that Will, a famous AI professor (played by Johnny Depp) is dying from radiation poisoning (from RIFT). His wife, Evelyn, comes up with the idea to combine two kinds of AI research to protect his consciousness. She scans his brain and loads it into PINN (Physically Independent Neural Network). You can see all this in the trailer - and my especially favorite part is when the AI imitates his face and she tears up touching him. She's so afraid of her husband dying, and wants to be together with him forever - so she does questionable things with technology to save him. I thought this was interesting. In our last Bible Study, we read about how, when King David's child died (in 2 Samuel 12:23) he said "I will go to him, but he will not return to me". For believers, this is the hope and comfort after death - that you will see that person again and they are rejoicing with Christ. But for this movie, it was the exact opposite - Evelyn needed Will to come back to her, instead of hoping that she could go to be with him. There was no hope of life after death for them, so she had to find a creepy way to resurrect her husband.

3. Nano-Technology
In the trailer, they show a small part of the nano-tech: a computer arm goes into a dead plant and it is revived. The solar panels are able to re-build themselves (also in the trailer), and ultimately, we're led to believe that Will and Evelyn are somehow together at the end through the power of nano-technology (although that's more like the Inception spinning top - it's up for debate). I thought the nano-tech was amazing, but then I thought about the implications of never dying, and (this part confused me) the nano tech was some how connected to the AI. This was the one part of the movie that I didn't understand, but would love to learn more about and think more about!

So, I would say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed Transcendence.

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