Transcendence – A Game, not a Movie

Transcendence is a film that starts and ends with software. Software takes over the world.  Really.  To capture this the script writer appears to work backwards from cool scenes about what software taking over the world might look like.

Normally the fun of these What If/Apocalypic Films is their anchor in our current real world.  Transcendece lacks this.  Things just happen to make the special effects scenes possible.  The good guys pop up from underground tunnels that conveniently run beside a high tech  factory built underground.  A few token invalids turn up in one or two buses after its announced on the web that free reconstructive surgery is now available.  This in in a country where hospital aspirin cost $50.

And while the world is witnessing the growth of a new technology revolutionizing everything including warfare, the US military industrial complex allows the heroine to end a multi-million dollar successful experiment simply because she was sad. So she walks into the super secure facility, turns off the big computer and walks out with the hard disks in her handbag.

Later after she has mysteriously  created an advanced robotics factory in the middle of a US desert which is threatening the world, the war department sends the cinematic equivalent of two men and a dog to sort it out.  Wow – the same guys only thought Saddam had chemical weapons, and see what they did to Iraq ….

To be fair maybe its supposed to be a software romance – like ‘She’.   A big romance – one that makes all the world destruction insignificant in comparison.  Romance of star crossed lovers is of course self-obsessed.  In the slightly more famous Romeo and Juliet, R&J die before we get annoyed. In Transcendence, the lovers destroy the world and then decide to die in each other’s arms.  It should be due to shame, but no, it’s love.  The man wanted to be a God but his giant intellect lacked any social insight or ability to appreciate the real world.  The woman releases chaos on the planet but cannot see beyond the irritation of her ever present computer lover/help desk.  Her regret in the end is because she is not happy – nothing grander.  These lovers leave us nothing, neither a glow of their passion, nor a world in which to live.

I hate to think of all this talent, collecting all this budget, and then doing something as irredeemably weak as this film.  Everybody has better things to do.  In fact it would be a better game, where at least the player could do a more engaging job of exploring and countering the growing threat of artificial intelligence.  And it would have cost less to make.