Transcendence (film)

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Transcendence is a 2014 dystopian post-cyberpunk science fiction action/drama/thriller movie starring Johnny Depp with artificial intelligence and mind uploading as its central themes.


Will Caster is a renowned and successful artificial intelligence scientist with a high-profile public presence and agenda. His endeavours earned him fame as well as unwanted attention from an anti-technology movement called R.I.F.T., which is led by a person named Bree, who believes Caster's technology will do extremely more harm than good.

His need to complete his technology is advanced when the acts of terrorist would-be assassins lead him to the brink of death. The only thing left for him to do to save his life—or, at least his consciousness—is to merge with his AI and 'transcend' before he dies.

Caster must also later battle with government forces who want to stop him.


One of the major problems with the movie is it has somewhat of a genre crisis. The first act of the film was acting as a normal scientific post-cyberpunk storyline, but for the rest of film interrupted [de]evolves into the typical cyberpunk-based storyline, with action and sci-fantastic orientated nanopunk, dramatic, and romantic elements. It was marketed as a science fiction film in trailers and posters, but the Wikipedia page described it (16 Jan 2017) as a dystopian science fiction film, despite there being no dystopian elements. Box Office Mojo described it as a "sci-fi film"[1], The Internet Movie Database described it as a; "Drama | Mystery | Romance | Sci-Fi | Thriller" with Meta Critic concluding the same result[2]. Lastly, Rotten Tomatoes has probably better described the movie as "Drama, Science fiction and Fantasy"[3].

The movie itself is actually closest to an Postcyberpunk/Nanopunk, science fiction, action drama and thriller with mystery and romance elements. TV Tropes supports the idea that the movie does have fantasy elements.[4]

Assessment/critical review

Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 20% based on 200 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, “In his directorial debut, ace cinematographer Wally Pfister remains a distinctive visual stylist, but Transcendence's thought-provoking themes exceed the movie's narrative grasp.”[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 42 out of 100, based on 45 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[2]

External links