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Transcendence (DVD)

3.6 out of 5 stars 1,726 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Transcendence (DVD)

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence -- working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. In their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed -- to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can...but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will's thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.


Special Features

- What Is Transcendence?
- Wally Pfister: A Singular Vision

Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Cilian Murphy
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Ultraviolet, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: July 22, 2014
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,726 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00J5JSV3A
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,452 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
If you're reading this review, you probably skipped this in theaters and wonder if it's worth a buy on Blu-Ray. It is. This is the most under-rated movie I am aware of ... I suspect it will become a quiet cult classic and I look forward to watching it again.

After watching the movie, I read a handful of critical reviews to see what the problems were. Mostly, critics panned "plot holes" and "logical errors," but every specific complaint I read was actually addressed within the movie. (Explicitly even, through dialogue.)

I suspect the problem is this: the movie is a slow-burn drama and open to several channels of interpretation. One of the central questions of the story is whether or not Dr. Caster was successfully "uploaded," or if the machine is something else altogether. The movie provides a couple of suggestions, and it does favor one over the other, but it allows you to draw your own conclusions.

Such is the nature of a lot of the plot points. You get to decide who the villains are and who the good guys are (if there are any). You get to decide how a machine can (or can't) reconcile love. You get to decide the meaning of the "religious" imagery that enters the movie partway through. The film is brilliantly nuanced, and it seems to have compelling arguments for both sides on pretty much every issue it presents -- which bothered a lot of the people in the theatre. My interpretation of the movie was satisfying, yours may not be. I've read a lot of comments on the internet as to why someone hated the "message" or the "plot" and almost every single time I find myself thinking, "But that's not the way I saw it.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Like many, I did not see this movie when it was in the theaters. I was under the impression it would be another "Skynet" themed excursion. I was wrong.

I do not want to add any spoilers but In its essence, this is a movie about ideology and faith.

On the one side you have a group of radicals that believe mankind would be better without technological advancement. Their faith in their ideology leads to them using extreme measures to get their point across.

On the other, you have some who believe no matter how far technological advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) goes, it will still lack the capacity to feel, to love.

Both groups tend to view AI as a threat as its influence becomes manifest.

Then there are some who believe in the potential of AI to be something more. They seek to develop it in the hope of healing the sick and saving the planet. They also believe AI can help man reach a higher plain of existence through a process they call transcendence.

How these differing views play out is the focus of the movie. The viewer will be influenced by his or her own belief system into choosing a side.

It is only at the end we begin to comprehend the message. The film's score is muted and sometimes melancholy, but it is appropriate for the mood.

As others have stated, this is a movie that causes the viewer to think. I loved it and recommend it to others.
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Format: Blu-ray
Transcendence is the directorial debut from acclaimed cinematographer Wally Pfister about what would happen if a human mind were to be transferred into a supercomputer, and in this case, the consciousness of Dr. Will Caster, after he is shot by a member of the radical group RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology).

The film really isn't bad, and I think many mistake the bad reviews as critics actually panning the film. Most critics didn't hate the film, but the majority of them (as well as myself) hated the story's pacing and structure. The thing was, if you split the film in half, the first half jumps all over the place. Now, i wouldn't have minded this if they gave us a timeline to work with, but they didn't. They jumped a full year without even saying, and then when two years went by, they decided "what the heck." But, the second half was pure brilliance. It ended the way it should have, and the questions it raised were both creepy and intriguing. Now i would say the best part of the film was not the visuals, but Wally Pfister's direction. After working with Christopher Nolan for so long, I was pretty sure he picked up some tricks, and he did. His eye for visuals, the eye-popping scenery and flow of the film was grand and glorious. There's even a scene where slow motion is used on something as insignificant as a truck driving through a puddle of water, but the way it was captured, the sparkling liquid thrown into the air; breath-taking. The acting was good, but sadly nothing award-winning. Johnny Depp was good, and played his character well, going from a normal person to a lifeless AI, but in the third act, he was suddenly filled with emotion and life. Rebecca Hall was great as Will's wife, Evelyn Caster.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Good sci-fi has always been about ideas, and TRANSCENDENCE does have some. Still, visuals end up trumping the compelling questions which it could have at least attempted to answer. The story is about Will Caster, an AI researcher who is attacked by an anti-technology group known as RIFT (Radical Independence From Technology). They only graze him with a bullet, but the bullet was laced with a lethal substance and now he only has a month to live. Desperate to save his life by any means possible, his wife (and research partner) tests an experimental procedure which uploads his consciousness to a computer. From there he evolves and grows to a point practically beyond human comprehension, all with RIFT on his trail.

Watching this, at least for the first two thirds, I kept wondering why on earth this flopped so hard. It might not be the smartest sci-fi out there, having a decent amount of logical issues and extraordinary suspense of disbelief towards the end, but at its core is a compelling relationship and the age-old question of whether humans can create something as, or more, intelligent than ourselves. However by the end, with its typical action climax and really failing to probe the issues at its heart, I can understand why it might turn some people off. For my money, it was a good, well-intentioned effort by first-time director Wally Pfister (Christopher Nolan's longtime DP, who also has a producing credit). None of what is wrong with the film can really be laid on his shoulders. That would be first-time writer Jack Paglen. At times, it isn't clear what he intended the message of the film to be, since the results are a bit mixed. Is it anti-technology or not? Who are the real villains supposed to be? The answers to these questions seem to change as the film progresses.
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