Transcendence fails the Turing Test

Friday, 25 April, 2014

“The world is a smaller place now without the internet,” muses Max Waters, played by Paul Bettany in Transcendence. Because he says this at the start of the film, audience members, who have reluctantly put away their smartphones, are intrigued. But the intriguing opening and the interesting premise about a scientist working to create a sentient machine that combines the entire range of human emotions with the collective intelligence of everything on the planet are unable to support a storyline that seems to be in two minds about itself. Transcendence attempts to be a love story and it wants to be a thriller but it sags under the weight of its self-created AI. It tries to be clever but tires of the effort. The arrival of some Navy SEALs types, complete with Abbottabad gear and attitude, signals that Director Wally Pfister has had enough of the Turing Test.

The cast is stellar: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara and Morgan Freeman. The fault lies elsewhere.

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