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Trivia / Goofs
Times of India
An Artificial Intelligence researcher's consciousness is uploaded online to supposedly benefit mankind. Fighting to stop him however is an anti-technology group that believes this is conceptually immoral.
: Will immortality in the future mean an infinite existence in cyberspace, where one's consciousness can outlive the human body? Soft-spoken genius Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) researcher, Dr Will Caster (Depp) certainly thinks so. The film is set in the not-too-distant future where there is a backlash against artificially-intelligent technology. Ably supported by co-scientist and wife Evelyn (Hall), Caster envisions mankind being benefited by a God-like A.I. that has the power to heal, regenerate and create.
Caster addresses a seminar, outlining his plans for creating a supreme form of intelligence that is self-aware. When someone accuses him of trying to create a 'God', Will's reply is awkward but he doesn't disagree. Soon after, he is fatally wounded by a polonium-tipped bullet fired by an assassin from anti-technology group RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology), headed by Bree (Mara).
Realizing that Caster has barely days to live, his wife and associate Max Waters (Bettany, also the narrator) uploads his consciousness and memories to an A.I. system that Caster had created, called PINN (Physically Independent Neural Network) to give him immortality. Caster's transcendence gives him overarching powers. This also alerts FBI Agent Buchanan (Murphy) and Joseph Tagger (Freeman).
Caster transforms from reclusive researcher into some kind of cyber-Frankenstein who can give eyesight to the blind, make super-humans, reanimate the dead and cure cancer. Caster's ghostly (often ghastly) disembodied visage intoning emotionless sentences combined with the semi-surreal, bare landscape of Middle America is a metaphor for isolation. Hall's performance is tense and there are some creepy moments in the film.
First-time director Pfister (Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer) gives Jack Paglen's screenplay a moody, slow pace. Film composer Mychael Danna's (Life Of Pi), sweeping orchestrations and moody synthesizers sometimes highlights the slow pace. The film is essentially a far-fetched, sometimes muddled, cautionary tale about mankind being taken over by the machines that they themselves have created, albeit with the best of intentions.
Transcendence marks Wally Pfister's directorial debut.
Actors like Christian Bale, Jude Law and Tobey Maguire were considered for lead roles in the film.
Before Paul Bettany was cast as Max in the film, actors Tom Hardy and Ewan McGregor were considered for the role but could not accept it due to their packed shooting schedules.
Interestingly, Johnny Depp was not director Wally Pfister's first choice to play Will Caster. It was Christian Bale. But when things did not work out, Depp was cast in his stead.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Depp apparently was paid a huge salary of $20 million versus 15 percent of the film's gross. The film opened to mix and negative reviews.
Johnny Depp went to China to promote his sci-fi thriller.
According to a report in IANS, Johnny Depp was quoted saying, "What fascinated me more than anything is the co-relation between technology and power - the idea that a guy who is able to download his sentient being into a machine can become god, or a version of god. Religion is a fascinating black hole to me."