Transcendence is a tricky one. Tricky because it's one of those films that toted itself as a big release but kind of failed to deliver what we've come to expect of Blockbusters nowadays. Transcendence is slower in pace, there isn't a constant stream of action or shooting and it really drives home some rather large social commentary and explores some interesting themes. I saw this in the cinema when it had it's theatrical release and I was pleasantly surprised because I didn't know what to expect.
Where Transcendence really comes into it's own is the twisting of this sci-fi trope. Will doesn't use his new found influence to hurt people - he heals the sick, cures diseases and doesn't actually kill anyone. The film explores our current relationship with technology rather well; we're already so dependent on technology, what would actually happen if we were to accept a form of technology to change our fundamental existence and change what it meant to be human? Would we actually accept it in the first place, to lose what makes us human, even if it meant the end of disease and sickness and other human frailties?
This film won't be for everyone, like I said earlier, it's a slower paced film and doesn't rely too heavily on action, choosing instead to explore it's theme and raise questions. It's directed by Wally Pfister and has Christopher Nolan as an Executive Producer, these two have worked together on several occasions and Nolan's influence can be seen throughout, even if subtly. The action that is there is solid, the locations and set pieces used flow together and suit the overall tone, there is a realism to everything despite the science-fiction story and the special effects used are so slick that they seem almost natural (watch the scene where the solar panels get destroyed and Will goes about fixing them and tell me that isn't cool). Definitely nolan-esque.
So is it a Hit Play or a Hit Stop? A Hit Play. I enjoyed Transcendence but then again I am a giant nerd and science-fiction is one of my favourite genres and I really like the themes that Transcendence explores. So I would recommend you watch it, even if you decide to play it safe and rent it, it is worth a watch.
Transcendence is out on DVD, Blu-ray and available for digital download now.