A scientist's drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded to a powerful computer mainframe creating a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions.
Studio and Year:
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Warner - 2014
Feature running time:
English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish
Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Cole Hauser
Blu-ray Disc release Date:
July 22, 2014
"What if a new intelligence was born?"
, 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.
However, 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.
I sat down to watch Transcendence
hoping that what I figured it was shooting for wouldn’t overshadow the innate possibilities of its concept. If you haven’t guessed based upon the synopsis above the film’s theme is meant to be a sort of warning shot regarding our reliance on technology and the potential dangers in the quest for more. The script successfully raises both moral and ethical questions regarding our relationship with computer tech and its evolution but the personal/dramatic elements of the plot fail to derive a tangible connection that give it viable meaning. The multi-genre emphasis without proper foundation, meaning too slow for a thriller, not enough depth for engaging sci-fi, and pallid drama, results in a film that never truly gains traction.
Its message takes center stage and is a bit more pretentious than it should be which when coupled with the watered down narrative left me indifferent. I wanted to like it more than I did although to be fair there were things that I enjoyed about [i] Transcendence[i/]. I think cinematographer turned director Wally Pfister (in his directorial debut) and director of photography Jess Hall did a great job creating the look of the film. The cast is made up of a cache of talented actors that lent credibility to the proceedings, although truth be told Johhny Depp didn’t really have the opportunity to exercise his acting chops.
did hold my interest for two hours as wanted to see where it would wind up. When the credits rolled I didn’t necessarily feel cheated but there was little about it that left an indelible impression. Unlike a film that is designed to be “check your brain at the door” entertainment, this was shooting for more than that and missed the mark. I think that looking at it as a more or less one time watch/popcorn flick, will make for a better viewing experience.
The rating is for Sci-Fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): [img] [/img]
Transcendence comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brother Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
This film looks terrific on Blu-ray Disc and features glossy high definition video quality that exhibit high level detail, refining sharpness and pleasing definition that brings out the lifelike textures captured by the camera’s lens. Dimensional perspective has a near infinite appeal as close ups are noticeably revealing of the subtlest details within facial features and objects within the frame. Mid-level camera pans are equally enriching and offer excellent depth and dimension. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stand out among the remaining spectrum of secondary hues. Fleshtones are rendered with vivid tonality and discerning complexional depiction. Contrast is boldly applied without overstatement as it enlivens colors and drives whites without washing away detail. Blacks are gradational and deep which makes them pop during sequences containing a mix of light and dark elements. Detail in uneven light and darkened environments reveal visible shapes and structure in backgrounds. All in all this is a great looking presentation.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has excellent dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film’s thematic elements. Mychael Danna’s music score, coupled along with well integrated discrete and atmospheric sound effects, plays an intricate role in this sneaky good presentation. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room’s acoustic environment is excellent. The low frequency effects channel is active as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the palpably rich bass and dynamic impact associated with the film’s action based components and orchestrated music. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio presentation and found that it accentuated the film’s recorded elements.
- (HD) What is Transcendence? – 5 minute featurette
- (HD) Wally Pfister: A singular vision – 3 minute featurette
- (HD) Guarding the threat – 2 minute featurette
- (HD) The promise of A.I. – 2 minute featurette
- (HD) It’s me – 1 minute feature
- (HD) Singularity – 1 minute feature
- (HD) R.I.F.T – Faux PSA
- (HD) 2 trailers
- Bonus DVD
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
is a sci-fi/drama/thriller that strives to be illuminating and thought provoking but falls short of the mark due to heavy handed themes and a middling script. Having said that I did find entertainment value in it thanks to its solid production elements and enjoyable cast. It comes to Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment in this Blu-ray/Combo Pack that features excellent high definition audio/video and a lackluster supplement set. If you’re curious Transcendence
is a decent rental but I wouldn’t recommend it as a blind buy.
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JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package