IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Transcendence'

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 06:09 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Transcendence'

Yesterday, Dr. Will Caster was only human.

Today, he's a digital demigod.

With Transcendence  hitting Blu-ray today, July 22nd, Johnny Depp is the ghost in the machine and that machine is your Blu-ray player.

These days, science fiction onscreen is more often than not an excuse for massive setpieces and huge visual effects, from the inexplicable aliens of Transformers to the mega-brawls of Godzilla.  In this blockbuster landscape, Transcendence is a rarity: an all-star scifi film packed with visual invention that is also genuinely concerned with ideas and their implications.

Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) stars as Dr. Caster.  Together with his wife Evelyn, Caster is the world's foremost expert in artificial intelligence, Caster's cutting-edge work is interrupted when an anti-tech extremist puts a radioactive bullet in his belly.  As he slowly dies, Caster's wife and partner Evelyn makes the radical decision to upload his consciousness to the most advanced computational setup in history. 

After "transcending" into digital awareness, Caster is functionally immortal and smarter than the combined intellect of every human who has ever lived. But this new life form is soon pursuing his own ends, executing a plan beyond human comprehension that could very well spell the end of our species as we know it.  The scientists who knew Will best must stop he godlike creature he's become from going too far and possibly wiping out humanity as we know it.

Rebeccca Hall (Iron Man Three) also stars as Evelyn, pushed to her emotional and intellect limits by her husband's transformation.  The cast of Transcendence also includes Morgan Freeman (Last Vegas), Paul Bettany (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Cillian Murphy (Inception), Cole Hauser (Olympus Has Fallen), and Clifton Collins Jr. (Pacific Rim).

Transcendence marks the feature directorial debut of Wally Pfister, the Oscar-winner Inception cinematographer who shot almost every one of Christopher Nolan's films (including the Dark Knight trilogy), as well as Moneyball.  When one of the most acclaimed directors of photography makes the leap to directing, the result is a sight to behold in glorious 1080p.

That what you'll get on Blu-ray, which presents Pfister and cinematographer Jess Hall's precise and evocative visuals in high definition, bringing every detail to vivid life.  Pfister, an avowed film advocate, shot Transcendence on 35mm, and the transfer to a digital medium offers a best-of-both-worlds combination. 

A DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound setup, meanwhile, presents composer Mychael Danna's crisp and haunting score alongside some tremendous soundscapes, especially as Will spirals out of control and invents mind-boggling new technology.

Fittingly enough for a film all about tech, Transcendence comes fully stocked with insightful and illuminating special features.

Among those features are several featurettes going behind the scenes.  These include "What is Transcendence," in which the stars an filmmakers discuss the concept of this heady scifi thriller, as well as "A Singular Vision," chronicling the excitement over Pfister's directorial debut, and "Guarding the Threat," which looks at the real possibility of digital consciousness. 

So check out Transcendence on Blu-ray.

And take a gander at IAR's exclusive interview with Rebecca Hall, as well as a transcendent chat with Johnny Depp himself.

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