So far, most of the teasers for Transcendence – the upcoming directorial debut of Inception cinematographer Wally Pfister – have been content to focus mostly on atmosphere, hinting at leading man Johnny Depp’s transformation from flesh and bone to pixels and terabytes. They hint at an unsettling film about humanity’s relationship with technology.
The latest trailer, seen above, doesn’t totally change tact, but it does place increased emphasis on the elements of action that appear to make up part of Transcendence‘s final act, as well as the anti-technology group that ultimately put its plot in motion.
That would be RIFT, or Revolutionary Independence From Technology, an extremist conglomerate that’s fervently against the brand of uncharted technological advancement being pushed by brilliant scientist Will Caster (Depp), as well as his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany).
In fact, they’re so passionate about shutting down Will’s work that they shoot him with an irradiated bullet in between executing guerrilla-like attacks on other research labs.
We get to see more of that here in an expansion on some of the footage we’ve seen in previews past. That, more than anything, is what separates this clip from the rest; while it hits a number similar notes – setting up the basic story as a dying Will’s consciousness gets uploaded into a supercomputer capable of attaining sentience and possessing collective intelligence – this new bit also firmly establishes the motives of RIFT and its members (notably Kate Mara).
More importantly, it demonstrates just why RIFT might have the right idea about stopping Will from achieving the state of being. What happens when you translate everything that makes somebody human into a massive mainframe? You lose all of their humanity in the process, or at least that seems to be what’s going on here.
The message is made quite clear: once Will becomes the literal ghost in the machine, all hell breaks loose as he starts bringing his own vision of the future to life.
There’s an enormous amount of “stuff” going on here; some of it almost feels as though it’s verging on spoiler territory, but as always, it’s impossible to tell just how much Pfister and co. are giving away without having seen the film.
The big questions that linger here revolve around what, exactly, Will is doing that Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman, finally lending Transcendence his talents at narration) proclaims an abomination – it’s cloning of some sort, but what his specific intentions are is another matter.
But it’s obviously not good, judging by the horrified reactions Evelyn, Max, and Joseph have to everything they witness here. This might be the best trailer the film has received to date, bringing a balance of old school science fiction flavor and bursts of dynamic action; there’s a reason that Transcendence is one of Screen Rant’s most anticipated movies of the year. This April, we’ll know for sure whether it’s been worth the wait.
Transcendence opens in US theaters on April 18th, 2014.