When it comes to human reliance on technology, how much is too much? How far is too far? These are two of the big questions posed by Transcendence, the directorial debut of award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (who won a richly deserved Oscar four years ago for his work on Inception) - a film that to date has been well-treated by the studio marketing machine, courtesy of trailers and featurettes galore, but which is now receiving even more visibility in the final weeks leading up to its April release.
Chief among the slew of new promo content Warner Bros. has unleashed to bring Transcendence to the mainstream is a brand new featurette, featured above, in which the principal members of the film's cast - Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, and Rebecca Hall - as well as Pfister himself each muse over the global and personal ramifications of uploading the consciousness of a human being into a supercomputer. A ghost in the machine is one thing; a ghost in the machine that (apparently) figures out the key to creating new life is another entirely.
Turns out that when AI researcher and all around genius Will Caster (Depp) has his personality transferred into the cold embrace of a machine by his wife, Evelyn (Hall), things don't necessarily turn out for the better. While it's difficult to put much of the more unsettling and spectacular footage here into words (even though we've seen it before in other teasers), the film appears to be making arguments both in favor of and against technological advancement at the same time; Will can accomplish some incredible feats upon achieving the transcendence of the title, but is it worth the cost of the creepier happenings they're accompanied by?
Maybe, maybe not. Transcendence gives a voice to the opposition here, represented mostly by Kate Mara (House of Cards), who plays the leader of an aggressively anti-tech group named R.I.F.T. (Revolutionary Independence From Technology). It's possible that Caster really does cross the line with his metaphysical transformation. Then again, even if that's the case, it might not necessarily justify R.I.F.T.'s violent guerrilla tactics.
These two viral videos don't show us just how far R.I.F.T. is willing to go to achieve their ends, and they're too quick to really tell you much about the characters who comprise its membership. But they do get across the anarchic, counter-cultural ideology that seems to be at the core of their movements, and even impress upon viewers the urgency and legitimacy of their claims about the dangers of technology (and of Will's research in the specific).
As if all of this wasn't enough on its own, the folks over at The Playlist also have a veritable slew of new images from the film for viewers to browse, peruse, and examine to their hearts' content. Have a look at a few of them below, including some behind-the-scenes snapshots of Pfister taking charge on the set as he works with Hall, Depp, Murphy, and others (and also calmly goes about his work as a minor inferno blazes about twenty feet away from him):
[gallery columns="1" ids="437849,437852,437856,437854,437858,437859,437860,437861,437866"]
You can check out the full gallery over at The Playlist to sate your anticipation for the film, though you won't have to hold out for much longer: Transcendence opens in just a few short weeks.
Transcendence hits US theaters on April 18th, 2014.
Source: The Playlist