Friday, 27 June 2014

Welcome back!

Hello!

I am terribly sorry for the time since the last update.

I however bring to the table a new movie to make up for my horrible tardiness.

Now, I want to talk about a whole movie, so Spoilers Ahoy, you have been warned.

Today, i want to talk about the new movie Transcendence

I apologize in advance for the lack of pictures this post will have.




First, let's talk about something that I've struggled with writing a novel myself: explaining enough.

 If you're making a world/universe of your own, you want to have rules, and you want (to a point) the audience to know about these rules. If you explain too little about how things work, the audience will oftentimes find them unwilling to suspend disbelief, or feel like the lack of rules make for some impressive deus ex machina. Explain too much, on the other hand, and if you're not careful you could eithet write yourself into a corner or worse contradict yourself.

Now, in a fictional or very loosely based on real world works, you have less of an expectation to follow what already exists in the real world. Hard sci-fi and more realistic worlds, however, you can't bend rules as much.

Traacendence suffers from the second problem. It is a movie based on the real world, with real life progress, so we know what technology can and can't do. Those are the rules we're given, and while I can suspend my disbelief for the sake of having someone get their minds uploaded into a computer, when you try to explain to me how he's sustaining himself, how he can be without a computer to run him, or code, and go too much into detail that i see the holes in the story, you have a problem.


For instance, at the climax of the movie we know that the computer has nanites to do pretty much everything. To counter the machine, a virus is written that will wipe all electronics clean. They then proceed to (without technology to get into the nanites) put this virus into the nanocomputers and then inject them into the female lead, so she can deliver them into the computer herself when she is uploaded to it.

Problems:
how did you get that program into the nanites?
How do you make sure that her body doesn't destroy the nanites with her immune system, considering they are a foreign, replicating force in her body?
Why would the nanites enter the computer when only her mind would be getting uploaded?

This is based on what we've been told, and what i can extrapolate from what the movie told. Don't explain too much, else my disbelief is blown


Now, onto another thing:

The anti-technology message.

While that IS open to interpretation, I got heavy signs of this throughout the movie. The whole "Be careful with technology lest it turn against us" issue that seems to run rampant lately.

True, we have the anti-technology group at the start that attack all AI developers in the world (because that's what you should be stopping, not the computerized murderdrones in a certain Asian border), and we have them murdering people. But that is a very short time to set them up, while we have Mr Computer go from "I'm a dying human" to "I'm in a computer, I need more power" to "Everyone must be part of me" in very little screentime.

Much more time is developed painting Mr Computer as a threat, as an unfeeling villain, while the anti-technology group had one moment of great villany and then they become la resistance against Mr Computer.

I feel that, if they had tried to balance that and achieve grey vs gray morality, it might've worked better, but it suffered from the same thing Marvel's Civil War storyline did: One side did NOTICEABLY less than the other in the puppy-kicking business, and therefore looked more morally right than the other.

Technology is something that should be embraced. I mean, thanks to it we can 3D print prosthetic limbs for people, and with a little more work they will be able to be controlled like a normal limb would be!

Alarmist anti-technology movies just set us back, and that isn't quite what we should be doing.



Final point: The love story.


At the end, it is revealed that Mr Computer was actually the person that was uploaded into the computer all along, and that he was doing everything he was because the female lead's dream was to fix the planet.

I like that. I like the whole "I was given a second chance, let's do something to make the world a better place" thing, particularly because it was done because he loved her so much he was willing to let go of his "meh, I just like finding new stuff" for her sake.

However, this isn't expanded upon in the whole movie but in the last couple minutes. Never does he utter "I'm doing this for you".

While maybe that could've been a decent twist, the two previous points kept me from actually thinking of it as such. It felt tacked onto the end, when the fact that he wasn't just an unfeeling machine with the dead's face on was more than hinted at throughout most of the movie.

We know Mr Computer cares about the female lead, but he never expresses it in any way beyond "Look at what I did!" or "I love you" said in an unfeeling monotone.

This could've been handled better. In a reverse 'Her', where the intelligence was a human, it could've been handled better.

But that's just my opinion


IN CONCLUSION:

Transcendence is a decent movie, all things said. I have three major gripes with it, but the effects are good, and Johnny Depp's slurred monotone fits a computer voice perfectly. However, the aforementioned gripes keep me from saying that I recommend it.

If you enjoy these kind of movies, go ahead and watch it, and make your own opinion, I'm a programmer and I think too much.

I hope you have a fun time if you watch it!


If you are interested in another movie about a computer and a human in love, watch Her

If you want to watch a movie about computers taking over the world for less touchy-feely reasons, watch The Matrix


Thank you for reading, and have a good week!









Final nitpicking:

Two women in the whole movie. I'm not saying that the men in the movie aren't awesome (I love all of those actors to bits), but could've used a more even split.

One person of color in the whole movie. Even if Morgan Freeman is The Voice Of Soothing, having one non-white person like you're just trying to fill a quota doesn't sit well with me.

The Computer: Why didn't you limit he cycles he could run so he could only think and do what a regular human could? That seems like common sense to me...

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