After two deceptive teaser trailers earlier this week, narrated by Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman, the first full trailer for Transcendence is finally here and it is packed with new and impressive footage. Coming from first-time director Wally Pfister (the cinematographer for Inception and The Dark Knight), the film looks like a lower-budget Christopher Nolan thriller, brimming with intriguing questions about science and the dangers of new technology.
Johnny Depp stars as Dr. Will Caster, a researcher for Artificial Intelligence who finds himself very involved in his quest to create a sentient machine that carries intellect and human emotions when he becomes that super-intelligent machine. The intensity of his power will likely become a catalyst for great things, terrible things, or great, terrible things. Rounding out the film’s terrific ensemble is Rebecca Hall as Caster’s wife, Evelyn, as well as Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Clifton Collins Jr. and Cillian Murphy.
From this new footage, Transcendence looks like both an intriguing thriller about science ethics and a throwback to cautionary tales from the 1980s and 1990s about the high cost of high-powered technology. Although some of the digital effects look incomplete, it seems like Pfister’s ambition extends beyond the story into full-throttled action sequences. Admittedly, it’s a bit worrying that there are four listed screenwriters on the film, but hopefully the final draft is a potent blend of science-fiction thriller and action film, and not too heavily balanced on either side of that genre spectrum.
It is still too early to tell whether Transcendence has the chops to be an Inception-level thrill ride, but the stunning cast and intriguing subject matter should make for an easy sell among science fiction fans. As long as the film does not end up to be a re-tread of other films with unsavoury feats of science (2001: A Space Odyssey‘s HAL 9000 instantly leaps to mind), Transcendence should be one spring release to look forward to. It arrives in theatres on April 18, 2014.