Edward Scissorhands (1990), dir. by Tim Burton
Do they think that walls can hide you? Even now I’m at your window… I am in the dark beside you…
fangirl challange: [1|10] female characters → elizabeth swann (pirates of the caribbean)
Transcendence is a really good movie and had possibly the best plot twist in movie, nay, world history.
sass master Depp
You used to be much more…’muchier.’ You’ve lost your muchness.
-Alice in Wonderland (2010) ♛
"Don’t underestimate yourself… You’re the third smartest person I know."
I just watched Pfister’s Transcendence, and I’m once again in a post-film flood of musings. I love movies that make you think, their magic weaving its way through your mind long after the credits have rolled.
When I read the synopsis of Transcendence, I figured it would be another movie about the dangers of technology, about artificial intelligence taking over the world. Morgan Freeman, Johnny Depp, Kate Mara and a ScarJo lookalike formed a brilliant cast, but it also made me think: Typical Hollywood Film. It was, in some sense, very Hollywood. But at the same time, Pfister managed to blend his aesthetic eye, the big names, and a whole load of philosophical questions together into a wonderful, thought-provoking smoothie.
I liked the philosophical question behind it all: What would humans do, or even, what would you do, if you were given infinite power? Will absolute power corrupt absolutely, or will your morals and essence guide you toward a nobler path?
As I watched the movie, I felt that it was not a fear of computers and AIs taking over the world that drove the characters. I sensed that it was a fear of the potential within every human to be evil. As I watched, I realised that my fear of Will’s consciousness was based on the fact that I could not truly trust that any human, given ultimate power, could remain true to, or maintain his/her morals and compassionate nature. Which stems indirectly from the fact that I couldn’t trust that I myself would be able to remain a good person. I couldn’t definitively say that I will never ever be evil, or that I will always want to do good for others, should I be given the power that Will had. One’s judgment of others tends to be tinted by one’s own personality and nature. A manipulative person will be intensely wary of others, afraid of being manipulated and sabotaged; he/she thinks that they themselves would do it, in that situation, so why not others?
I don’t think I’m evil, but I know that I am not Mother Teresa. Far, far from it. I don’t believe my morals are unwavering and above ground. I believe I have the potential for evil, as do all humans with the possible exception of Mother Teresa.
Back to the movie, when I realised that *SPOILER ALERT*
Will’s AI consciousness was still him, and still an innately kind person, I was shaken by how my own petty and distrustful nature had twisted my view of him, and all that he had done. Basically, he never did anything immoral in the show. It was all done in the spirit of changing the world for the better. But my own small-mindedness made me doubt his intentions, as did Max. The movie was masterfully crafted such that we felt as Max and/or Evelyn felt, right up to the moment when they realised that they had misunderstood Will. We were there, with them, as our hearts sank and we realised that we had destroyed something that was potentially the best thing that had ever happened to mankind. Destroyed pure motives and progress, with our suspicions and impure hearts.
Does this mean that should a God ever walk this Earth one day, noticed by all and announced, we would tear apart this God, this hope for a better future? “People fear what they don’t understand” was the recurring motif in the film. Does this mean that when our prayers are answered and miracles blossom, we would push them away and abolish any chances of paradise? Perhaps, underlying all our emotions, is the desire to be in pain. Maybe we all wish to be mired in difficulties and obstacles, pain and sadness. Maybe we are so familiar with these feelings that the idea of a perfect, blissful life scares us. Maybe we don’t want to be unconditionally happy.
It is a sad thought, but what I got from the movie was, indeed, the realisation that maybe I don’t truly desire happiness.
Johnny Depp on the set of The Ninth Gate