Transcendence: What To Watch After You Experience The Singularity

Johnny Depp's disembodied digital self would approve.

By Brent McKnight | Updated

Lawnmower ManLawnmower Man

To be honest, Lawnmower Man is the first title that comes to mind when you watch Transcendence, but I have the feeling some of you might stop reading a list where that’s what you see right out of the gate. The 1992 adaptation of a 1975 Stephen King short story is one of those movies that attempts to leap ahead of technology curve, to predict what comes next, but misses the mark, and as a result becomes a dated relic shortly after it is released.

Lawnmower Man tells story of a mentally handicapped handyman named Jobe (Jeff Fahey), who, after a series of brain treatments from Pierce Brosnan, starts to get way smart. Eventually he progresses to the point where he’s telekinetic and tries to upload himself into the internet in order to become “pure energy.” This is an era where that means lots of bright colors and clunky animated avatars that occasionally roar and run over other people’s brains with pixilated lawn care equipment. The two movies have the same simplistic tech-phobia and a similarly shallow examination of the moral and philosophical issues of the day.

RevolutionHonorable Mentions

NBC’s Revolution can certainly be a frustrating show to watch. The quality is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, but you’ll see the connection between the show and Transcendence within the first few minutes of the movie. James Cameron’s short-lived TV series Dark Angel is also comes to mind, for very similar reasons. The small town that Will and Evelyn move into and take over is very reminiscent of the New Mexico hamlet in Marvel’s first Thor film. Cillian Murphy shows up and is totally wasted as a federal agent with a few lines, no real character, and nothing in particular to do but stand in the background and try to look serious. You might want to watch 28 Days Later just to remind you that he can do things. And you might remark about the ease with which the resistance is able to spread a computer virus, much like Jeff Goldblum is able to infect the alien space craft in Independence Day. Who knew UFOs were Mac compatible?

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