transcendence trailerWarner Bros

Is it time to get excited about a Johnny Depp movie again? Based on this eerie trailer for "Transcendence," the answer is yes.

This sci-fi drama is about a group of scientists developing an artificial intelligence that will transcend human intelligence, basically bringing on the singularity. When Will (Depp) is shot by a representative of a radical anti-technology group, his work/love partner Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) convinces the other scientists to "upload his consciousness." While the group known as RIFT (Revolutionary Independence From Technology) works to stop what Will and the other scientists have come to call transcendence, things definitely take a turn for the worse when Will starts demanding more and more power. Is this AI even Will any more? Can Evelyn let go of her dead lover before he wreaks havoc on the world?

Cillian Murphy and Kate Mara appear as RIFT upstarts, and Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman are fellow AI scientists.

This looks fascinating for several reasons.

First of all, it's the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, who is Christopher Nolan's go-to cinematographer. Pfister won an Oscar for his work on "Inception," and was also nominated for "The Dark Knight," "The Prestige," and "Batman Begins." (Nolan is also an executive producer on the project.) The questions around AI and the singularity -- humanity, identity, evolution -- are becoming less about the prescience of science fiction and more about our very near future. In the right hands, this could be a very cool science fiction love story with a political or even spiritual subtext. Jack Paglen's script was a hot property that ended up on The Black List before being snagged by Alcon Entertainment; since then, his name has been bandied about in connection with "Prometheus 2." Who knows if that's going to happen or not, but in the meantime, we can see "Transcendence" in theaters on April 18.