Movie Review: Transcendence


Stars: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Clifton Collins Jr.

Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action and violence, some bloody images, brief strong language and sensuality, Running time 119 minutes, Sci-fi/Drama

Compare to: The Lawnmower Man (1992), Hollow Man (2000)

When making a movie about a man whose mind is actually uploaded into a computer, it’s not necessarily a good idea to go through every excruciating detail of how the characters are meant to do this and the subsequent actions that follow; we can accept some scientific liberties in the name of entertainment.

What’s a little more difficult to accept is when everything just happens and then pow, onto the next scene. Something cool is about to happen- we promise!

Dr. Will Caster and his wife/partner Evelyn have been working toward creating a sentient machine- one that can use the collective conscious and intelligence of the world and bring us one step closer to a better world. But when a radical anti-technology group assassinates Dr. Caster, his wife decides to make him the brains in the computer. Now a living program, it seems it’s only a matter of time before the machine overtakes the man.

" aren't everything. More importantly...I've already been paid."

“Rebecca, reviews aren’t everything. More importantly…I’ve already been paid for this movie.”

I really don’t know how I was able to type any coherent sentences out of the plot. Everything that happens seems to happen so fast I may as well just have copy and pasted the trailer below with the actual ending and you’d get the same results.

Instead of letting us take a deep breath and soaking up this would-be futuristically fueled cautionary tale about the wonders and dangers of technology, our faces are shoved near an overheating laptop as the filmmakers ask us “Pretty cool, huh?”

Sure, we can skip past all the mechanics and details of the ins and outs of Computer Depp’s self-created paradise in the desert, but in a movie like this, isn’t that what we’re watching it for?

Evenlyn and Max now know what they've done. And it is awful.

Evenlyn and Max now know what they’ve done. And it is awful.

Yet even with skipping over the things that would make this movie worth watching in place of a beat-after-beat plot, I still found myself bored out of my mind. It’s as though we were always being rushed from one website to another yet never given time to read the full article.

An example to sum up the entire film- Johnny Depp is shot by a member of the anti-technology group and hospitalized. The next scene is Depp smiling, rolling around in a wheelchair as the bullet “only grazed him.” He soon meets with Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy (Our intro to their characters) as they are shown some of Depp’s most impressive invention, which is currently the closest thing to a living computer (Our intro to it).

Then Depp complains about feeling sick, at which point he goes back to the hospital for us to find out that he’s dying from the bullet which was lined with radiation poisoining. It’s in his bloodstream and he’s going to die. And he does. Bwonk!

This is pretty much me watching this.

This is pretty much me watching this.

If I’m supposed to take part in a Psychological techno-thriller that engages me and makes me think, then man, let me think! The characters themselves saying “Oh my God. What have we done?” shouldn’t be the the only reason I know they’re screwed, I should feel it myself. I got more out of Virus.

Positives- Rebecca Hall’s performance, some cool special effects, interesting concept altogether, interesting point to make.

Negatives- Poorly executed, misused cast, dumbed down in places that could’ve been more seriously dealt with to get out a good message.

Grade: D

2 Responses to “Movie Review: Transcendence”

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