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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Movie Review - Transcendence

Transcendence (2014)
Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara, Clifton Collins Jr., and Morgan Freeman
Directed by Wally Pfister

Conceptually, Transcendence is probably one of the more interesting films I've seen as of late.  Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the mastermind behind a sentient computer which he hopes will outpace the human race in terms of intelligence.  While Caster and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) see potential in such technology, there are large swaths of people who fear such work will bring an end to humankind.  One such group -- R.I.F.T., or "Revolutionary Independence From Technology" -- goes to terroristic means in order to get their point across, and after a conference in which Will Caster touts his opinions, Will is shot by a RIFT member who then kills himself.  After a few days, it's discovered the bullet shot into Will was laced with plutonium, thus causing Will's bloodstream to be contaminated with radiation leaving him with less than a month to live.  Desperate for Will's dream about sentient technology not to die with him, Evelyn thinks up the idea to place Will's entire consciousness inside the computer he's developing so that his "spirit" will never die and his intelligence can continue making technological advances.  Unfortunately, things go a bit awry with this plan, creating a bit of havoc and a battle between man and machine.

I don't know about you, but I kind of dig that Terminator-esque Man v. Computer battle being set up. Unfortunately, first-time director Wally Pfister languidly paces the film so that we can't help but be bored by what we're seeing unfold.  It certainly doesn't help matters that Johnny Depp doesn't even appear to be awake -- if he can't be bothered being interested in what he's doing, how in the world are we going to care?  After a promising start, the flick written by first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen begins to unravel and its climactic moments fail to resonate despite the captivating premise.

It's possible that in more experienced hands Transcendence may have been a success, but as it stands now with first timers behind both the lens and the scripting with neither behind-the-scenes aspect able to convince the film's leading actor to appear alive onscreen, the flick falls flat.

The RyMickey Rating:  C-

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