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  • Critics and wannabe critics alike really lashed into this one. And I guess I have them to thank for me liking (not loving) this movie, as they lowered my standards significantly before I walked into the theater. Like them, my expectations were sky-high. I figured since Wally Pfister has been Christopher Nolan's cinematographer since 2000's Memento, maybe some sort of slow-release genius-osmosis had taken place, and Transcendence would be a stellar thriller/head- scratcher like we've come to expect from Nolan. Well, the cold hard fact is that it's not. But it sure isn't terrible.

    As scientists are on the verge of a new breakthrough in A.I. technology, a rouge terrorist group known as RIFT begins knocking off labs around the country. One of their antics is the assassination, by radioactive poisoning, of scientist Dr. Will Caster. As his body slowly deteriorates, his wife and his partner work frantically work on a way to upload his mind to a computer, thus allowing him to continue his research. And as anyone could've guessed, the plan goes completely to hell.

    Transcendence is not excellent, but it's also not the travesty that reviews from people more reputable than me are calling it. The main problem is the script. An excellent script can make you buy into even the most ridiculous of plots, but first-time-writer Jack Paglen's script never finds a constant tone, is unevenly paced, has underdeveloped side plots, and keeps you at arm's length from any connection with the characters and the story. In other words, it doesn't raise up any concerns or ideas we haven't already seen, and the shallowness of the script gives you plenty of time to question the incongruence of the story.

    Other than that, Transcendence is pretty good. Pfister's direction is expedient, and he avoids the jumpy camera syndrome that typically plagues these kinds of movies. In fact I was even getting trappings of Chris Nolan's directing style at times (is it just me?). The ensemble performance from the cast is solid. The cast list may look like Nolan's leftovers, but they do an excellent job, and they make better use of the paltry script than I thought possible. Even though Pfister was behind the camera and not the cinematographer, you think he was going to let his baby look mundane? While not as gorgeous as, say Inception, Jess Hall hits it home and makes Transcendence look properly futuristic while still squeezing in some contrasting elements of nature in almost every frame.

    Does 6 stars seem too high? I don't think so. In my mind, 10=revolutionary, 9=excellent, 8=very good, 7=pretty good and 6=jusk OK. An airtight script that rises up to the challenge was all that was needed to make Transcendence truly, um, transcendent. But it doesn't, and the lackluster script affects every other technical aspect of this film like a virus, and makes Transcendence a pretty- to-look-at popcorn movie. I know this is Wally Pfister's first time in the director's chair, but I still feel he was capable of making a film more nuanced than this.
  • Truly the questions this film asks leave me wondering. So let's start with the film itself, as a scifi thriller, it's beautifully executed with some stunning visuals, to the extent that sometimes it has the feel of a travel advertisement. The story hangs together well, with strong central performances which keep you engaged. Some of the ethics are quite complex, and you have to ask if the machine's intent is really hostile, or is that just the interpretation characters are putting on it because they don't understand. And we fear what we do not understand. The intent here is clearly to tell a story in such a way that you walk away thinking about it. Job done. I came away thoroughly entertained, and thinking more about singularity and transcendence than I have in quite a while. If you are after a Saturday afternoon blockbuster with a lot of action, this might not be the film for you, but if you prefer your action with a little more intrigue, this is a great film.
  • Ozie Cargile4 July 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    Transcendence had so much potential. Johnny Depp. Morgan Freeman. Big budget sci-fi thriller commenting on the evolutionary struggle between man and machine. What could possibly go wrong?

    Everything, apparently.

    There is no way that a scientist (Paul Bettany), who's been off the grid in a cave somewhere for two years, could write a virus that would outsmart a self-aware supercomputer (Johnny Depp) so advanced over the same time period that it can literally build a human copy of itself from the sands of the earth. No way.

    Even if the original source code was written by said cave scientist, the movie establishes that the supercomputer has been re-writing its code ever since it became self-aware. Paul's character wasn't even as smart as the human Johnny Depp, and we're expected to believe that Paul can outsmart Johnny as a supercomputer with unlimited resources? Sigh.

    And to the subject of national defense. A lone FBI agent, who's not even a high ranking official, makes the decision to side with a known terrorist group to shut down all networks and electricity on the planet? Seriously? The United States government, or any other world government, would sooner take out the terrorist cell (and the FBI agent) and negotiate with the supercomputer before allowing all hospitals, communication, commerce, defense and refrigeration to shut down in a moment's notice.

    And even if we take the premise that the supercomputer committed suicide to save the life of the scientist who wrote the virus, why would he do that? He could have easily saved the scientist, his wife (Rebecca Hall)and everyone else, by just taking the gun from the terrorist holding the scientist hostage. He can sprout nanotechnology from the ground (which is how he took everybody else's gun). Double sigh.

    I was very disappointed, again because this movie had so much potential. Instead of being awesome, it's just another classic example of poor script writing and relying on big names and special effects to do the job. What's worse, the makers of this film should have known better.

    Shame.

    Normally, I'd give this movie a 4/10. However, for its audacity to advertise brilliance and be anything but, it gets a 1.
  • This film will most likely split down the middle because of it's religious tones of God and evolution. Some people will love it and some will hate it because it might go against their belief system.

    For movie purposes, it has great acting, great story (though some may feel it's a little too far fetched, which I personally don't think is too far fetched when you see what the world was like 10 years ago before the mainstream web), and pretty good action scenes.

    At the heart, it's a story about a woman, Evelyn, who loves her husband, Will, so much she tries to hold onto him by helping him save his consciousness. She begins to wrestle with whether this being is really Will or is something new. It's also about evolution and the line between humanity and evolving into something more. This movie might be a turn off for religious people but it does make you think of what humanity could become whether you're religious or not.

    Overall, it's a great movie that's enjoyable, thought provoking, challenges some beliefs, and foreshadows some future realities we will all have to soon deal with.

    I would say go see it!
  • Transcendence, much like most of the latest sci-fi themed films to hit cinemas, is a wasted effort. It exhibits signature Pfister cinematography that we've come to love over the past decade. With Nolan's Batman trilogy and Inception, it was only a matter of time for Wally Pfister to take a stab at directing. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems well done in this film is the cinematography. The story, while seeming fresh and exciting on paper, devolves into a half baked idea with mediocre acting. Johnny Depp does the best he can while only being a mere voice during the latter half of the film. The rest of the cast seems wasted, this is especially true because we know how great Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman and Rebecca Hall can be. Wally Pfister focuses more on capturing really fantastic shots but seems never truly devoted to the actual story. This comes as a major disappointment especially because of the hype that this film has been generating over the last year. When it boils down to it, Transcendence is just another exercise in style over substance, never matriculating to anything more than an average sci-fi thriller that has a criminally underused cast and phenomenal camera-work.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Alright, odds are you're going to hate this because I didn't really like this movie and I'm fairly blunt sometimes.

    My extremely detailed summary:

    This is what I get for finally going into a movie blind thinking it has Morgan Freeman and Depp and Paul Bettany in it so it has to be passable at least, right? Well, the director was very awful and the story was ridiculous. It's a movie about the singularity and dealing with it, and while there are some things in that I'd like to believe happen someday, it's not going to happen in this manner.

    Here we go.

    Basically, Depp is a brilliant weirdo and married to his soulmate wifeperson, they work in genetic computing. So Depp gets shot by a psycho and is going to die, so emotional wifeperson takes the next step and downloads Depps brain into the pc system he's been developing, AND IT WORKS. The psychos are attacking all over, it's calamity, Jim. What can we do?! We have to hide inside this totally undefended abandoned school from our childhood which happens to be housing this extra copy of the world's most advanced computer set up system we need, that anyone could have just walked up and used.

    • Super Computer Depp needs to be connected to the internet, and does get connected for approximately 1 second and is now spreading himself over everything everywhere, but it took days to download his brain? - Super Computer Depp does shady stock works to make his wife rich, and so then he's going to work towards fixing humanity in some method that computers believe is best, so he needs a place to do this. He decides (and he's smarter than us so this has to be right) that this place should be underground under a desert in California right beside this piece of crap hopeless hick town. Wife will use newfound riches to build it. - This might be reasonable, except wife hires one redneck hick from the town to build it. - Redneck hick is successful in a few seconds, and *POOF* we have this insanely gigantic underground facility full of technical equipment never before seen to man. So it didn't actually take a few seconds, but in actual movie time it was more like a month. - Deppbot starts healing people with nanobots, and taking over their bodies making them super strong and super smart or restoring vision, this seems fine except they're now brainwashed into a nanozombie state - Deppbot decides this is better for everyone, starts recruiting more people for miracles - Bettany is aware things aren't good, and teams up with the original psychos (including a Daenerys clone) that shot Depp to try and bring him down, they hide under copper wire nets and eventually steal the original Redneck Hick, since nano-programmed into a superzombie. Deppbot can't see through copper wire, it blocks his wireless signal. - Bettany helped Live Depp program the original AI system, he's the only one that can stop this - In a few seconds, he comes up with a virus that can take down Deppbot, and injects it into the wife, she's going to die but it's going to be for the good of humanity - Attack Plan time! The psycho team mounts an assault on Depps field of solar energy panels to distract him while wifey goes and is like, "Oh save me lover Deppbot!" or something, and gets him all secretly. He'll never see it coming. - Using four guys, the fake Mother of Dragons, three guns, and a 1910 style mortar gun dragged around on by trailer hitch on an elderly Chevy van, they defeat the evil nanozombie townsfolk despite a large number of shading things happening. - Bettany's virus is uploaded to all the internets in the entire world, infecting everything and shutting the internet off and turning it back to a pre-stone age state, also known as 1986. After all, it's better than an army of Depp clones that use wireless internet to steal people. They're nanobots, you know. They're in EVERYTHING now. - Humanity is saved! YES!


    ***BIG REVEAL*** I won't reveal it, but what doesn't happen is Depp isn't like, "Screw your internet. I'm gonna make my own internet to run my life." He made his own new self out of synthetic flesh and whatnot, he reincarnated himself as a living breathing Deppbot, but he apparently can't defeat the lack of 801.11ac wireless. I can assure you that that did not happen, even though his nanobots are in EVERYTHING.

    Moral of the story: This movie is impressive in it's illogical hilarity which is extremely difficult to describe or attempt to write down (I didn't include most of it), it might be worth it to watch and make fun of in a sort of "count the number of times the Wet Bandits die in Home Alone" sort of way, but otherwise don't. We got like, 5 minutes of Morgan Freeman in this one, apparently there's only so much Morgan Freeman to go around and some other movie needed an old black guy.

    I hope you appreciated this summary, but odds are you're bugged now.
  • somzer5 July 2014
    Warning: Spoilers
    Not only did everything happen way too fast, it didn't make much sense either.

    As it was told to us near the end, he WAS the (more or less) same person as before death, doing everything not because of his own desire, but because of the women he love(s/d). What she wanted was explained and he did exactly that.

    Being able to heal the planet, being able to cure diseases and injuries, enhance and watch over literally everything, just why in the name of pickles did he decided to throw everything away? His processing capabilities were supposed to be beyond comprehension, and the best thing he could come up with was basically sending the world back to the stone age? And people were actually lining up behind this idea?

    Let's see. No communication, no worth of money, no medication, no order, no disaster recovery, it's the end of economy so what comes are spreading sicknesses, starvation, maybe a few wars here and there just to spice it up a little... It's pure chaos and anarchy, nothing more.

    So against the wishes (heal the planet, to help people) of the most important person to him, against his own...desire to keep her alive, he was like "ah, screw it". That the blondie would've shot the other guy (my apologies, I'm not good with names) is yet again irrelevant, with the power at his fingertips he would've been able to recover him as well. But killing off his love, himself and probably billions more is sure a better idea.

    And please don't try the "people fear what they don't know" or "they were scared it would take over the world" bull****, because with just an ounce of intelligence they'd have realized that the upcoming suffering and deaths of this new "dark age" and more suffering and deaths in this still imperfect world is no better option than the worst case scenario: the hive mind and loss of individuality, order, prosperity and evolution. Again, that was the worst case scenario, which was not at all the case.

    Personally I find it difficult to understand his everything but logical decisions, to put it lightly.

    For me this movie was simply horrible, an awful experience.

    P.S.: I do not exactly care about the actors, the acting, the serenity, the animations or anything else...at all. I am talking about the story, the plot, nothing else.
  • Don't know why all the negative review about this movie, but reading their negative comment it seems to me that they expected something else and it is not delivered hence they are throwing a tantrum and choose not to enjoy the movie.

    While its cons might be the lack of characters development this doesn't change the fact that the story line and concept is better than a lot of other movies and it is presented well. The story might feel a bit stretched but it give us more time to think and enjoy the development of the movie.

    It doesn't show too much of the potential of an AI, nor it have a lot of actions scenes, but it does show us a lot of perspective and views on a single ideas, and what misunderstanding and doubt could do. The movie doesn't show you what is right or wrong, or which is the best solution, it only show us the thinking of each characters and the consequences from their actions.

    If you love thoughts provoking movie which leave you with a lot of thinking, you will definitely like this movie.
  • No irony in the above. The irrational and immensely stupid human reactions are more than realistic, and paint a bleak future while also explaining why we are stuck here today. People are scared of human evolution and advancement, and do their utmost to prevent them from happening. Think of religion or populistic yet unreasonable laws that are based on religion or similarly unfounded assumptions.

    This film is great, the possibilities outlined are very real, and those hurring it down have absolutely no knowledge of science and have no imagination as to what the future may realistically hold.

    I would expect that Transcendence will do better in countries where there is more critical thinking, such as Japan or most of Europe.
  • Transcendence is Wally Pfister's directorial debut about Dr. Will Caster, who has his mind transferred into the largest supercomputer on the face of the planet after he is shot by an anti-AI activist at a conference. But, as Will begins to grow and expand, can his wife Evelyn and Will's friends stop him before the Will they knew is completely gone?

    I find it truly pathetic how many people are hating on this movie, and for some of the wrong reasons. I did go into this movie with high expectations and was disappointed, but there was still a lot to salvage from that was good. But first thing's first: the bad. Transcendence has a fantastic story and great concepts, but the way it was delivered and structured was incredibly poor and muddled. If you split the film in half instead of thirds, the second half of the film is incredible and ends how it should, but the first half suffers from time gaps, some left out character development and poor pacing. But, this is really all that's bad.

    The decent but disappointing aspects of the film are the ideas. The film pitches grand and epic thoughts that grow, but the ideas it preaches are never fully realized, at least the majority of them. Then, the script by Jack Paglen suffered from inconsistencies and random plot elements that did not really need to be there, or should have been examined further (like RIFT).

    Now, the good and great. Wally's direction was superb; he really knew what he was doing after working with Christopher Nolan for so long. Pfister's style and unique eye helped save this movie from being a total disaster, especially when it came to the action, the way the camera moved with the scene and the characters or just the environment itself. The acting was great, too, especially Paul Bettany in the supporting role as Max, Will and Evelyn Caster's friend and fellow scientist. He brought heart and emotion from the other side of the spectrum, having an objective and subjective eye on the situation, with the other (completely subjective) side being from Evelyn's point of view. Rebecca Hall was great as Evelyn, a researcher clouded by her love for Will, and challenged in deciding whether or not the thing Will says he is, is actually Will or not. Johnny Depp was good, but it wasn't until the end of the film when the audience feels emotionally attached to him, as he's usually an emotionless AI, projected on screens and glass. The visual effects were top-notch and some of the best of the year hands-down, and the musical score by Mychael Danna was haunting, beautiful and intense when it needed to be.

    Transcendence is an actually good movie that deserves more credit than the immense crap it's getting. And to those who keep comparing it to the B-movie "Lawnmower Man," it's different. Sure, there are brief similarities (melding man with machine), but that's it. It's an original take on the "technology-will-destroy-humanity" cautionary tale, and it's a disturbing one that does have some hopeful (and resonating) humanity after the mayhem and chaos has settled. I hope Wally Pfister gets to tackle another big sci-fi film, but one with a different, more experienced writer.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The film seemed amazing up until the last 20 minutes of it where logic just blew away and the worst possible ending appeared.

    So, let me summarize: a handful of terrorists who killed a lot of people wins against a peaceful superb being that tries to heal the world. And they don't just destroy it, they try to deceive it using the wife who in 1 second decided to betray her husband. The deception fails and the final terrorist girl just waves her gun into the air, points to another friend who has betrayed Will and just commands: "kill your f___ng self and your wife too, just so I won't shoot your friend".

    Why Will doesn't save his wife, while simulating death? Even better, why can't Will neutralize one small stupid terrorist girl? How is it he able to get over every other military unit, but not this one? Can't he use one of his minions to jump fast and furious? Can't he attack her from behind? Can't he, after all, just heal his friend?

    So, one stupid terrorist girl makes the world healing machine commit suicide and basically murder his own wife for whom he was doing this all and who betrayed him in no time and without any doubts.

    Terrorists win, planet loses. Basically this film is about that if you believe in something so hard that you will kill many people for it and just demand your enemies to kill themselves, you'll get what you want. It's about "go terrorists, go, if you think that you are doing good thing it's all good!"

    The worst possible ending ever.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Good: Cinematography and Acting

    This is a beautiful film, and the star-studded cast did as well as could be expected under the circumstances.

    The Bad: The Script

    This film should be an edge-of-the-seat thriller and an exploration of what is possible in the future. Instead it was as flat as a busted balloon. There was no tension. There was stuff exploding but we didn't care. Aside from the lack of suspense, a contributing factor to the flaccid plot was the premise. Sci-Fi films require a simple explanation for the break-through being depicted. In "Back to the Future," we are taken all over the space-time continuum. We get the rules, and we go along for the ride. The concept of cyber-human evolution is ahead of the story. We do not get the parameters of the concept. Are these new beings cyber-people? What are those flying dots? Are they pieces of people or matter? There isn't a cohesive story about the scientific break-through. We do not know when the characters are in jeopardy or what will happen when the thing gets them. We don't know what the thing is.

    Even death does not have absolute boundaries in this film, but there is no explanation for how Johnny Depp "finds a way back." At some point, we give up trying to put together an explanation for the author and we don't believe it. There ends the magic of film. We cannot suspend disbelief any longer.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The creators of this movie had an agenda. A "We're afraid of technology so let's kill it no matter the cost!" agenda.

    So let's make a movie about it! Oh, and let's spend a lot of money and hire a lot of known faces to spread this agenda. And the loopholes in the script... wow, those loopholes... Did J.Depp and M.Freeman even read the script before starting production!?!? Seeing this movie only causes people to resent building an AI. To resent progress, to resent what the human species has been doing for the past 200k yeasts or so: evolving. There is NOTHING wrong in the actions of the AI in this movie. Only those of the humans trying to stop it, eventually causing the humanity's own demise.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There's a lot to love about Transcendence. Unfortunately, almost all of it is killed by a very poor script. The film is so full of holes and leaps in logic that it's hard to take any of it seriously or truly enjoy it. Character's that should be villains turn into saviors and characters that we expect to be allies turn into pariahs. There's no one to really root for here and the story telling seems to exist only to push certain ideas about technology and it's capabilities.

    The story is fairly simple and can pretty much be seen in the trailers. Doctor Will Caster is a brilliant scientist working to push A.I. technology drastically. When he is fatally wounded with a time clock on his life, his partner in life, Evelyn, has the brilliant idea of transplanting his consciousness into a massive super computer. From there, we have a rapidly pushed story that leads to a bunch of silly, almost cool ideas about what computers could become capable of.

    The first problem is evident in the first frame. We are immediately aware of the ending, which left a bad taste in my mouth. The mystery of how it is all going to end is immediately spoiled. So, all that's left is the how. And the how is almost completely preposterous. We're led to believe that the advancement of this super A.I. manages to grow to unbelievable potential in only a matter of a couple of years. Somehow, we're simply supposed to accept that everything we see is possible. It's a massive leap of logic and one that is too hard to digest. There's very little to suggest how any of it is possible, only simply that it is and that very smart people are capable of making it all so. We're also supposed to believe that the government never gets involved and that the antagonists know what's going on, despite getting rid of any technology that ties them to the world at large. You're simply expected to go along with it. If you're able to, then more power to you. I wasn't.

    Much of the rest of the film is well done. The cinematography is as good as you would expect. The acting varies. Paul Bettany, Johnny Depp, and Rebecca Hall are all sufficient here. Morgan Freeman feels wasted as he has very little to do but get led around. But again, the entire thing suffers from a poor script and story. It's hard to give praise to something so completely let down by it's core, but there are glimmers of brilliance here. This being Wally Pfister's first film, it's not too surprising it falters. But with Nolan having his name attached and surely having guided the cinematographer who worked on most of his films, it's hard to believe that this managed to go through with such a faulty script. There are far too many holes and leaps in logic to ignore, which makes this a huge disappointment in my eyes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Okay this movie is a comedy right? Okay I know that it's says here on IMDb that it is a drama, Mystery sci- Fi. But it must be a comedy, because the movie is totally laughable. The script is totally laughable or worse it's a kind of "The lawnmower man" from 1992 remake.Which was also laughable, but you can forgive "The lawnmower man" for being a bad movie, but this one you can't

    This movie is just like if someone gave a scientist 20 millions dollars so he could invent a technology that could turn cheese back too milk again. A total waste of money. I sincerely hope that Mr Depp and Mr. Freeman has donated most off their money that they earned from this, to doctors without borders or a children cancer foundation. I once saw an interview with Mr. Deep saying that he never goes to any premiere, now I know why!
  • Dr Will Caster (Johnny Depp) develops a sentient computer device with unsurpassed processing power. When fatally poisoned by a radical techno-terrorist organisation he and his wife (Rebecca Hall) upload his consciousness into his invention to preserve his life, but the now unrestrained supercomputer soon develops a frightening ambition that blurs the line between humanity and technology.

    It seems that every few years somebody in Hollywood tries to redo The Lawnmower Man, which is by no means a perfect movie (especially with its laughable, early generation CGI) but it harbours an interesting premise; what happens if we ignore our own judgement and let our technology get the better of us?. It's an old sci-fi trope going back decades that has definitely become a crutch of story telling to some extent, but any good idea is worth exploring again, and with such an impressive cast and a very promising production team behind it, hopes were high for Transcendence to be a good movie.

    Unfortunately though, it isn't. Transcendence is a turgid, lifeless bore of a film that doesn't really offer anything insightful about its subject matter because it's so single mindedly stupid about it. All the parts about technology, philosophy and what it means to be human are all thrown to the wayside, and the movie instead grounds most of its logic on the relationship between two people like its the most important thing in this world. In a movie where technology is used to heal the sick, rebuild the forests and even cure death, all the movie wants us to care about is how Rebecca Hall cannot possibly go on living without her dead husband and how all that amazing wonderful miracle-making doesn't mean anything.

    I'm not even sure who the main character is supposed to be. Depp is in the movie in the flesh only for about 15 minutes and after that he disappears mostly into the background of scenes as a computer program making it hard to relate to him. Hall acts so selfish, stupid and blunt throughout that it's impossible to like her as an audience member. It certainly isn't Paul Bettany either, he's a prisoner through most of the film and when he's not, the things that are happening are more or less out of his control.

    Also the vagueness of the films antagonist is a real problem, we're led to believe that Computerised-Depp is the main antagonist, but he's not really, a computer operating by logic is hard to hate as a viewer, because it's just doing what's in its own nature, and many of the miracles its capable of are not, in and of themselves evil either (since when was healing the blind considered unjust?). It certainly isn't the Techno-Terrorist group R.I.F.T either, their motivations as terrorists isn't even particularly clear other than "Technology is Bad", Shooting Johnny Depp over a hypothesis seems more like stupidity than martyrdom. Also during the films climax they become good guys.

    Johnny Depp was reportedly paid $20 million for his role in this movie, and in my opinion he didn't earn his salary. He is stiff, lifeless, bored (that's even before he gets uploaded into a computer) and obviously uninterested in the finished product. Rebecca Hall is trying very hard here, but the terrible writing of her character hamstring her efforts. Paul Bettany is good here and is probably the films strongest asset, but he's not in the film enough and pretty much useless by the time the conclusion comes. Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy are just there, they don't really have anything interesting to say or do. Kate Mara gives by far the worst performance, the bad writing of her character hurts her more than others, but she was impossible to buy as the stern, serious leader of an organised terrorist group.

    There's also a huge lack of understanding of rudimentary film making skills at play. Wally Pfister is a gifted cinematographer and the film does look good generally speaking, but working cinematography on a movie and directing an entire movie are two completely different ball games. Many aspects of film-making are botched here: Framing, Blocking, Dynamics between Characters, Editing, Camera Movements but especially Pacing. This is one of the worst Paced movies in quite some time, nothing that happens in the story has any momentum, and this coupled with the poor direction over everything else makes the whole movie completely dull to watch (the biggest mistake is that film begins with the ending, spoiling any and all tension during the movie).

    I'm not saying that every movie needs to have an action scene either, there isn't a car chase during 12 Angry Men, but Transcendence builds to a huge final engagement and when it comes it's over with way too quickly.

    It's a combination of many elements that could go wrong with a movie, and it's easy to blame Wally Pfister for the poor direction, but I think this movie represents a far bigger concern. Johnny Depp is currently the highest paid actor in the world, but this and some of his last films "The Lone Ranger" and "Dark Shadows" both had disappointing box office takings, which leads me to believe that maybe Depp's day are numbered, and/or perhaps we're entering a new age of movies where it doesn't matter who you cast, a stinker's a stinker and people wont flock to see garbage.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The wrong slant has been put on this fascinating and provocative film. It is not the usual cliché about the dangers of technology going too far, but rather it is about the dangers of fear and suspicion that can destroy miraculously innovative ideas.

    We at first are led to appreciate the wonder of being able to make the world a better place through the latest research on AI. We see how powerful it can be for good -- healing the sick and restoring the planet and even preserving consciousness.

    The "victors" in this film are a group who from the beginning are advocating that people throw away their computers and who early in the film actually blow up research labs across the nation. But then, surprisingly, we are led by several trusted main characters to become fearful. It's more than we can trust to transfer an entire human brain (even one with benevolent intentions) to a computer and let it continue to create.

    The interesting part is that by the very end, we realize that the real tragedy of the film is the victory of the fear-mongering destroyers. Computers are used only as door-stops.

    There is an intriguing ray of hope about a protected garden that may not have been destroyed....

    Whatever your ideas about technology, this intelligent film will stimulate a great discussion with friends!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    My Thoughts: On the surface this film raises the usual questions of technology vs. humanity, but if you look deeper you will see that there is much more to this movie than meets the eye. Other more complex questions are raised, such as: What is self-awareness? What role do we as humans ultimately want technology to play in the bigger picture that is our future? How do we reconcile logic with emotion? Should we fear technology? Do we have a soul and if so, does that mean that when our bodies die we can still live on through other means? I really enjoyed this film and found myself thinking about the questions I posed above, as well as many others.

    Johnny Depp as Will is not an obvious choice but he brought a likability to the character. Evelyn's (Rebecca Hall) struggle with her husband's demise and "reincarnation" are palpable but I think the audience will sympathize with her unwavering devotion. Paul Bettany is the movie's conscience so his character is cautious, if not underutilized.

    All in all, I believe "Transcendence" to be a good film. Far from the usual car chases and predictable romantic comedies, this movie rises above and seeks to challenge audiences.

    My Recommendation: Depends on what kind of movie you're looking for. If you want mindless entertainment, this is not the film for you and skip it. If you're the type of person who likes to think about a movie long after the credits roll, definitely see it.

    Be sure to check out more reviews at www.shepfromtamp.com
  • The writer has obviously thought about the challenge of building AI seriously. I have heard it before and will reiterate this shared insight - Transcendence (2014) is ahead of its time. In a way perhaps one's enjoyment of the film will be a function of what one most wants from a movie. If this is emotional support, intellectual ease, or philosophical certainty; then perhaps it is not the right film for you. It definitely leaves more than one door open; in the characters also.¬†

    I did speculate over some apparent inconsistencies but these are folding the more I think about it. That is part of the fun with good movies; to try and work out why things happened the way they did. I won't detail these. I rarely rate a movie that doesn't draw me back and invite me to deconstruct it. If every single thing clicks the first time then perhaps it is too simple. I will end the review on that theme.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There is only one thing I didn't like about this film. The film opens showing the outcome. I spent the whole film wondering how they lost rather than if. I think this film would have been even better had the end of the movie been left at the end.

    That being said this film was the most thought provoking I have seen in a long time. It is a movie that really speaks about human fear of the unknown and some peoples willingness to kill others just because of that fear. In the end Will has harmed none and actually helped the planet when they who fear technology force humanity straight back to the dark ages.

    The thing is if something like this is even possible then it will likely result in people too afraid of change to allow it to come to fruition and there may indeed be war because of it.

    As for the regular movie stuff I liked how Depp played his character as well as the rest of them. I do not really consider myself qualified to write about the technical aspects of movie making so I will leave it at this. I was moved by the story and I loved watching it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The movie starts lengthy with building the plot base everyone knows from the trailer or movie description. After five minutes I already feel out of breath but try hard to sit through the boring conversations and the obvious. I need lots of chips and popcorn to endure this phase. After the long wait in the middle of the movie I am rewarded with excellent CGI effects and technological advances that would make everybody saliva and handle over their money immediately in real life. It's easy to fall in love with this digital creature who comes up with such great ideas. I was thinking: Open API would be l33t. If Will Caster's mission was to transcend, I was waiting for him to commit to github. I was waiting for great things in this movie.

    But the movie clearly was not made for the educated masses, but for a stubborn religious audience, who likes all movies to be the same. The plot turned sour, but not unexpectedly. The religious fanatics who want to play god and control everything on this planet team up to destroy the new intelligence. With mortars they repeatedly attack the data center, trying to destroy the new hope for the planet.

    Of course the few religious lunatics win. By the most crazy means ever: with a virus. It's beyond me how a supercluster AI intelligence does not have security. All emotional attachment aside. There should be security running as basic protocols in the background. After all he was connected to the internet, a dangerous place. Was the data center running on Windows XP first edition ?? In the beginning of the movie, the first thing Will Caster did after going digital, was to rewrite his code base. This is what everybody would have done .. optimize code all the time. After all it's his natural state to be digital and to innovate. Therefore the virus was impossible to implement. The code to compromise by Max Waters did not even exist anymore - we learned that after 20 minutes in. How would Will - as an intelligent being - not create his own programming language and complete code rewrite? How??? All in all a very disappointing piece of cgi bliss. It makes me upset about the religious screenwriter who once again gives us the American nightmare: it's possible to kill all innovation with weapons and religious people will always rule and control.
  • What can I say about this film, the hype was there, very topical, a director with an amazing eye, all start cast. The film should have been very good all round, but, sadly, it is far from it. The plot is weak, acting poor and the dumbing down of the science has actually led to a film which makes little or no sense. Who is the audience suppose to connect with? maybe the annoying wife, the dead scientist in a computer, the annoying friend or the terrible cast of sub characters who all have no substance or any kind of interesting back story.

    If your doing science fiction based around such an interesting and REAL concept. Please show some respect to the intelligence of your target audience.

    UTTER RUBBISH!
  • I will usually watch any film with Johnny Depp in it but I wish that I had made this the exception to my rule. Somehow, as soon as this film began, I knew I was in trouble. Call it an intuitive sense based on the number of films I've watched or whatever, but the truth is I was correct. It is a tremendous waste of exceptional talent in a film that is way beyond preposterous. I can deal with expanding what is believable but this film presents it in a way that is incredibly not interesting. I found myself not caring within 30 minutes. Actually, to make a scifi film so lacking takes a certain kind of "talent". It's a shame because the genre is screaming for intelligent, well-made movies. It's also a cruel joke to fill it with so much top talent and then waste it with so poor a script. Johnny Depp could not look more bored and one of his over the top performances might have helped here.
  • "A first-year high school student with a major interest in computer science and technology was asked by his English teacher, (along with all his other classmates), to write a short story of their own choosing, as an introductory stage in order to be assessed on their general language skills for the class.

    The pupil in question accidentally watched 'The Lawnmower Man' for the first time only days before, and thought it was so great and practically unheard of within his generation, he decided to base his "original" assignment story upon this film, which of course had very little relevance itself to the original Stephen King brief work of literature.

    Once the project was submitted for evaluation, the teacher, who stubbornly owned a Nokia 3310, a 14" portable TV, and grew up in a generation of scraped knees and weekend World War II re-enactments, thought to himself that it was a reasonably clever concept, but only gave the student a C+, in order to discourage him that the story was of any greatness. However, the teacher had other devious plans, and decided to just correct any minor spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, then submit the story to Hollywood in the hope of making a fast buck.

    The story was eventually accepted, the teacher was given a princely sum of coinage, bought himself a Nokia 5510 and 21" Pensonic, and during the four years in which this full process took to make it onto the big screen, the student had since forgotten all about his crap re-telling of a crap re-telling, and was now happily playing bass in a garage band, and pursuing girls who looked old enough to buy him alcohol. He had also recently watched 'The Lawnmower Man' again and wondered to himself what the hell he was thinking when he thought it was any good in the first place, and then lit another herbal doob."

    This, in my opinion, is how this film came to see the light of day. It's honestly the worst thing I've subjected myself to since 'After Earth'. The story, script, dialogue, delivery, and acting are all completely abysmal. Not one single character was likable or even rational, just like kids are when going through puberty. I don't care who's in it, it's absolute shite to the power of twelvty. Even the special effects weren't up to much, and it looked like the majority could have been done using Adobe After Effects CS4 plug-ins.

    Now all I have to worry about now, is for someone stealing my review story of how this film came about, and then making that into yet another sketchy movie for the masses. Seriously though, I weep for the future if this is the kinda crud we have to look forward to in later years. I need to go and watch 'Maximum Overdrive' now for a gradual and regressive mental flushing.

    Like many films of this era, it tries to be clever, but fails miserably. In a word, "Atrocious".
  • matrixbjj16 July 2014
    I really wanted to like this film, and for the first half hour or so I was able to suspend disbelief and ignore the more gaping plot holes. But as the time wore on, and main characters continued to make painfully illogical decisions to drive the story forward, I had to admit defeat.

    Sadly, the film touches on interesting ideas, and leaves one with the feeling that with a slightly more intelligent script, and a little more bravery in tackling uncomfortable issues, it could have been grand, thought-provoking science fiction. Instead, we have a sloppy irritating mess of a film.

    One star for beautiful cinematography, and another for raising issues that a better film could have sunk its teeth into.
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