Movie Review: Transcendence

Transcendence2014PosterAfter the novelty wears off of actually seeing Johnny Depp not pancaked in makeup and sporting an outrageous accent, it is disappointing to see that he’s one of the weakest links in a series of bad choices in a sci-fi thriller being unceremoniously dumped in a spring release time slot. First-time director Wally Pfister proves not quite up for the job of helming the complex Transcendence (C-) as sequence after sequence unspool with lethargy, lack of inspiration and flat-out loopy logic. Depp’s scientist character battles his own God complex as he uses his artificial intelligence technology to extend his life. As his long-suffering wife, Rebecca Hall isn’t very good either and makes some exasperating unexplained choices. Paul Bettany gets perhaps the only lucid speech in the whole film as the protagonist who may be able to make sense of matters. Overall, it’s just a bit too drab and goofy given the heady themes it contemplates, and the proceedings aren’t helped by dated effects and a leading man who’s hard-wiring his performance in. There are so many other ways this exact same script could have been realized brilliantly by a different cast and crew. As it stands, it’s not romantic enough, exciting enough, eccentric enough or wondrous enough to transcend its likely word of mouth.

I've reviewed films for more than 20 years. Current movie reviews of new theatrical releases and direct-to-video or streaming films are added weekly to the Silver Screen Capture movie news site. Many capsule critiques originally appeared in expanded form in my syndicated Lights Camera Reaction column.

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Posted in 2014

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