UNIQUE CONCEPT, VERY STUNNING IN THE VISUAL DEPARTMENT, AND A DECENT PERFORMANCE BY JOHNNY DEPP, BUT IT’S NO INCEPTION!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C+ (2 ½ stars)
WARNER BROS. PICTURES
(From left to right) Rebecca Hall, Johnny Depp, and Morgan Freeman in Transcendence
From executive producer, Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Man of Steel) and Wally Pfister in his directional debut, comes Transcendence, the latest big-budget, sci-fi thriller with complex plot elements, character development, and visual effects. Honestly, while I think the film’s premise is very unique and keeps you guessing until the end, it often gets very confusing and might require a second viewing to understand everything, but Inception this ain’t!
The film stars the always amusing, Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Edward Scissorhands, Dark Shadows) as Dr. Will Caster, a researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, who is working on a sentient machine to combine the intelligence of everything ever known with human emotions. His experiments have made his famous and also a target for anti-technology extremists who will stop at nothing to put an end to his experiments.
In their attempt to wipe Will out of the picture, they become a catalyst for him to become a participant in his own transcendence. However, for his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall-Iron Man 3, Frost/Nixon, The Town) and best friend, Max Waters (Paul Bettany-Iron Man trilogy, The Avengers, Margin Call) who are both researchers and have worked with Will, the real question isn’t if they can, but if they should initiate the experiment to bring Will back.
Their fears and nightmares are realized and Will’s crave for intelligence grows rapidly into a quest for power. The real fear is there may not be a way to stop him.
Overall, for a directional debut, Transcendence is a passable sci-fi thriller, I wouldn’t say on the levels of films like Inception or Memento, but it has some interesting ideas and impressive effects on screen. The acting’s not that bad either, Johnny Depp is entertaining in just about anything he’s in and it’s always nice to listen to the voice of the amazing, Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight trilogy, Oblivion, The Shawshank Redemption) as he portrays, FBI agent, Joseph Tagger.
Despite Nolan, not having a major part in the making of the film, the overall appearance of Transcendence definitely has a spark of his style in there, the effects, story, and twists all scream Christopher Nolan. It probably would have turned out to be a better movie if Nolan directed, even so, the movie’s not terrible and while it has a few flaws, the concept, performance by Depp, and the scope and how the film looks make up for it.
A visually stunning and decent start for Wally Pfister, not a perfect film, far from it, but it’s a fine attempt, let’s hope he fixes up the “Bugs” and directs better movies in the future, that won’t take so long to “Upload” in the audiences’ minds.
So, take it for what it’s worth, and see for yourself, Depp’s “Transcendence”.