Summary: A terminally ill scientist downloads his mind into a computer. This grants him power beyond his wildest dreams, and soon he becomes unstoppable.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th April, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: UK, China, USA
Director: Wally Pfister
Screenwriter: Jack Paglen
Cast: Johnny Bautista (Scott), Xander Berkeley (Dr Thomas Casey), Paul Bettany (Max Waters), Fernando Chien (Heng), Clifton Collins Jnr. (Martin), Johnny Depp (Dr. Will Caster), Morgan Freeman (Joseph Tagger), Lukas Haas (James Thomas), Rebecca Hall (Evelyn Caster), Corey Hardrict (Joel Edmund), Cole Hauser (Colonel Stevens), Falk Hentschel (Bob), Wallace Langham (Dr. Strauss), Steven Liu (Chiu), Kate Mara (Bree), Cillian Murphy (Agent Buchanan), Akshay Patel (James), Luce Rains (Roger), Josh Stewart (Paul)
Runtime: 119 mins
OUR TRANSCENDENCE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s Transcendence review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #77
Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Transcendence review on www.filmreviews.net.au
Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Transcendence review on Southern FM
Transendence is one of those films that a first time director can only dream about being at the helm at for their debut. Just think about it, it’s an intriguing very modern story and then you find out that the likes of Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman and Paul Bettany are queuing up for roles. It is no secret that the true cinemaphiles have been waiting for the day that cinematographer Wally Pfister steps up to the director’s seat. After all this is a man who has worked on some of the most iconic films of the modern age – films like Memento, Insomnia, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy. Pfister has more than done his time as the ‘apprentice’ and when his mentor Christopher Nolan decided to pass on the Transendence project he was the perfect man for the job, but sadly he is let down by a script that never really gave this film a fighting chance.
The film takes it audience deep into the world of artificial intelligence by following Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp – Lucky Them, The Lone Ranger), his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall – A Promise, Closed Circuit) and his co-worker Max Waters (Paul Bettany – Iron Man 3, Blood). The together the three of them have been taking the science world by storm as they come closer to closer in bridging the gap between computers and humans.
While there work has impressed rivals such as Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman – The Lego Movie, Last Vegas) it has also warranted the attention of a renegade group of vigilantes, which includes Bree (Kate Mara – Deadfall, TV’S House Of Cards), who believe that science is going too far. The result is that one of these group members guns down Will with a radioactive bullet. Evelyn and Max then work hard to bring Will online before he dies while Agent Buchanan (Cillian Murphy – Aloft, The Dark Knight Rises) tries to hunt down those responsible.
The second half of the film that takes a completely different tack. With Will online and working with Evelyn, Max has now teamed up with the vigilantes and believes the work is evil and needs to be stopped. Together with Agent Buchanan and Joseph Tagger they all work at a way to stop Will from taking over the world.
If that synopsis sounds ridiculous then it goes part of the way of explaining just how hard it is to watch Transcendence. The film starts well enough but by the time the lone gunman guns down Will with a radioactive bullet rather than just simply killing him you begin to realise that this is a film that jumps the shark at every possible chance.
At a glance Jack Paglen’s screenplay seems intelligent but after giving the film much thought you soon begin to realise that the plot makes no sense at all and that he has simply tried to use techno babble throughout, that actually makes no sense. Honestly at times it does seem like the actors have no idea what they are reading at all.
Then there is the plausibility of what actually happens. Nothing ever seems to be fully explained, not even simple things such as Max’s defection to ‘the other side.’ One moment he is kidnapped and the next moment he is working with the group, what was it that he was shown that made him change his mind, or was it just simply a case of Stockholm Syndrome… we don’t know because we are never told. Paglen can’t even work out whether he is for or against such technology at all, this is evident by the fact that the film just seems to skirt around the edges and never make a serious stance either way.
Even the top notch cast here cannot save Transcendence. Johnny Depp once again shows that when he is away from his Pirates Of The Caribbean his lack of acting ability is evident for all to see while the likes of Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman are simply wasted in their roles. In fact you can only wonder why the three of them even decided to sign on for the film in the first place. The only cast member who does get a chance to show anything at all is Rebecca Hall, but then even she isn’t really a standout.
Transcendence will go down as one of the biggest cinema failures of 2014, and rightfully so. The wishy-washy script makes for a dull watch that even seemed to bore its cast.
Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Transcendence′: Please check our full Transcendence review that aired on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #77