REVIEW — “Transcendence”
The best way to describe the new film “Transcendence” is two hours of mediocrity. It is only OK to the fullest extent of the word. From the OK writing to the OK acting there was nothing that standout about the directorial debut of Wally Pfister, the legendary cinematographer behind most of Christopher Nolan’s flicks.
To start things off we have an exceptional cast led by Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman and Paul Bettany. With a strong supporting cast, including Cole Hauser, Kate Mara and Clifton Collins Jr. you’d think there’d be a decent part for everyone, but unfortunately that is not the case. Depp and Hall are the only ones with anything important to do, and the rest are written in such a way that if you removed them entirely…they wouldn’t be missed. Add to this that Depp has been off his game lately (he pretty much plays Jack Sparrow as a scientist in the beginning), and you have an ensemble cast with only one solid performance. If you had recast Depp’s character with ANYONE else it would have been just as convincing.
If the cast can’t carry things then we have to rely on the story, right? Unfortunately that’s another issue as some weak writing has lead to a science fiction feature that contradicts itself in many ways. In the beginning they tell you something they are doing will actually fix people by bringing back to life dead cells and such, but then after some events happen (trying not to spoil things) those people go back to being broken again FOR NO REASON. The reason they want you to think these people go back to being broken is NOT what they said initially, and plot holes like this really upset me. There are other issues with the writing, especially moments where the story relies on conveniently timed events to progress, and as a whole this ends up being nothing special.
I will give them credit with the special effects, and some of the ideas they came up with. I REALLY dig the idea of nanites and nanobtyes (other little robot things) being able to clean large bodies of water instantly, and repair broken bones instantly. How they portrayed this visually, to me, is the only way it would make sense, and they did it well. Visually, however, the look of “Transcendence” is nothing to write home about, which is extremely surprising since this is coming from an award winning cinematographer.
As a whole this is the kind of thing that some will think is a complete waste of time, and others will say it isn’t that bad. Either way it makes it something not worthwhile (why watch something that is just ‘not that bad?’). The poor direction and writing lead to an incredible cast being underused and misused, and a potentially incredible premise being left shallow and pointless. Too many plot holes and conveniences for me, and the fact that this is possibly the most boring thing I’ve seen since “Margin Call” will keep me from ever seeing it again. 2.5/5