Review: ‘Transcendence’ is one of Depp’s Worst

The film has a great start and a good premise but fails to capitalize on it.

“Transcendence”, as directed by Wally Pfister, is a caution film about the evolution of technology. The film stars Johnny Depp as Will Caster, a tech Genius who is developing an Artificial Intelligence. An anti-tech terrorist group poisons him and Will’s wife Evelyn, played by Rebecca Hall, uploads his mind into the A.I. they were creating. After he is uploaded he begins to expand and grow as an A.I. and begins changing everything.

The film has a great start and a good premise but the film loses its pace and slows down for the later half of the movie. The later half is slow and boring as the plot is too predictable and the characters are boring to watch. The romance between Will and Evelyn works as a married couple but they have little to no chemistry on screen. The side characters are either generic or not given much screen-time.

Johnny Depp as Will is boring and lifeless before he becomes an A.I. He gives barely any emotion but as an anti social genius it holds up but in a movie it does not work. When he is an A.I. his performance doesn’t change but works out better since he is now a machine. Rebecca Hall plays her role well enough but like Depp her emotions barely hold. She portrays emotion but after a while she doesn’t hold audiences sympathies. She does all right for the role but her character is not very interesting. The other characters are more interesting.

Johnny Depp in 'Transcendence'
Johnny Depp in ‘Transcendence’

The most interesting character who seems to suffer the dilemma for the majority of the movie is Max who is played by Paul Bettany. Max is the third genius of the crew and is the most interesting since through out the entire film he is debating the moral implications of creating and Artificial Intelligence. The problem with this is that he doesn’t have as much screen time in the second half of the movie and the focus is on Depp and Hall’s Characters. The other cast members include Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy who just play generic and uninteresting characters. There is nothing new to their characters other than just being observers to the chaos in the film.

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The cinematography is very well done. The director is more well know as a cinematographer so that was no surprise. The effects are ok but nothing too impressive. The visuals as a whole were nice to look at. The story was interesting for the first half of the film but gets boring in the later half. The characters were boring and not as well developed. The film is just another cautionary tale about letting technology surpass humanity in intelligence. If you enjoy those stories then go ahead and watch it just be prepared to get bored towards the end.

Russ Homer

Going to college majoring in Film. Written and Directed Short Films on the side.


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