Saturday, April 19 2014, 01:31 PM MDT
Movie Review: Transcendence
3 out of 5 Stars
Director: Wally Pfister
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Recommended To: Depp diehards and those looking for a beautifully shot, but ultimately intellectually shallow sci-fi experience.
Synopsis: As scientists led by rock star scientist Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) move closer to creating an omniscient and sentient machine a group of anti-technology terrorists launch a coordinated attack on labs across the country.
Review: Director Wally Pfister cut his teeth as Christopher Nolan's cinematographer and Transcendence has the polished sheen and promise of heightened intellectual experience that have become the trademark stamp of a Nolan picture. The story itself is a variation on the classic trope of sentient technology run amuck, but whereas other films like The Matrix have used the storyline to explore what it means to be human Jack Paglen's script only skims the surface and never really asks the audience to think. Certainly there were moviegoers who felt that Inception went out of its way to confuse as it challenged them to figure out what exactly was real and what was a dream, but it was the complexity of the story combined with the beautiful cinematography and great acting that made that film a real intellectually charged sci-fi mindbender. Transcendence just doesn't have that second layer. It presents everything too clearly and leaves nothing that could be discovered if you were to see the film a second time. It doesn't challenge you and as a result the spectacular visuals and action sequences feel hollow. Transcendence feels inconsequential and that's a major disappointment.
-Ryan Michael Painter