Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany
Directed by: Wally Pfister
Written By: Jack Paglen
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 59min
Transcendence in my estimation tries to be several things. A cautionary tale about the pervasive use of technology in our daily lives. A statement on humanity’s inability to adapt and its often violent reaction to change, and a love story. In the final analysis, this film is only partially successful at telling a love story and nothing more.
It is a shame this didn’t work out, as some of the concepts thrown into Transcendence are actually quite intriguing. The idea alone that one day it might be possible to upload your consciousness into a computer system, should have supplied this story with plenty to explore. Sadly these concepts are not properly developed, and some parts of this movie are going to seem absurd to anyone with even the slightest understanding of technology today.
A nicely developed and acted love story starts the film off well, and provided for me at least a understandable motivation for the incredible things these characters do. Wouldn’t you do everything in your power to save a loved one?
What didn’t work at all was the concept and execution of the supposed terrorist group called R. I. F. T. (Revolutionary Independence From Technology). It seems we’re supposed to support these people, and root for their cause? Not likely! Not when they campaign for freedom from technology, and clearly need to use technology to get the job done. Not when they feel its necessary to kill innocent people in order to accomplish their goals. How can you root for that?
But that lack of development is the movie’s main failing, and the ideas presented in this story are not thoroughly designed. The film looks and sounds great, but it ends up being a lot of flashy nonsense that can’t hide a muddled illogical story.
If you can give the techno-babble a pass, you might find some of the ideas presented in Transcendence interesting.
Best viewing format:
This is a very visually striking film, so a large screen viewing is recommended. A matinée showing will work if you can’t wait for the HD rental.
The love story between Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall) is the only element in Transcendence that worked for me.