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Transcendence

Transcendence

Genders: Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery

Director: Wally Pfister

Writer: Jack Paglen

Actors: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy

Year: 2014
Run time: 119min
IMDB score: 6.4
Updated: one year ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: Transcendence

Genders: Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery

Imdb Score: 6.4

Runtime: 119min

Released: 18 Apr 2014

Director: Wally Pfister

Writer: Jack Paglen

Actors: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy

Box Office: $23.0M

Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

OfficialWebsite

Imdb Link

Transcendence Available Subtitles

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Trailer


Review

The Line Between Humanity & Evolving into something More.

8/10 This film will most likely split down the middle because of it's religious tones of God and evolution. Some people will love it and some will hate it because it might go against their belief system.

For movie purposes, it has great acting, great story (though some may feel it's a little too far fetched, which I personally don't think is too far fetched when you see what the world was like 10 years ago before the mainstream web), and pretty good action scenes.

At the heart, it's a story about a woman, Evelyn, who loves her husband, Will, so much she tries to hold onto him by helping him save his consciousness. She begins to wrestle with whether this being is really Will or is something new. It's also about evolution and the line between humanity and evolving into something more. This movie might be a turn off for religious people but it does make you think of what humanity could become whether you're religious or not.

Overall, it's a great movie that's enjoyable, thought provoking, challenges some beliefs, and foreshadows some future realities we will all have to soon deal with.

I would say go see it!

one year ago

Exceptionally good at many things, superb at nothing

6/10 Critics and wannabe critics alike really lashed into this one. And I guess I have them to thank for me liking (not loving) this movie, as they lowered my standards significantly before I walked into the theater. Like them, my expectations were sky-high. I figured since Wally Pfister has been Christopher Nolan's cinematographer since 2000's Memento, maybe some sort of slow-release genius-osmosis had taken place, and Transcendence would be a stellar thriller/head- scratcher like we've come to expect from Nolan. Well, the cold hard fact is that it's not. But it sure isn't terrible.

As scientists are on the verge of a new breakthrough in A.I. technology, a rouge terrorist group known as RIFT begins knocking off labs around the country. One of their antics is the assassination, by radioactive poisoning, of scientist Dr. Will Caster. As his body slowly deteriorates, his wife and his partner work frantically work on a way to upload his mind to a computer, thus allowing him to continue his research. And as anyone could've guessed, the plan goes completely to hell.

Transcendence is not excellent, but it's also not the travesty that reviews from people more reputable than me are calling it. The main problem is the script. An excellent script can make you buy into even the most ridiculous of plots, but first-time-writer Jack Paglen's script never finds a constant tone, is unevenly paced, has underdeveloped side plots, and keeps you at arm's length from any connection with the characters and the story. In other words, it doesn't raise up any concerns or ideas we haven't already seen, and the shallowness of the script gives you plenty of time to question the incongruence of the story.

Other than that, Transcendence is pretty good. Pfister's direction is expedient, and he avoids the jumpy camera syndrome that typically plagues these kinds of movies. In fact I was even getting trappings of Chris Nolan's directing style at times (is it just me?). The ensemble performance from the cast is solid. The cast list may look like Nolan's leftovers, but they do an excellent job, and they make better use of the paltry script than I thought possible. Even though Pfister was behind the camera and not the cinematographer, you think he was going to let his baby look mundane? While not as gorgeous as, say Inception, Jess Hall hits it home and makes Transcendence look properly futuristic while still squeezing in some contrasting elements of nature in almost every frame.

Does 6 stars seem too high? I don't think so. In my mind, 10=revolutionary, 9=excellent, 8=very good, 7=pretty good and 6=jusk OK. An airtight script that rises up to the challenge was all that was needed to make Transcendence truly, um, transcendent. But it doesn't, and the lackluster script affects every other technical aspect of this film like a virus, and makes Transcendence a pretty- to-look-at popcorn movie. I know this is Wally Pfister's first time in the director's chair, but I still feel he was capable of making a film more nuanced than this.

one year ago

Horrible

1/10 Transcendence had so much potential. Johnny Depp. Morgan Freeman. Big budget sci-fi thriller commenting on the evolutionary struggle between man and machine. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything, apparently.

There is no way that a scientist (Paul Bettany), who's been off the grid in a cave somewhere for two years, could write a virus that would outsmart a self-aware supercomputer (Johnny Depp) so advanced over the same time period that it can literally build a human copy of itself from the sands of the earth. No way.

Even if the original source code was written by said cave scientist, the movie establishes that the supercomputer has been re-writing its code ever since it became self-aware. Paul's character wasn't even as smart as the human Johnny Depp, and we're expected to believe that Paul can outsmart Johnny as a supercomputer with unlimited resources? Sigh.

And to the subject of national defense. A lone FBI agent, who's not even a high ranking official, makes the decision to side with a known terrorist group to shut down all networks and electricity on the planet? Seriously? The United States government, or any other world government, would sooner take out the terrorist cell (and the FBI agent) and negotiate with the supercomputer before allowing all hospitals, communication, commerce, defense and refrigeration to shut down in a moment's notice.

And even if we take the premise that the supercomputer committed suicide to save the life of the scientist who wrote the virus, why would he do that? He could have easily saved the scientist, his wife (Rebecca Hall)and everyone else, by just taking the gun from the terrorist holding the scientist hostage. He can sprout nanotechnology from the ground (which is how he took everybody else's gun). Double sigh.

I was very disappointed, again because this movie had so much potential. Instead of being awesome, it's just another classic example of poor script writing and relying on big names and special effects to do the job. What's worse, the makers of this film should have known better.

Shame.

Normally, I'd give this movie a 4/10. However, for its audacity to advertise brilliance and be anything but, it gets a 1.

one year ago

Intriguing storyline which goes to the heart of human existence

8/10 Truly the questions this film asks leave me wondering. So let's start with the film itself, as a scifi thriller, it's beautifully executed with some stunning visuals, to the extent that sometimes it has the feel of a travel advertisement. The story hangs together well, with strong central performances which keep you engaged. Some of the ethics are quite complex, and you have to ask if the machine's intent is really hostile, or is that just the interpretation characters are putting on it because they don't understand. And we fear what we do not understand. The intent here is clearly to tell a story in such a way that you walk away thinking about it. Job done. I came away thoroughly entertained, and thinking more about singularity and transcendence than I have in quite a while. If you are after a Saturday afternoon blockbuster with a lot of action, this might not be the film for you, but if you prefer your action with a little more intrigue, this is a great film.

one year ago

This seems like wasted potential

5/10 Transcendence, much like most of the latest sci-fi themed films to hit cinemas, is a wasted effort. It exhibits signature Pfister cinematography that we've come to love over the past decade. With Nolan's Batman trilogy and Inception, it was only a matter of time for Wally Pfister to take a stab at directing. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems well done in this film is the cinematography. The story, while seeming fresh and exciting on paper, devolves into a half baked idea with mediocre acting. Johnny Depp does the best he can while only being a mere voice during the latter half of the film. The rest of the cast seems wasted, this is especially true because we know how great Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman and Rebecca Hall can be. Wally Pfister focuses more on capturing really fantastic shots but seems never truly devoted to the actual story. This comes as a major disappointment especially because of the hype that this film has been generating over the last year. When it boils down to it, Transcendence is just another exercise in style over substance, never matriculating to anything more than an average sci-fi thriller that has a criminally underused cast and phenomenal camera-work.

one year ago