He Said, She Said at the Movies: Transcendence Review - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

He Said, She Said at the Movies: Transcendence Review

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“Transcendence” is one of the most boring, incompetent, implausible, heavy-handed, lazy, condescending, and simply terrible movies I’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing in a theater. I’m ready to give up on Johnny Depp. The man is talented for sure, but his career choices over the past decade have been uninspiring and predictable. I don’t want to see another Pirates movie, another Alice in Wonderland debacle. I just want to see Depp play a normal, everyday human being and act in a movie with a script of above average caliber. Is that too much to ask? He comes close to being somewhat normal here, before he’s completely transformed into an artificial intelligence computer connected to every computer/internet network in the world, making him more powerful than any living thing on this earth.

The plot is beyond preposterous. I’ve seen much better and more creative science fiction plot points on TV Shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation. And despite the fact that the Patrick Stewart-led show went off the air in 1994, the episodes felt less dated and recycled than the themes and “wisdom” this movie tries to carry. It spends 2 hours attempting to stay one step ahead of its audience and to show people how much smarter the screenwriter is. That’s a great idea, if you’re looking to alienate the audience. Every single character in “Transcendence” is one-dimensional, meaning the audience is never forced to build a strong connection with any of them. Morgan Freeman looks bored, pondering when he can cash his paycheck instead of the dialogue (it’s a stretch to call it that) that his co-actors are delivering right in front of him.

Oh, and speaking of Morgan Freeman’s character. Two major flaws: when Depp’s character is shot and killed with a radiation-laced bullet, a narration from Freeman plays, relaying how sorry he is for the loss of his friend and how much Rebecca Hall’s character (she plays Depp’s wife) meant to him. The only problem is Freeman is on-screen consoling her in-person as they dump his ashes into a body of water. Also, in an operation to stop Depp’s artificial intelligence network from taking over the world, the president is never called, and the government barely consulted. It’s an underground group of anti-technology extremists called in to stop him. And apparently, Freeman, even though he plays a scientist with seemingly no military background, is calling the shots on the battlefield. Kate Mara (House of Cards) shows up for a few scenes. This is the type of movie that tries to build her back story by giving her albino colored hair. Because somehow if she has weird hair, I should be able to develop my own back story for her character. This is the kind of movie we are talking about here. It wants to dazzle you with beautiful effects and predictions about the future, but last time I checked people have a pulse and thoughts of their own. The screenwriter should have written a few more people into the story that emulate the basic necessities that make us Homo sapiens.

At one point in the movie, Morgan Freeman’s character (I don’t remember many of their names in the movie) hands a note to Rebecca Hall that reads “Run Away From this Place.” They should print that on everyone’s ticket. SKIP IT.



For me, Transcendence takes a very long time to not get very far.  There are all of these things that aren't explained, and to me-- they're pretty important factors to the story.  It's seems like it's set sometime in the very near future, all of the cars are similar and the world seems similar to what we're living in now-- but it's never explained how everything that happens in the movie is actually possible.

Transcendence reminds me of another very popular that has recently come out, "Her." The premises are similar, intelligent artificial intelligence.  These computers act and feel and are supposed to basically be humans in a computer form. This movie, however, puts itself out there as a high tech horror story.  I just don't think that it's scary in the way it wants to be. It takes itself way too seriously, and for me-- just didn't work. I would say skip this one all together.

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