Movie Review: Transcendence

At this point in Johnny Depp’s career, I believe there is a set of instructions given to the studios concerning the eccentric actors film projects. The directions are simple. Create weird character and insert Johnny Depp with an accent. That has been a recipe for Depp box office duds stateside as of late, including Dark Shadows and last year’s The Lone Ranger. To be quite honest, Depp hasn’t made a great film since the first Pirates of the Caribbean and things have hit an all new low with the futuristic tech thriller Transcendence.

You when you look at Transcendence on paper, it seems like a winner. Long time Christopher Nolan cinematographer Wally Pfister was directing. A plausible Sci-Fi scenario where one’s mind could be uploaded like software, so the conscious of the person could live on. Add Johnny Depp as the dying Dr. Caster who turns into a living computer and you would think you have a hit? Instead you get one of the most boring films of the last decade.

The first hour of Transcendence is devoid of excitement or intrigue. Johnny Depp’s character mostly lays around waiting for death’s embrace after an anti-technology terrorist group leaves him mortally wounded following an attack. Depp’s mumbled lines are incoherent to the point that Jack Sparrow was easier to understand at times. It really is a poor performance on Johnny Depp’s part, considering the amount of recent duds he’s been associated with.

Everything is there for Transcendence to succeed. A global star in Depp, a supporting cast including Morgan Freeman and a story of where we’re are heading as a society concerning artificial intelligence. The problem is first time director Wally Pfister takes entirely too long setting up the story. To make matters worse, when the action does pick up, none of the technological advancements in Transcendence are explained leaving the audience clueless to certain plot points or how much time has passed. I couldn’t imagine a crew of six people being able to build a facility off the grid that would rival a James Bond villain’s secret lair. The only thing that could have saved Transcendence was if the audience was able to hit Control+Alt+Delete on this jumbled mess.

Overall, I give Transcendence 0.5 out of 4 stars.

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