Review- Transcendence

I was looking through my iPad today, when I came across a review for the film Transcendence that I wrote back in May that was never published. I have decided to post it here, if I can be forgiven for posting such a delayed review:

Transcendence promises so much. And yet, I don’t know how far into Transcendence I was before I was realised it was completely boring.

I really wanted to like it. The film ‘s trailer suggests that the film is a glossy, thought- provoking thriller about the state of technology. The script made the 2012 Black List of the best unproduced screen plays in Hollywood. It is also the type of film you wish Hollywood would make more of, as it actually has an original plot.

Johnny Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a leading AI researcher who is shot by terrorist organisation who wants to stop technology overtaking mankind. When he discovers he only has weeks to live, his wife and best friend upload his beautiful mind onto the super computer he has constructed- PINN, for Physically Integrated Neural Network. However, things go awry when Caster’s conscious wants to seize power.

Transcendence tries hard. It boasts a stellar cast, with support provided by Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy. It has intriguing ideas and its plot pits man against machine, whilst the cinematography is excellent. The film looks the part of a major sci- fi blockbuster. Unfortunately this runs no deeper than the surface.

Part of the problem the film faces is a lack of focus in the narrative. Things happen, but it is difficult to make sense of them. The film strives to balance it’s high- minded theories with the desire to sell the film commercially. That it doesn’t succeed is not a slight on its direction, which is technically sound. But good direction in this case does not equal a good film.

The film is a struggle to get through at some points and suffers from a lack of likeable characters. It shows a flicker of life at the beginning, but this fizzles out after Caster’s conscious is uploaded.

Transcendence never becomes what it should have been. What could have been a stand out thriller turns into a by- numbers popcorn flick. My advice- don’t waste your time and money, go see something else instead.

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