I was asked the other day if I ever do any negative reviews on my blog. As of yet, I have only have one or two. And, today, unfortunately, I care to make it three or four. When I first saw the trailer for Transcendence, I remember just thinking to myself ‘…what is that even about?’. Though it shows, somewhat, a lot of promise, I have to say that I personally strongly disagree after having seen the whole 2 hours of it.
The problem with this film for me is that it felt like they were trying to shove too many morals and messages down my throat the entire time. The concept of the film is actually an incredibly intelligent one – incorporating the human conscious and a full range of human emotions into AI. That’s what it is basically about. That and the tragedy of a woman’s undying love for her husband as he passes away from radiation poisoning after being shot. Oh, and the fact that all this technology will ruin mankind, represented by a group of radicals that perform a series of attacks in labs over the country. And how can I forget that eventually, the movie is about how nature is the way forward and not technology perhaps. Do you understand where I’m getting at here? Though all of these ideas do, in theory, go hand in hand with one another, I felt like put into practice, it is far too busy to comprehend in one movie, and comes off a little preachy.
Though the shoving of messages down one’s throats can be somewhat excused, poor acting and an illogical plot can be less excused.
I haven’t seen Rebecca Hall in anything else other than The Town and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, both so forgettable that I had failed to remember that I watched them, so I can’t say that I went into the cinema with any kinda of expectation. But, boy, did I come out with some opinions on her acting. I can’t decide if it was just how her character was supposed to be portrayed, but everything about Evelyn Caster was so unconvincing. I actually laughed out loud in the cinema at a line where she is supposed to have felt violated by her now completely computerised and pixelised husband, who now has the ability to read her emotions and hormones, in which she just ‘exclaims’ ‘you can’t do that – you’re not allowed!’ and proceeds to walk off. ‘You’re not allowed!’? Either this is unimaginative script writing or she is supposed to sound vulnerable but I just found that particular line absolutely hilarious. In general, she is either completely emotionless and boring, or she over-reacts in the wrong situations.
I really am starting to loose faith in Johnny Depp. The past films that he has chosen to star in have mostly been a small portion of awful, and Transcendence just adds to that. It’s sad, because I don’t want to see Johnny Depp become another Robert De Niro, where everyone just kinda sighs when they see him in a new movie. To me, Depp just seemed to be an actor to carry the film through an economic success – with his face plastered on every surface where ever I go, it’s clear to see the choice the film makers made when they decided to cast Depp. It’s at this point that I realise that as a movie distributed by Warner Bros. there was perhaps more attention paid to getting this thing in people’s minds (funny, considering its subject matter), that they will just have to see it, as opposed to actually focusing on refining the story and making this the success it could have so easily have been.
In fact, it was perhaps the cast that did manage to let this film down. With an incredibly rich cast, including Morgan freaking Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Paul Bettany (who I had completely forgotten excisted since Wimbledon) and Kate Mara, you’d think that they had all made incredibly informed decisions as to why they decided to star in this film. But in the end, it just all kinda amounts to really not that much.
In terms of the story, there are just parts in with it seems illogical. I admit that this might just my personal reaction, as I find it quite hard to suspend my belief for these kinds of movies where its set in the future so that I can’t properly fathom it. It gets to the point where the AI that Will Caster’s mind combined with and breakthrough research in nano-science are able to create human body parts in a matter of minutes. Also, these un-explained electronic particles are able to float in the air and repair shit wherever it goes and ‘infect’ rain water. I dunno, its complex, but not in a way that seems intelligent. An aspect of the story that particularly bothered me is that Evelyn is somehow able to build a super lab/computer underground a nearly deserted town in two years with a guy who only has six workers. Though I will shamefully admit that I found myself dosing off at this part so it’s incredibly likely that I missed a vital piece of information.
I realise that this particular entry sounds a little ranty but I kinda wanted this film to prove me wrong in terms of my initial reaction to the trailer, but it just confirmed all my thoughts, whole-heartedly.
I would perhaps recommend this film to a broad mainstream audience as it is quite a cool concept and different to a lot of films out there, but I think that if you are a cinephile of any kind, you may want to avoid this film. There are many other sci-fi fantasy films that will feed your brain better then this pile of codswollop.
If you have a film that you would like me to review, then feel free to leave a comment and I will try to get to it! All opinions and discussions welcomed.