Review: Transcendence

If you’re planning to watch Transcendence simply to see Johnny Depp as nature intended (no wigs, crazy makeup or prosthetics) you might be disappointed. As Will Caster, a scientist who becomes a ghost in the machine, Depp’s performance, largely portrayed as the equivalent of a Skype call, is about as electrifying as your new iPad mini.

Still, with its somewhat flawed logic and occasionally lagging pace,Transcendence is surprisingly compelling, asking relevant questions about our increasing reliance on technology, as well as what it means to be human. That’s setting aside the bizarre motivations of the rebel unit out to crack down on Caster’s ethically challenging business. Otherwise, it’s a cracker concept. Uploading your consciousness wouldn’t just be sweet for your immortality, according to this it’ll save you a heap of time from having to google the crap out of everything.

Depp’s co-stars Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy and sci-fi’s must-have actor Morgan Freeman add a grounding quality to what soon becomes a pie-in-the-sky plot. Perhaps given the story’s reliance on computer screens and labs there’s not a huge excuse for arresting imagery; for such an esteemed cinematographer as the film’s director Wally Pfister, there’s really only one money shot (without spoiling it, it does involve things flying through the air.) So it’s no Looper or The Matrix. Nor is it an entirely transcendent experience. But it’s a relatively entertaining way to upload your consciousness for 119 minutes.

‘Transcendence’ Movie Times