“Transcendence” Review


Poster for “Transcendence.” © Warner Bros Pictures

Tyler Danner, Columnist

As a big Johnny Depp fan, I didn’t even have to read the plot line before I decided to go see his new movie “Transcendence” – but that was a mistake. I thought the fact that Johnny Depp was the star actor would be enough to make the movie great, but I was wrong. What I found instead was a movie that was very boring and very hard to understand.

The basic plot consists of Depp’s character (Dr. Will Caster) researching Artificial Intelligence, and being the target of an extremist anti-technology group who wants him to stop his research. As he is walking out of a lecture in which his wife (Evelyn, played by Rebecca Hall) forced him to speak, he is confronted and shot by a member of the anti-technology group by a bullet laced with radioactive material. He ends up developing and then dying from radiation poisoning, which ultimately spurs his wife and her partner (Max Waters, played by Paul Bettany) on a quest for transcendence, or the ability to experience something beyond the typical level. It ends up that Dr. Caster is put into a supercomputer and tries to take over the world by attaining all combined human knowledge.

That was the most simplified version of the plot I could write, and that should really speak toward the complexity of the movie. Something that really bothered me was the cinematography. What seemed to be a throwback to the Romantic movement (transcendentalist, yeah?) actually made for very long, drawn out scenes focusing on things like water dripping off of a flower, or other things of nature that did nothing to move the plot forward.

It was really hard to get past the blatantly unrealistic feel of the entire movie. I was constantly questioning the accuracy of the technology and the likelihood of everything happening the way it was portrayed. This movie is considered Depp’s third “flop” (MTV.com) and was rated one star by RottenTomatoes.com, so I am definitely not alone in my feelings toward this movie. My recommendation? Save your $10 and watch pretty much anything else (you will have spent your time better, I guarantee).