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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Movie Review: Transcendence


 Watching a loved one die, would you take a chance to save them, even if you weren't sure it would work? In April 2014, Evelyn just wanted to save her husband's life. Problem is, no one knows if it worked or not.

Directing this 119 minute drama/mystery/sci-fi/thriller is Wally Pfister.

Transcending this film is: Johnny Depp as Will Caster, Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster, Paul Bettany as Max Waters, Kate Mara as Bree, Morgan Freeman as Joseph Tagger, Clifton Collins Jr. as Martin and Cole Hauser as Colonel Stevens.

Scientist, Will Caster, is a well known researcher in the field of artificial intelligence. He wants to create a sentient computer, something with a collective intelligence and human emotion. This work has gained him the attention of the scientific world, and some individuals that don't agree with what Will is doing. As Will works
to get closer to his goal, an anti-technology group wants to stop him and they'll do anything to do it. After a planned attack from the anti-tech group Will is injured bad and there's nothing anyone can do to heal him. All Will has left is to watch the clock count down with the time he has left. That's when Will's wife, Evelyn, decides to risk it and take the jump they've been working on. Wanting to save Will's life she uploads Will's consciousness into their computer. Now online, Evelyn asks an important question... Will, is that you?

I was looking foreword to this one. Then again, I'm always up for a good old cinematic debate about man and machine becoming one. Is it possible, should it be done, are we playing God, is it really the same person inside? I dig stuff like this so I was ready to watch the movie.

The story that writer Jack Paglen came up with was definitely intriguing and had a lot of imaginative possibilities. Unfortunately, the story never really reaches any good level of depth to be anything more than a cool looking sci-fi flick. Yeah, we bat back and fourth the rights and wrongs of joining man and machine. Yeah, there is turmoil and drama over the decisions made from both sides of the argument. Yeah, I started to get bored the longer this show went on... Everyone has an argument, but by the time the script is finished the arguments seems more like complaints instead of well written debates. Also, the story gets a little weird in places, which yeah it's a sci-fi so it should right? I mean more like they couldn't decide on which way to go with the movie at times, kind of weird. Then poof! back on track we go. I guess I shouldn't knock on Paglen too much, as a writer this is the biggest film under his belt right now. It's just that I was expecting more of a thinker here, something that would expand the mind and make me question my stance on where I stood with the argument. Then again, maybe that's too much to expect from a film, or is it?
                                                     

                                                             
As far as the cast goes, this flick is made up of so many great faces and everyone does an amazing job. If you're a Depp fan, then you will have your eye candy filling the screen while he's acting skills make him glide across the cinematic room, entrancing all that see him. Actually not really, this wasn't the best performance I've seen from Depp. He just didn't seem like he was into the role, or maybe that was the way he decided to take the character. In which case, hmm... ok? I'm the main star so lets do a lifeless flat individual, and that was before he was put into the machine. He actually showed more life after the transcendence. Wait was that a hint from the writer? If we join with machine we will enjoy life more. Food for thought I guess.  Either or, the rest of the cast was cool but no one stood out. Well Freeman did, but that's cause he's freaking cool!

With a budget of a 100 million I can kind of tell where the money went to. First chunk went to grab a great cast, which is always a good idea. Second was to the special effects teams that created amazing visuals that make the film stand out, also a good idea. Not always necessary, but I can't say it hurts any. Then, of course, you have so many people behind the magic curtain that helps make a movie, they need to get paid also, otherwise... no movie. I believe everyone should get paid! I also believe you should throw a few more bucks in a script before you throw it to print. But what do I know.

Overall, I did like the film even though it wasn't what I was hoping for, but as is life right? It's still something that Depp fans will get a kick out of and sci-fi fans will enjoy breaking down and slowly combing through to debate the science of it all. I would however advise saving your money and catching it later.

It's rated PG - 13 for violence and language.

It didn't quite transcend to the level I was expecting but I'll still go 3 stars.



2 comments:

  1. You saved my day. After all the negative critics and now I read your review, it's still up on my "to see" list again :)

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    1. Good deal! Yeah I it has gotten a lot of negative shots but I think it's still worth catching.

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