Lately it seems that if Johnny Depp isn’t playing a drunk, eccentric or mentally deranged character he’s not worth watching. His latest film Transcendence is no exception.
Depp’s character Dr Will Caster is a computer science genius working on the next level of artificial intelligence when he finds himself suffering an untimely death. Using Depp’s research his wife and friend manage to put his consciousness into a computer thus making the world’s first real self-aware AI. Once Depp manages to get connected to the internet, with the help of his not so clever wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), chaos not surprisingly ensues in all the typical ways one would expect.
While not the most original concept the use of AI as a story focus could have been forgiven if not for the point at which this movie shifts from semi interesting Sci-Fi film to something as ridiculous as The Happening which you might recall had Marky Mark literally running away from killer pollen being carried by the wind.
It’s almost as if mid-way through the writing Jack Paglen ran out of totally plausible ideas, dropped some acid and started entering random words into the script until it was finished.
If you were to take the time to watch Transcendence you would easily pinpoint the exact moment that Paglen just gave up. Notwithstanding Depp’s boring arse performance prior to that point Transcendence could have almost been ok. But when that line between interesting concept and idiocy is crossed there’s no going back and that’s all I can think about now.
Also did I mention that it has Morgan Freeman in it? No? That’s probably because his inclusion does nothing more than change Transcendence from a crap movie into a crap movie with Morgan Freeman in it. Possibly Mr Freeman is part of some actors on call emergency service where a director realizes that his/her project is terrible and the only thing that could possibly save it is Morgan Freeman or Dustin Hoffman. It’s the only logical conclusion as Freeman while always a quality actor added literally nothing to Transcendence other than his own majestic presence.
The primary tag line for Transcendence reads “What if a new intelligence was born?” This is certainly a concept that I would love to see explored in film some more. There’s lots of potential in a topic like this and if given the right writer it could make for some great entertainment but not this time.
Should you see Transcendence? Nope.
Directed by: Wally Pfister
Written by: Jack Paglen
Starring: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall & Morgan Freeman