Transcendence (2014)

Review by CJ

Wally Pfister

Rebecca Hall, Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara

Other notable appearances:
Josh Stewart, Clifton Collins Jr

Running time:
119 minutes

Watch this if you liked:
Lucy, Source Code, Avengers: Age of Ultron


Doctors Will (Depp) and Evelyn (Hall) Caster and their teams are on the cutting edge of creating artificial intelligence when a luddite terrorism cell irreversibly poisons Will. Using their research, Evelyn manages to save Will’s consciousness and give him a second life. The only question is: Can a computer have a conscience?

Transcendence has a talented cast, an interesting idea and good effects but there is something missing in the overall execution that leaves it feeling hollow. Suspense. The opening sequence alludes to the ending so strongly that it may as well play backwards.

As far as science fiction goes, Transcendence is an interesting look into what the future may hold for artificial intelligence. Transcendence isn’t dull but does feel quite long in places and never seems to blow the viewer away. Everything about the film feels average. Not bad, not fantastic — just average.

Rebecca Hall does a good job of portraying the grieving widow who will stop at nothing to get some part of her husband back. Johnny Depp does a good job of portraying said husband. Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman and Kate Mara all do a good job of supporting or antagonising them. But much like the rest of the film, good does not mean great.

Overall Transcendence goes through the motions well without really excel at anything. It’s worth a watch if you like science fiction films and have a couple of hours but I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend it.


“So you want to create a god? Your own god?”
“That’s a very good question. Isn’t that what man has always done?”

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