Transcendence is like watching a baseball player hit a home run only to get profoundly lost and confused after stepping on second base.
Ripped by critics and the viewing audience across the country, I have discovered a way to find enjoyment from watching Transcendence. Having time to reflect since I was the only one in the theater, a wishful viewer simply needs to be an attorney who does not have a computer on his desk.
Then again, since that analogy probably applies only to me, I may be the one movie fan who liked much of this messy film. Though it has a very interesting beginning, after 30 minutes it tends to drift beyond comprehension.
Johnny Depp continues to lose his charisma, here playing Dr. Will Caster, a scientist hellbent on creating a machine that functions more perfectly than humans. While his principal goal is to find cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer, he dances dangerously close to creating a modern-day God.
Attacked by a gang of terrorists led by Kate Mara, he is shot and mortally wounded. Led by his dedicated spouse and coworker Evelyn, as a last resort Will’s brain is connected to one of his experimental computers.
As most of you know, Will dies and suddenly reappears in his controversial experiment. His wife and friends’ joy quickly dissolve when he mutates in to an existential existence designed to take over the human race.
Though I have noted that it at times holds your interest, the film devolves into a series of confrontations that are borderline absurd. An actor I greatly admire, Cillian Murphy, appears to be clipping coupons playing an FBI agent trying to figure out exactly what Will has planned. His performance is not helped when the government ends up making a preposterous decision to join forces with the terrorists to bring Will down.
Though Paul Bettany plays a devoted friend, Depp soon drives him into the camp of the terrorists. Mr. Bettany has some curse following him on the screen, as he is an interesting actor. All you need to do is see him play opposite Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) or the albino villain in The DaVinci Code (2006) to be reminded of his talents. On the other hand, he has been in a series of borderline films ranging from Creation (2009); Legion (2010); The Tourist (2010) and Priest (2011), and this film only serves to poison his credentials.
The most interesting person in the film is Rebecca Hall, who plays Depp’s troubled spouse. She is an intriguing actress, and she alone holds the film together. As a backup possibility, go see her in last year’s Closed Circuit, where she plays a committed attorney fighting government corruption in Great Britain.
Mr. Depp has taken a lot of criticism lately, particularly since last year’s The Lone Ranger was considered a failure. However, I think he is getting a bit of a raw deal, as I truly liked that movie. Then again, I don’t have a computer on my office desk, so maybe I am hiding the simple fact that I am woefully out of touch with the real world.