Sunday, April 20, 2014


I left this movie with very mixed feelings.  On the one hand, as I usually do, I had a good enough time watching it.  It kept me reasonably engaged, even though the plot arc was clear from the start.  Johnny Depp turned in his usual odd performance, but for the most part I bought him as human; he was much better suited to the slightly inhuman, awkward AI that he played for most of the film.  The supporting cast turned in appropriate performances, with Paul Bettany delivering possibly the best character portrayal I've seen from him.  The subject matter is of great interest to me, so I enjoyed seeing other people explore the ethical questions involved. 

Despite all those positives, I can't come right out and say I liked it.  The best I can do is to say I sorta liked it, but I need that qualifier. 

Its biggest weakness may be that it added nothing new to this ongoing public and entertainment-media discussion.  Nothing felt at all new or original to me.  It also seemed to be unable to decide how it felt about the various people and organizations in its story.  Depp turned crazy--maybe--but he was also doing good work.  His wife, Rebecca Hall delivering a solid acting job, was the innocent victim--and also possibly the source of all the trouble.  The terrorists were short-sighted AI-age Luddites who murdered a ton of researchers--and who turned into kinda-sorta good guys working with the government at the end.  The power went out and stayed out all over the world--but everything seemed to be peachy-keen. 

Obviously, Transcendence was yet another of the many movies that you can't think at all hard about, because it cannot bear the scrutiny, but that's most films these days (maybe, probably, most films and works of fiction always).  Yet I did think about it afterward, and I'm thinking about it today, and so perhaps that's enough to make me give it a very qualified recommendation. 

Check it out if you are interested in this area and have the time, but don't go out of your way for it.


Rosanne said...

Thanks for the review of this movie. I have been wondering about it ever since the ads began.

Mark said...

You're most welcome.


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