Sparkly 'Transcendence' has a Dull Finish

Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) getting into his work in
"Transcendence." (Warner Bros.)


The trailers for the latest Johnny Depp film, Transcendence, look very intriguing and visually, the film has a lot of neat effects. Story-wise, the movie starts out strong, but somewhere down the road it begins to lose its way. As it goes on, the story’s engine builds more and more and then it just coasts the rest of the way through to very unsatisfying ending.

Described as a “British–Chinese–American science fiction mystery thriller film” Transcendence is about Dr. Will Caster (Depp), an artificial intelligence researcher wanting to make a difference in the world using technology. He and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), also a scientist, are a happy couple. He hates talking in front of people but Evelyn knows that they need him to do a speech at a conference or they will not get the funding for their latest project.

However, the Casters opinions are not well received by some. At the conference, Will is shot by “extremists” who don’t like the idea of robots ruling the world. (What could go wrong?) Though he survives the attack, Will's life is changed forever. With the help of Evelyn and friend Max (Paul Bettany), Caster really gets into his work – literally. The end result is a man wanting to play God and we know how that is never a good idea.
Max (Paul Bettany) and Evelyn Caster (Rebecca Hall)
Morgan Freeman plays Joseph Tagger, a fellow scientist and friend of the Casters who becomes more and more uneasy with the couple’s activities and Max isn't so sure about the couple's dealings either. Kate Mara plays Bree, a leader of the extremists who will do pretty much anything to stop them.

Transcendence tells the love story between the Casters and how grief can lead people to do things that they normally wouldn’t do. The film has all the right ingredients to make a decent movie, but it appears that Director Wally Pfister must have gotten bored with it half way through. The tense story becomes more and more silly making it hard to take the film seriously. Thrillers usually build to an exciting ending, but this one just sort of sputters and in the end you’re left thinking, “this is it?” The film apparently has a message to it, but it’s hard to know what that is exactly. The film should be re-titled to “What Just Happened?”

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