[Movie Review] Transcendence

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

The cast brings together some mega talent, oozing the perfect blend of charm and sophistication. I mean, how can you go wrong with Depp and Freeman?

In Johnny Depp’s newest film, Transcendence, he stars as the brilliant but power-hungry Dr. Will Caster. When the world slowly starts to wither away at the hands of technologically obsessed scientists, it’s up to mankind to decide whether artificial intelligence or the human soul is more important. The action-packed drama has an intriguing storyline that keeps you interested the entire time, but the plot holes make it difficult to fully enjoy the movie without asking too many questions.

In the movie, Dr. Will Caster is an artificial intelligence researcher who wants to create a machine that will have computer brilliance with human-like emotions. The real fight begins when anti-technology protesters shut down his research and poison him in the process. To save his life, his wife and best friend upload his mind to a computer, thus creating a new type of “man”.

The movie’s lead actors, Morgan Freeman and Depp, bring the characters to life with their witty remarks and vibrant portrayal. They even manage to outshine the flick’s explosive pyrotechnics and eye candy computer-generated imagery (CGI). Speaking of CGI, the movie is directed by cinematographer-turned-filmmaker Wally Pfister, who does an amazing job of capturing the eeriness that comes with a technologically terrorized town.

My only problem with the film is that, for such a beautifully designed movie, the writing lacks substance. As a viewer, I expect every character’s action (especially those that are particularly evil) to make sense given their personality and backstory. However, Transcendence doesn’t really go deep enough into why exactly half the characters behave the way they do, and often oversimplifies the motivations as anti-technology vs. pro-technology, and loving one person vs. saving humanity.

Despite its small flaws and sometimes abrupt plot shifts, the movie is definitely worth a watch. Besides, Depp really pulls off a “mad” scientist who lets power go to his head. Our final verdict? A-.

Images courtesy of Transcendence Facebook.