News

REVIEW: Johnny Depp and crew fail at ‘Transcendence’

REVIEW: Johnny Depp and crew fail at ‘Transcendence’

Johnny Depp stars in the sci-fi thriller "Transcendence." Photo: Associated Press/Warner Bros. Pictures, Peter Mountain

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 119 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Wally Pfister | Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman

By: George Wolf

Johnny Depp fans could use a little good news. The genuine talent hasn’t made a film worth watching since 2011’s Rango, and that was a cartoon – and his only half-decent movie since 2007’s Sweeney Todd.

Unfortunately, Transcendence isn’t going to help matters.

Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a very happily married scientist doing research that will make unfathomable breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. And oh what a muddled mess it turns out to be. The movie, I mean. The A.I. turns out to also be Johnny Depp, which beats the hell out of Arnold Schwarzenegger any day.

Making his debut as a feature director is Wally Pfister – Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer. Predictably, the film has an evocative look. Unfortunately, he did not pick up his colleague’s grasp of the intricacies of a heady fantasy.

Jack Paglen‘s screenplay offers a cautionary tale about our blind acceptance of the invasion of technology. Unless it’s warning us about pollution. Our personal isolation? Lack of privacy? All of the above, often while undermining its own other arguments? Bingo.

Basically, Paglen bites off more than he or his cast can chew. The film offers sparks of relevance, but it can’t decide what direction to go. It layers its fantastical warnings around a love story, and at least for that it relies on the natural talent of its leads, Depp, Rebecca Hall, and Paul Bettany as their colleague and friend.

Their work draws whatever attention the film manages to pique. Unfortunately, it’s not enough, particularly since their tale is saddled with a dopey ending that defies even the film’s own nonsensical internal logic.

But at least it’s not Lone Ranger.

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Latest Headlines

in Entertainment

This weekend in entertainment history

beatles

A look back on some of Hollywood's most memorable moments.

in Music

This week’s top alternative tracks

u2

LISTEN: This week's top alt tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Entertainment

TLC cancels ‘Honey Boo Boo’

honeybooboo

The hit reality TV show is off the air after allegations family matriarch Mama June is dating a convicted sex offender.

in Entertainment

Christian Bale to play Steve Jobs in new biopic

bale

The "Dark Knight" star will portray the late Apple Computer co-founder.

in Entertainment, Viral Videos

Zack Galifianakis interviews Brad Pitt on ‘Between Two Ferns’

twoferns

The comic gets in some good digs at the "Fury" star in this hilariously awkward interview that's crashed by Louis C.K.