Movies

Transcendence

STARRING: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany

DIRECTOR: Wally Pfister

THE SKINNY: Scientist Will Caster (Depp) uploads his consciousness into a computer after he’s dealt a lethal gunshot wound by an anti-science terrorist. The nanobots he releases into the world give him incredible powers, and his old friends worry that he’s gone bonkers. The only one who stands beside him is his wife Evelyn (Hall).

RATING: PG

THE CONSENSUS: Unless you’re a super Depp fan or keen in all things A.I., this won’t transcend the land of the yawns.


MARS

It's so painful to watch a movie that you want to be great but ends up being mediocre.

Transcendence has so much potential - a great star in Depp, a fun premise and some other stuff, I suppose - but it's been executed with absolutely no verve.

Its sin is sloth.

That also happens to be my sin, but I expect better of people who are so much wealthier and more talented than me.

To say that Depp sleepwalks through the film would be an understatement - he doesn't even bother to walk much.

He mostly just stands there with a dazed look on his face, mumbling about science.

For an actor, there is a fine line between subtlety and just not bothering to do your job, and Depp is on the wrong side of that line.

His romance with Hall is 100 per cent chemistry-free.

While she emotes like crazy, he gives her nothing.

He actually makes her look silly, poor girl.

I guess Depp thought that since he's playing a computer, he should be flat.

Thing is, remember 2001: A Space Odyssey? Hal wasn't flat. Hal was fascinating.

Transcendence is a bore, which is probably the worst thing a movie can be.

Wake up, Johnny!

You're old, not dead!

Rating: 2/5


VENUS

This is a cliche, but truly, how the mighty have fallen.

What has happened to Depp?

I actually looked forward to seeing him act as a "normal" person for once.

Sure, the plot isn't exactly "normal" but at least he's not some over-the-top character.

Has being a pirate or a vampire or a Native American magic man zapped all his ability to do anything good without the aid of eyeliner?

Because Depp is disappointingly bland here.

Toby Jones as scientist Dr Arnim Zola does a far better job as one who's uploaded into a computer in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Even Scarlett Johansson had more emotion and spunk as a talking operating system in Her.

Transcendence is cinematographer Pfister's debut as director.

He uses his experience as director of photographer for most of Christopher Nolan's films well here, as Transcendence is lovely to look at and has the sci-fi vibe down pat.

But, sadly, his inexperience with actors is his downfall.

Even Nolan's alumni like Hall, Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy can't save this long and tedious exploration of the capabilities of the human mind.

Rating: 2/5