REVIEW: Transcendence (2014)

TRANSCENDENCE

 

Transcendence: D-

I don’t know about you, but I love a sci-fi thriller with philosophical undertones. A movie that asks some deep, even terrifying questions about our future as a species. Transcendence asks its share of questions like: What if a sentient machine bent on world domination really illogically liked this one girl? Also: How about Morgan Freeman in a fisherman’s hat? What does that look like? And: How much money did Johnny Depp get paid to talk into a web cam for a whole movie and is he capable of feeling shame?

Doctor Johnny Depp makes a near-self aware AI which becomes fully self-aware once Depp uploads his stupid consciousness into a room full of stupid computer servers to fill in the gaps in the AI’s programming. The AI then manifests as Depp on a screen. Fucking Johnny Depp. 90% of his screen-time in the film is via-webcam as the personified rendering of the sinister AI. You KNOW he wasn’t wearing pants, either.

The AI Johnny Depp tries to take over the world, assimilating a few people, turning them into techno-organic zombies, manipulating humans like pawns and all that. Lots of scenes of stressed out people studying screens full of computer code (Imagine “Ah, ah ah! You didn’t say the magic word!” for 88 minutes). There are plot holes galore and insultingly fake Mummy Returns-esque CGI.

The movie is mechanical and anti-climactic. If this is what the singularity will be like, don’t worry; you’ll be able to sleep through it. It’ll actually make you WANT to watch Evolver.

Talk about devoid of originality. The movie plays out like it was written by an AI that writes movies about AI, but on a really bad day when the writer AI’s ideas about movies about AI just weren’t there. Maybe there was a deadline or the writer AI’s micromanaging boss won’t quit breathing down its neck, so at the last minute, it generated a god-awful shitty algorithm from which this movie was produced.

It’s one of those movies with invincible bad guys that can only be stopped by this one magic MacGuffiny computer virus. So Luke has to shoot one torpedo down this one special shaft in the Death Star. I mean Will Smith has to sneak onto the alien ship and upload a computer virus. I mean… you get the idea.

I’ve played more exciting games of The Oregon Trail. At least then, when someone got dysentery, it was sort of unexpected. During Transcendence, you’ll wish you contracted dysentery instead of a ticket for the film.