'Transcendence' Critics Review Roundup: Johnny Depp Starrer Struggles to Grip

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By Arijita Bhowmik | April 19, 2014 8:44 PM EST

Wally Pfister directorial science -fiction movie "Transcendence" has been released in India. The film starring Johnny Depp deals with the often intrigued Hollywood subject Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Wikimedia
Transcendence poster

The plot revolves around Depp's consciousness which has been uploaded online by his girlfriend and the later developments forms the crux of the story. Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara appear in prominent roles.

The futuristic thriller despite its novel plotline has fared average to below average reviews from critics.

Here's a look at what critics have to say:

Rajeev Masand of IBN Live  (2 Stars) writes:

"Even if one were to overlook the innumerable leaps of logic in the story, "Transcendence" is clunky and lifeless, and is worn down by the weight of its leading man who looks bored out of his skull. Depp seems remote and distant in a part that needed full engagement...Depp's co-star, Rebecca Hall, meanwhile, is pretty good as his grief-stricken wife, but there's no getting around the fact that the two have zero chemistry together. Fine actors like Morgan Freeman (playing Will's mentor) and Cillian Murphy (as an FBI agent) are entirely wasted and Bettany vanishes for a chunk of the film in an unconvincing plot turn, only to show up a little before the end credits roll.

There's a lot of pointless jabber-jabber about supercomputers, transcendence and god complexes before the film ends in a hurried, inelegant action climax.

The film looks good, but it's never as smart as it should be."  

Tushar Joshi of DNA (2 Stars) writes:

"Despite its premise, the writing and story of the film is very weak. Depp looks bored and even his dialogue delivery sounds lazy and tired. After the initial build up, the plot starts crumbling. The long drawn conversations and the flashback approach do more damage than improve the story's pace and track. Also the climax is very predictable, mid way giving us a sense of how everything is going to play out in the end. The core of the film was supposed to be a heartening love story, yet there is very little chemistry between Depp and Hall.

An original concept marred by a weak script and poor writing, "Transcendence" has very little buzz to keep you engrossed."

Rashid Irani of Hindustan Times (3 Stars) writes:

"Despite its love story underpinnings, "Transcendence" is strangely devoid of emotion. While there's no denying Pfister's visual pizzazz, it's the script with its confusing dramatics and tedious techno jargon which is a let-down.

Considerably more adventurous than the wannabe holiday blockbuster, "Transcendence" is worth catching up with."

Reagan Gavin Rasquinha of The Times of India (3 stars) writes:

"First-time director Pfister (Christopher Nolan's longtime cinematographer) gives Jack Paglen's screenplay a moody, slow pace... The film is essentially a far-fetched, sometimes muddled, cautionary tale about mankind being taken over by the machines that they themselves have created, albeit with the best of intentions."

Paloma Sharma of Rediff (2 Stars) writes:

"Transcendence tries to ask all the right questions but in its struggle to sound smart by arriving at conclusions, it reduces everything to a war between good and evil. The film makes for a heart-warming love story, nevertheless, and despite its slightly trying first half, it gets better post-interval. "

"Transcendence" may be intellectually half-baked, but it poses some serious queries about the boons and the banes of technology."

(Ed: AJ)

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(Photo: Wikimedia / )
Transcendence poster
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