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Transcendence

6/10
Thriller . Science Fiction . Drama . Mystery . Romance
 

Two leading computer scientists work toward their goal of Technological Singularity, as a radical anti-technology organization fights to prevent them from creating a world where computers can transcend the abilities of the human brain.

 
Actors: Kristen Rakes , Falk Hentschel , Clifton Collins Jr. , Cole Hauser , Cillian Murphy , Morgan Freeman , Kate Mara , Rebecca Hall , Paul Bettany , Johnny Depp
Directors: Wally Pfister
Country: UK , CHINA , USA
Release: 2014-04-18
More Info:
  • Richard Roeper

    Transcendence is a bold, beautiful, sometimes confounding flight of futuristic speculation firmly rooted in the potential of today’s technology.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    An ambitious and provocative piece of work that is intriguingly balanced between being a warning and a celebration.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Manohla Dargis

    Transcendence is a dark, lurchingly entertaining pastiche of age-old worries, future-shock jolts, hot-button topics and old-fashioned genre thrills.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Moderately entertaining, periodically draggy, Transcendence is not as wacky-visionary as “The Matrix,” or nearly as lyrical as “Her.”

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    While never as dynamically involving as Christopher Nolan's "Inception," for which longtime Nolan director of photography Pfister justifiably won an Oscar, Transcendence still grapples with provocative existential concepts in similarly thoughtful terms.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Echoing the lessons learned from "HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey," the message of Transcendence is that computers should not be allowed to become sentient.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Liam Lacey

    Apart from Mychael Danna’s portentous orchestral and electronic score, Transcendence simply lacks oomph: Shots don’t overwhelm, scenes don’t pop and nothing on the screen gets under your skin.

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    The most galling thing about Transcendence, though, isn't its inability to get a handle on what, if anything, it wants to say about the enormous changes happening to the human race, it's the movie's ending, which seems calculated to reassure us that everything's going to be fine as long as the right people are in charge, especially if they're good looking.

    RogerEbert.com Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    A movie that’s of two minds. It’s well-grounded, but also over the top. It’s a man-vs.-machine epic and also an intimate drama. It’s quirky-smart yet sci-fi silly. And it winds up being half as good as it could be.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Marc Mohan

    A thoroughly mundane experience.

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Peter Hartlaub

    Transcendence looks and sounds like a Christopher Nolan film that got attacked by malware.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Transcendence never quite succeeds at telling a story of scientific overreach. And it doesn’t really click as an action movie either. But as a human tragedy of man and monster, of beauty and beast, it has just enough genuine pathos that you wish it were better.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Chris Nashawaty

    Watching it all unfold and slowly go off the rails, you can't help but wonder what Pfister's mentor, Nolan, might have done with the same material. My guess is he would have sent the script back for a Page One rewrite for starters.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • James Berardinelli

    Science fiction has an obligation to seduce the viewer into applying the "willing suspension of disbelief." With its plot holes and head-scratching incongruities, Transcendence fails in this arena thereby making the production as a whole feel bloated and unsatisfying.

    ReelViews Full Review
  • Claudia Puig

    The story soon devolves into a far-fetched, futuristic snooze-fest that often defies its own logic. Characters' motivations are rarely clear, and allegiances shift with no explanation.

    USA Today Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    There’s a lot of intelligence in Transcendence. Ironically, almost all of it feels artificial.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    An ambitious movie, but ultimately there’s too much “artificial” and not enough “intelligence.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    Transcendence is a movie without villains, thrills or, after Nolan fanboys show up, much of an audience.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    After an intriguing start, Transcendence — aka "The Computer Wore Johnny Depp's Tennis Shoes" — offers roughly the same level of excitement as listening to hold music during a call to tech support.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Richard Corliss

    Clever ideas early on go rogue, or go missing, in the gallop toward an action-film climax that then, perversely, doesn’t materialize. The movie’s intelligence is artificial, its affect solemn.

    Time Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    Despite its looks, talent and pedigree, Transcendence never becomes the movie it could have been.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Todd McCarthy

    Pfister, who, like his mentor Nolan, adamantly continues to shoot on film (not digital), shows a sure hand at staging scenes, creating visuals and setting a tone -- if only all the diverse elements here fit comfortably under the same tent.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Kate Erbland

    Unquestionably the work of both a newbie director and a green screenwriter.

    Film.com Full Review
  • A.A. Dowd

    This humorless science-fiction cautionary tale feels like a relic from an earlier era, pulled out of a dusty old box of zip disks and 56k modems.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    Wally Pfister, best known until now as the cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's big films, makes his directorial debut here, and as dumb as Paglen's script is, Pfister seems to have no feeling whatsoever for the staging of sequences or for any sort of dramatic narrative momentum.

    HitFix Full Review
  • Amon Warmann

    While the core concepts of Transcendence and the questions they pose are inherently interesting, the manner in which the themes are explored feels extremely superficial.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Dana Stevens

    Transcendence is nowhere near as elegant, witty, or insightful as "Her." Pfister and the screenwriter, Jack Paglen, grapple ponderously, sometimes oafishly, with the ethical and philosophical issues at stake in the film’s premise.

    Slate Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    Transcendence, written by Jack Paglen, is just more business as usual, one of those "control technology or it will control you" sermons that nonetheless enlists the usual heap of technically advanced special effects.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Scott Tobias

    Transcendence wants to use this future panic to comment meaningfully on our current interconnectedness and inorganic lifestyle, but it’s screaming too much to have that conversation.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Tom Shone

    Transcendence suffers from terrible timing, arriving a few months after Spike Jonze charmed audiences with his semi-futuristic love story "Her," which flipped a century’s worth of technophobia on its back.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Kimberley Jones

    A bright idea, disappointingly dulled in the execution.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    While Transcendence has tons of money to spend on unpersuasive digital effects and dronelike music, it shows little interest in exploring the potentially tricky benefits of a computer-enhanced intellect; it’s not even in the enjoyable realm of starkly ridiculous Cold War thrillers like "Colossus: The Forbin" Project.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • Alonso Duralde

    You can feel this movie's attempts at Big Ideas about technology get weighed down by a dopey, nonsensical plot.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Scott Foundas

    There are intriguing, half-formed ideas afoot in Transcendence, but the script and Pfister’s heavy, humorless direction tend to reduce everything to simplistic standoffs between good and evil.

    Variety Full Review
  • Eric Henderson

    If you programmed an algorithm to figure out how The Lawnmower Man might be retold by Snake Plissken at the conclusion of Escape from L.A., you'd still wind up with a more recognizably human effort.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    This thoughtful but windy and winded sci-fi thriller shortchanges the science – understandably - and the thrills. The directing debut of “Dark Knight” cinematographer Wally Pfister is a mopey affair with indifferent performances, heartless romance and dull action. It transcends nothing.

    McClatchy-Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Michael O'Sullivan

    The real trouble with Transcendence is that it just isn’t all that scary — at least not in the way that it wants to be.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Charlie Schmidlin

    Jack Paglen’s script casts artificial intelligence and its dangers as the central trouble for its ensemble cast, but Pfister chooses to explore it in essentially a two-hour “getting ready” montage.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    All I can cull is: don't mess with Mother Nature and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Fortune-cookie stuff. Erase All.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Rene Rodriguez

    Transcendence is "Her" for dummies.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Lethargic direction, bland visuals, credulity-straining plotting and tin-eared dialogue turn even pros like Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman into sleepwalking bores.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Rex Reed

    A pointless nightmare of pretentious science fiction twaddle with no plot, no coherence and no heart.

    New York Observer Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    Transcendence is the worst, most portentous, and certainly the silliest big-budget science fiction film since the 2008 Keanu Reeves remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.

    The Telegraph Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Ambitious to a fault, this cautionary fantasy about artificial intelligence has so much on its muddled mind, and so little sense of dramatic grounding, that it grows ever more preposterous before lurching to a climax that's utterly unfathomable.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • David Denby

    Transcendence is a muddle; it takes more creative energy than this to catch up to the present. [28 April 2014, p.86]

    The New Yorker Full Review
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