Transcendence (2014; Rated Rated PG-13)


“ Bold, beautiful, sometimes confounding flight of futuristic speculation firmly rooted in the potential of today‚Äôs technology.”

-Richard Roeper



(2014; PG-13)

In theaters:
Friday, 18 April 2014

Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction

Wally Pfister

Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman

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Ericsaid on Saturday, August 30, 2014 10:45:52 PM
Yet another dead-on review (Roeper nails the thrillers).

Three reasons people didn't like this film:

1) Their religious views got in the way.
2) Their political views got in the way (the anti-establishment conspiracy crowd ended up being wrong, which is an ironic reason to dislike the film considering that twist was one of the unexpected pleasures to the objective viewers).
3) They just didn't get it (anyone who thought it was "boring," "unfocused," or far-fetched just didn't follow the story or how nanotechnology worked, so took their frustrations out in their review).

If you have a good imagination, and can watch the film objectively, you'll probably enjoy the film, and understand why Roeper gave it an A.

KoMingsaid on Monday, August 18, 2014 3:45:43 PM
I really, really wanted to like this movie. I thought it was courageous, it took chances, and it actually had a credible grasp of where the leading edge of the science currently is.

The production values were excellent, blending CGI and on-location shots quite seamlessly.

However, there were problems. I am a computer scientist myself, and I can't help but think most movies, this one included, don't do a good job of understanding this one thing: computers do what we tell them to. They do EXACTLY what we tell them to. If we don't want them to take over the world, we should just omit the instructions for taking over the world from the source code. Obviously, fear of being supplanted as the dominant intelligence (?) on the planet seems to be a common theme in film, but neither apes nor computers are currently a credible threat. Yes, when that computer beats you, the Grandmaster, at chess, it was really just another human being that beat you. Only, she cheated because she used a computer to cheat the time-restriction rules. She gets nearly infinite time (because of advances in processor power), while you still get 40 minutes. Cheating or not, she still has to understand that various rules and strategies of chess to program it correctly. Sure, I had a concentration in AI. I get it: it's a program that learns and alters its own code. Sure, it has the potential to do things that it wasn't intended to do. Most (if not all) of our current software already has this feature: their called "bugs".

One thing the movie got really RIGHT in my opinion is that the uploaded memories of Will weren't actually Will. Will's consciousness wasn't actually transffered, just information. I won't dare to go further into THAT conversation here, as there simply isn't enough space to do so.

No, what disappointed me most about the film was that, as brave as it was, it stopped short of where I wanted it to go. Could science be the benevolent tool that helps us? Could we one day acquire the wisdom to wield such tools? Might we not finally mature into a species that can handle things like living for stupidly long times and recovering from what used to be crippling illnesses and injuries? Why does it always have to be "creepy" instead of progressive? I think that a large segment of the population takes a strong ethical stance, dividing activities labeled "God" and "Human" and don't take kindly to mixing and matching. I was really hoping this movie would be the one to finally break through that wall, but it wasn't. Right from the get-go, it tries to get us to sympathize with radical terrorists who are guilty of everything from murder (slow, painful murder via radioactive bullets), kidnapping, treason, and bad acting. Apparently, all this is OK so long as we don't try to become better scientists. Who's at fault here, the technology or the people who misuse it? It's never quite explained WHY the uploaded Will computer wants power and wants to take over things. Who was the jerk that sneaked in those lines of code?

Joesaid on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 11:01:30 AM
Please Richard, update your website! So many of us use iPads or iPhones etc, and your Flash videos are not viewable. Flash is outdated and I'm sure you would like us mobile users to see your reviews too!

Daniel Prinnsaid on Sunday, May 25, 2014 12:02:41 AM
Hi Richard,

I don't really agree with the review because I was a bit disappointed by the film. Well, I do agree with the idea that you have to either go with the film or not. I gave it a 5/10, so I didn't hate it but I didn't love it, either.

I read your review on Chicago Sun-Times (I'm a big fan of yours, I think you're very witty and you're one of my inspirations to be a film critic), and even though you give it 4 stars out of 4, I'm earnestly curious as to why this is an 'A' and not an 'A+'?

Anyway, keep up the good work. It's fun to disagree with your views sometimes :)

Spud Spunkmieirsaid on Thursday, May 08, 2014 7:20:15 AM
This proves Mr. Roeper is paid to do good reviews for complete garbage F- movies like this nonsensical trash.

AMsaid on Sunday, May 04, 2014 3:46:23 PM
The film was quite a surprise, especially when I went to see it with no expectations, based on bad reviews it got. Maybe because I didn't expect much. It's a beautiful film.

Unplugsaid on Friday, May 02, 2014 4:45:12 PM
NO NO NO!!!!!! Transendance is nothing more than a mash up of "Wargames", "Her", and the "Cowboy Bepob" episode "Brain Scratch". The show also makes a clear rip from Bepob when Depp if flying in the internet. Rod Sterling and Bradbury would laugh so hard at this movie.

Sandysaid on Monday, April 21, 2014 11:54:00 AM
Great, great movie! You'll love this if you enjoy movies that explore the possible results of combining great minds.....visionaries......with technology.

Chris Michaelssaid on Saturday, April 19, 2014 4:31:43 PM
Here's a circumstance where I place value on Richard's review (and Turan) above the consensus, and will invest to see the film. Will advise.

Jasonsaid on Friday, April 18, 2014 12:26:03 AM
Do you think Roger would have enjoyed this movie

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