Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Bottom Line: More aptly titled BLANDSCENDENCE – this cold, clunky, illogical, humorless and not-at-all mind-bending sci-fi thriller about Artificial Intelligence is easily one of the most boring movies I’ve seen this year.  And still, somehow, not the worst.  It’s a derivatively detailed and desperately dour mash-up of far greater films like Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Spike Jonze’s HER and Stephen King’s THE LAWN MOWER MAN (yes, I used ‘The Lawnmower Man’ as a movie that’s greater than another movie.  That just happened).  This time out, too, Depp is partially to blame.  For the first time in a long time he brings absolutely nothing interesting to the table.  He just seems tired (perhaps in a scurvy-induced fog from playing Captain Jack far too many times, who knows).  …and if you’re looking to thrust blame in other directions, let’s run with a poorly used, big name cast, a first time director grappling a movie that's too conceptually large, a simpleminded script and a hackneyed, Edward Scissorhands-like job at editing a number of incoherent scenes.  Everything feels rushed, but I’m not sure another 60-120 minutes of explorative running time could have saved it.  Thematically intriguing yet narratively naïve, the script plunges down a nanotechnology-dug rabbit hole of sentient intrigue without ever thinking about how to pull itself out.  While a few big ideas regarding the evils of technology and man’s consistent insistence of the creation of deities are thrown out there, the film clumsily steps on its toes to dodge all through lines of logical thought.  It thinks it’s smarter than it actually is…  TRANSCENDENCE timidly approaches man’s transhumanistic thirst for knowledge, power and God.  It should have focused a little more on people who buy movie tickets – and their hunger for entertainment.  Time to unplug, time to reboot.
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Kate Mara and Cillian Murphy
Directed by: Wally Pfister (cinematographer for director Christopher Nolan)
Running time: 119 minutes
Studio description: Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed-to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can...but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will's thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.(C) Warner

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