News

REVIEW: Johnny Depp and crew fail at ‘Transcendence’

REVIEW: Johnny Depp and crew fail at ‘Transcendence’

Johnny Depp stars in the sci-fi thriller "Transcendence." Photo: Associated Press/Warner Bros. Pictures, Peter Mountain

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 119 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: Wally Pfister | Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Morgan Freeman

By: George Wolf

Johnny Depp fans could use a little good news. The genuine talent hasn’t made a film worth watching since 2011′s Rango, and that was a cartoon – and his only half-decent movie since 2007′s Sweeney Todd.

Unfortunately, Transcendence isn’t going to help matters.

Depp plays Dr. Will Caster, a very happily married scientist doing research that will make unfathomable breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. And oh what a muddled mess it turns out to be. The movie, I mean. The A.I. turns out to also be Johnny Depp, which beats the hell out of Arnold Schwarzenegger any day.

Making his debut as a feature director is Wally Pfister – Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer. Predictably, the film has an evocative look. Unfortunately, he did not pick up his colleague’s grasp of the intricacies of a heady fantasy.

Jack Paglen‘s screenplay offers a cautionary tale about our blind acceptance of the invasion of technology. Unless it’s warning us about pollution. Our personal isolation? Lack of privacy? All of the above, often while undermining its own other arguments? Bingo.

Basically, Paglen bites off more than he or his cast can chew. The film offers sparks of relevance, but it can’t decide what direction to go. It layers its fantastical warnings around a love story, and at least for that it relies on the natural talent of its leads, Depp, Rebecca Hall, and Paul Bettany as their colleague and friend.

Their work draws whatever attention the film manages to pique. Unfortunately, it’s not enough, particularly since their tale is saddled with a dopey ending that defies even the film’s own nonsensical internal logic.

But at least it’s not Lone Ranger.

Read more movie reviews at MaddWolf.com.

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Browns not ready to name starting quarterback

Fresh
Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine watches his team during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Washington Redskins Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, in Landover, Md.

Browns coach Mike Pettine's decision became tougher after Hoyer and Manziel played poorly in an exhibition loss at Washington on Monday night.

in Sports

NY Islanders owner announces sale

FILE - This is an Oct. 24, 2012, file photo, showing New York Islanders owner Charles Wang addressing the media during a press conference at Brooklyn's Barclays Center. The New York Islanders have announced that the team is being sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner and a London-based investor. In a statement Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, the team says a group led by former Capitals co-owner Jon Ledecky and investor Scott Malkin has reached an agreement to buy a "substantial" minority interest in the team.

The New York Islanders have announced that the team is being sold to a former Washington Capitals co-owner and a London-based investor.

in Sports

Veteran NBA ref Bavetta retires after 39 years

FILE - In this April 2, 2014, file photo, official Dick Bavetta watches during a free throwt during the second half of an NBA basketball game between the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets in New York. Bavetta is retiring after a 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment. NBA president Rod Thorn says Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in a statement that the league is "grateful for his contributions to our league, and we wish him the best as he enjoys his well-earned retirement."

NBA referee Dick Bavetta is retiring after a 39-year career in which he never missed an assignment.

in Sports

Gibbs hires Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez

Joe Gibbs, right, speaks as drivers Daniel Suarez, left, Carl Edwards, second from left, and J.D. Gibbs, second from right, laugh during a news conference at Joe Gibbs Racing's headquarters in Huntersville, N.C., Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Joe Gibbs Racing has hired Carl Edwards to drive a new fourth Sprint Cup car in 2015 and Daniel Suarez will drive in the Nationwide series.

Joe Gibbs Racing has hired Carl Edwards to drive a new fourth Sprint Cup car in 2015.

in Music

Ailing Joey Kramer’s son joins Aerosmith on tour

kramer

Kramer's son Jesse who took over his dad's drum seat when the band hit the stage.

Bellingham Traffic