Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Transcendence

Director: Wally Pfister
With: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy

Transcendence, the movie that marked Christopher Nolan's resident cinematographer Wally Pfister is not as bad as its trailer implied and not as weak as what most critics are saying. Although far from being perfect, its concept is rather absorbing. It's just the narrative that falls short in a deep deep grave.

Think of Transcendence as a scifi action version of Spike Jonze's Her. Like Her, it tackles love (it is part of the movie's depth) but it focuses on the negative effects of artificial intelligence machine that Will (Johnny Depp) and his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) planned to establish in which Will called it as 'Transcendence'. Things went wrong and the suspense happened.

Except not really.

What's lacking in this movie is the tension that viewers expected in the film. It lacks action even if the scenes involve explosions, guns and canyons. It lacks the grip even though the concept is interesting. The unremarkable storytelling and the lame conflicts and climax pulled down the capability of its premise. Even worse, the film contains annoying and somewhat idiotic characters that just makes you not want to root for any of them.

Most especially Rebecca Hall. I liked her in Vicky Cristina Barcelona and The Town but she didn't deliver well in this film. It doesn't help that she's playing an irritating character. No one stood out in this film. Everybody's just okay. Johnny Depp can't catch a break.

Pfister maintained his cinematographic talent as it's very palpable in the film but not enough to carry the whole movie especially with the excessive head scratcher ideas in its plot. With a weak screenplay that most of the time, doesn't know where it is headed, I doubt there's a way for Pfister to improve it. A different approach and a sharper plotting to the artificial intelligence concept would have made it better.

Even then, I expected it to be extremely horrible. Johnny Depp's face with nail-like screws and wires on his head looked ridiculous and don't get me started with his facial expression. Didn't plan on watching it because of how terrible the whole thing looked but I did anyway as I had a lot of time to waste before catching the first schedule of Budapest Hotel. Luckily for me, it ended up being below decent and tolerable. But yes, it's a movie I wouldn't care if I skipped it.