Thursday, September 25, 2014

Transcending my patience…


Alright; we were all warned…explicitly.  The reviews were not kind, at all.  The people we all know who are supposed to love this kind of stuff walked away baffled that anyone would like it, and in that we had our answer; right?  If the target audience couldn’t even appreciate this, then why would anyone else?  In fact, of everyone that I’ve talked to that has seen this; I’ve only come across two people who had anything nice to say about it.

And yet, I still decided that I needed to see it for myself.

It’s so weird to me, because I feel like the best point of comparison for a film like this (film/expectations) would be ‘Drive’, and yet, that was a good movie.  ‘Transcendence’ tries to be this thinking man’s action film, and yet it winds up being this sluggish bore of a film that never reaches the potential it had and never really identifies itself past some skeletal framing of ideas.  These huge themes of love, science, god and faith feel rusted in writer Jack Paglen’s script, and almost dead inside Wally Pfister’s direction.  It doesn’t help that none of the relationships feel remotely believable.  This apparent love between Will Caster and Evelyn Caster, his wife, feels stale and never truly developed, so when she starts sacrificing her own sanity to be alongside him it makes no sense.

I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself.



‘Transcendence’ tells the story of a scientist intent on perfecting artificial intelligence, at any cost, even his own life.  Sure, he doesn’t want to die, but then again, he’s not really dead, even when the lesser Mara shows up with her clan of ‘The East’ inspired rebels (just far less interesting) and actually shots him dead (well, they drag that out a lot, but eventually he dies, sort of).  Yes, the very intelligence that Caster was working to perfect takes hold of him, uploads his consciousness into the computer and soon he’s able to pretty much rule the world.  Yup, he becomes God because when computer intelligence combines with human intelligence you’re able to heal wounds and regrow limbs and become immortal.

So, the plot makes no sense really, but it’s the execution of the plot that makes this all the worse.  For a guy who framed such intensely created films like ‘Inception’ and ‘The Dark Knight’, this film is such an incredible bore.  First, it takes forever for anything to really happen (like, can Johnny Depp die already?), but once it does actually kick off, it’s so contrived and senseless that it becomes numbing to actually watch.  Outside of a few really cool visual effects, the film is just flaccid.

Yes, I just said that.

The finale also feels like a ridiculous cop out, sacrificing any real themes it could have developed and creating an ending that reads false and lazy, like everything Pfister and Paglen thought they wanted to say was completely scraped for this ‘love lives on’ type ending that felt so uninspired and dumb.

Puke.


And let’s not forget that the acting here is so dreadfully mundane.  Everyone is literally sleepwalking through this one.  Depp has been doing that for years, so that’s to be expected, but all of those Nolan regulars that pop up here (Freeman, Murphy, Hall) are just phoning it in so hard here.  What happened to Paul Bettany?  He had such promise back in the early aughts, when he was working with Russell Crowe.  Now he’s just drained of all that promise.  He’s like a blank canvas, with nothing interesting painted on it.  Hall also had such promise.  She should be a star.  Does anyone know who she is?  Kate Mara is embarrassing and Clifton Collins Jr. is utterly ridiculous here (as is his stupid character and sub-plot).


Oh god, I’m feeling dumber just talking about this movie.

I thought I was going to give this a D, and maybe I should.  Like, I'm dolling out way too many F's already this year, right?  No, on second thought, this deserves what it deserves so F's all around.

14 comments:

  1. Oh God, This sounds horrid. I threw this in my Netflix queue awhile ago just because I was curious, I think I'm going to remove it now.

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  2. "the lesser Mara" - I laughed so hard :) I saw 10 minutes of it so far and haven't finished yet but Freeman looks so bored in it it's potentially hysterical.

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    1. Not gonna lie...I made myself laugh too ;-)

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  3. A film that had so much potential and it ends up being shit. Plus, Johnny Depp is becoming an idiot. He used to be so interesting.

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    1. It's so weird, because he had this huge career surge in 2003 when Oscar embraced him, and he's been phoning it in ever since. What the hell!

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  4. Hated this movie, for all the reasons you mentioned. I really thought it was going to rock ass, but it's laughably bad. Hell, I forgot Kate Mara was even in it, and I love her. Whatta shame.

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    1. LOL, right! I remember when this was first in production and it was going to be the film of the year...and then...

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  5. Oh shit. I don't know what to do. On the one hand, I kind of love SHIT. But, my movie watching time is extremely limited...sooo, I should probably just pass on this one, huh?

    But it sounds SO BAD!!!

    Aaaaaaahhhhh! (Fun post though!)

    (And come off it with this 'too many Fs' talk. You love handing them out. CoughTomHanksCoughCough)

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    1. BAH! I do love doling out F's. It's fun.

      Oh, and if this were entertaining shit, I'd suggest it...but this is just bland, awful, fall asleep and forget what you're watching shit.

      PASS!

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  6. LOL. I guess my C+ was nice.

    Seriously, how bad is it when a movie makes you think "well, at least actors like Bettany and Hall are on THIS many screens for a few people to discover them"?

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    1. Too nice! You need to free yourself up to handing out F's. LOL, I don't think I've ever seen you hand out one!

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    2. Cramming for the CinSpec's every week has helped me avoid most terrible movies, though. I'm sure there are F's in the future. :)

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    3. Yeah, that's usually how it is when I'm researching older film years. I generally only watch the films that garnered a lot of buzz or awards attention, so even if I don't really love or even like them, they aren't awful.

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