Jean-Paul’s Review: 2/5 stars
Bottom Line: Interesting subject, but poor execution.
I’m writing this on an airplane so I don’t have the use of IMDB to look up character names. Oh, the humanity!
You ever have one of those dreams where there were all these separate parts and you know that they are supposed to fit together somehow, but they don’t? “Transcendence” is kind of like that. It starts with a terrorist attack by a neo-Luddite group on artificial intelligence labs and a bizarre assassination attempt against Johnny Depp that fails. But the bullet was loaded with a radioactive isotope so it kills Johnny Depp anyway. But not before his wife and business partner upload his consciousness into a computer. So far so good except for the needless death by radioactive isotope part.
Johnny Depp and his wife then perform a bunch of crimes and steal a lot of money and build a massive data center in the middle of the desert. The terrorist group is all like “Oh, we have to stop him!” Two years pass. They are the most ineffective effective terrorist group ever. Meanwhile, Johnny Depp and his wife are creating cyborg people by taking close to dying people and giving them super-human strength via nanobots, of course, with the added ability to network with Johnny Depp who can take control of them at any time. This, obviously, must be stopped by all means, and the terrorist group is just the people to do it. Or so says the government anyway. So the government teams up with the terrorists and puts a stop to the machinations of Johnny Depp. The end.
I’m not really giving much away. Everything stated above is either ridiculous plot twist or obvious progression of the story. If it sounds disjointed, that’s because it is. The objectives of the terrorists makes no sense. The objectives of the government makes no sense. The objectives of Johnny Depp only make sense in retrospect. The objectives of Johnny Depp are the only ones which are clear, but even those become muddled as the movie plods on.
I’ll give you a good for instance of how muddled things are. Shortly before Johnny Depp’s transference into AI, the terrorist group kidnaps his business partner because they just know that Johnny Depp is up to something. How do they know? Well, because they were able to find out that some of the quantum processor cores from Johnny Depp’s lab were stolen, of course. As they are interrogating the business partner, they are able to determine the location of Johnny Depp with some internet jujitsu completely without the business partner’s help. They then continue to hold him prisoner for some reason until he becomes one of them. WTF?
The whole movie has weird instances like that. Obviously, from the above, you could guess that this movie is completely skippable. How it got so many big name actors involved in it, I have no idea.