When Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is nearly killed by anti-technology extremists, he becomes a participant in his own transcendence. But as his thirst for knowledge is increasingly quenched, it starts to turn into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power.
My Thoughts: Ooh. This is a mess. It reminds me of two films in particular, which I’ll address individually, and the comparisons don’t make Transcendence look good. The story reminds me of Her, if Her took a more negative view of the influence of technology and limits of humans. And by more negative, I mean downright dismal. Aesthetically, it reminds me a lot of Inception; this makes sense, since director Wally Pfister has been Christopher Nolan’s go-to cinematographer for years, including on Inception. Even though Pfister doesn’t handle cinematography here, his style is still felt, but it feels like a knockoff of Nolan’s films.
A few other dings against the film: (SPOILER) The majority of the film is technically a flashback, so unfortunately, what little surprise there could be about the film’s ultimate outcome is ripped off in the first five minutes. And while Johnny Depp may be on computer screens for most of the film, but he feels no more or less alive when he’s actually supposed to be alive. Talk about phoning it in.