Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Transcendence Review - 1 Star

Johnny Depp lends his name and talent to this latest internet thriller.  “Transcendence” refers to the uploading of Johnny’s human brain into our world-wide computer network with the kind of result that won’t surprise you.  As the story begins we meet Johnny and his equally brilliant wife Rebecca Hall, an actress whom I really like and admire.   Together with their good friends and colleagues Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman they have a vision for a world changed and improved by computer technology.  But cyber terrorists don’t share this vision.  A group led by Kate Mara blow up several labs simultaneously and send out a martyr to assassinate Johnny.  Except the bullet only grazes him.  Except they laced the bullet with radiation sentencing Johnny to a short but slow death.  Just time enough for Rebecca and friends to figure out how to upload Johnny’s brain. When they do he turns into a combination of Hal from “2001” and Scarlett Johansson from “Her.”  In other words a really suave power mad threat.  The rest of the story takes some nice twists as Johnny builds his domain.  But several times during the screening, audience members laughed rather than buy this baloney.  In spite of a good cast and the presence of the brilliant Mr. Depp, “Transcendence” never goes beyond the expected.  It feels like a weak copy of several much better thrillers.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Only more of the same.  Is it entertaining?  No surprises.  Is it worth the price of admission?  Save your money.