Transcendence (2014)

A friend once accused me of intentionally going out and watching crappy movies just so I could review them. I seriously want to see good movies, but it's not always easy to guess what movie is going to be good. Sometimes, you can grab something from a good actor that is horrible. Sometimes a B-list actor will be in a great movie. Sometimes, a B-lister with a first time director will be great. This movie featured Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, and Morgan Freeman, so I expected it to be pretty good.

Welcome to a movie all about fearing technology and forwarding the Luddite mindset. There have been other, better movies about the singularity, but those didn't have Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman. This one once again starts off with scientists eager to explore new technology without considering the ethics of their inventions. Johnny Depp is the leading scientist working on advanced AI, but someone else actually managed to map a brain's synapses in real time and simulate the same thing in a computer - a monkey brain, but a brain. Johnny does a crappy job in this movie. He usually tries, but it's like he decided that this guy needed to have no personality at all.

Rebecca Hall plays a fellow scientist who doesn't seem to know anything about science or computers. She is also his wife, and that leads to a strange romantic situation when, inevitably, Johnny uploads his mind to the computer. The odd thing is that the three people involved in this experiment, Johnny, Rebecca, and Paul Bettany, all rely on some other guy's experiments, as he was really way ahead of them the whole time. This movie probably should have been about smarter people.

There are a bunch of characters in this movie, and there are a lot of recognizable faces in this crowd. It's kind of surprising they got all of these people to read how tiny their roles were going to be and they signed on anyway. Did they read the script? Who was technical consultant on this movie, anyway? Walk through a room with what appear to be glass shelves with florescent lights behind them? Must be quantum computers! Nanobots that self-replicate and build organic material and regenerate dead cells and also create non-organic components with no source material? Yup, that'll totally happen.

This movie falls apart because the writers didn't understand the technology they were trying to build-on. Consequently, they didn't understand the technology they were creating in their world. The solution to the problem of Johnny Depp gone wild? A virus! But, we have to inject it into the main computer. Why? Do you not understand how a virus works? Is it just because you saw this in Independence Day and figured you could just do the same thing? Well, it didn't make sense then, and it doesn't make sense now.

Acting was okay
Story was bad
Effects were meh
Direction was not good
Dialog was terrible



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