According To Early TRANSCENDENCE Reviews Johnny Is Out Of His Depp...th

Cinematographer Wally Pfister is best known for lending his eye to Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight and Inception, but now it's his turn in the director's chair. Transcendence marks his directorial debut and the reviews are underwhelming. Check them out!

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By nailbiter111 - 4/16/2014

THE PLAYLIST: "A Gloomy Thriller Trying To Ground Its At-Times-Daffy Premise"
Given that Depp plays a computer for most of the film, I suppose he’s somewhat off the hook for such a static performance. Meanwhile, Hall does the best she can with her role, which jarringly shifts her from sober optimist to ruthless devotee in a single scene, leaving the other characters—and the audience—to make sense of it. Mara, Freeman, and Murphy are wasted, stuck in holding patterns of exposition; only Paul Bettany, as a scientist wary of his colleagues’ path, treads a winning, if somewhat telegraphed journey, bringing a warm and empathetic performance to this largely humorless affair. Over six collaborative efforts, Pfister and Nolan fashioned a much-debated approach of emotional logic over narrative coherence. In this film, it seems Pfister has swapped the routine, stringing a clear, episodic plot together with a perplexing mish-mash of motivations and actions. - Charlie Schmidlin

THE WRAP: "A Dopey, Nonsensical Plot"
Up to this point, “Transcendence” is a little “Her” and a little HAL 9000 — which is fine — but once we get clued into what cyber-Will's ultimate plans are, the film gets a lot dumber, throwing in contrivances that keep the audience from wrestling with complex questions and raising plot points that make less and less sense the more you think about them. The movie begins with a flash-forward that takes away much of the suspense, and that's the kind of move you can only pull off if you've got another, better card to play. But by the time “Transcendence” wraps up, the movie has clearly chickened out of grappling with any of its deeper issues and instead provides a cowardly quick fix. - Alonso Duralde

VARIETY: "Overplotted, Dramatically Undernourished"
“Transcendence” is a most curious name for a movie that never shakes free from those hoary old cliches about the evils of technology and the danger by which man plays at becoming a god. The man in question here is Johnny Depp, whose listless lead performance as a brilliant scientist in the field of artificial intelligence does little to aid this overplotted, dramatically undernourished debut feature from longtime Christopher Nolan d.p. Wally Pfister. Arriving at a crowded spring box office, the pic will test Depp’s drawing power outside of the Disney franchise factory, before weak word of mouth and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” send it packing. - Scott Foundas

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: "Big Ideas & A Big Budget Work At Cross-Purposes Sometimes."
Hall is the one actor here who's challenged and pushed to any emotional extremes, and her intelligent, alert and unpredictable bearing is very welcome. Wearing tortoiseshell horn-rims and speaking softly in his corporal moments, Depp has the right studious, distracted air as the smartest man in the world, and it's good to see Bettany, for once, as a real guy instead of the generic baddie he's mostly played of late. Befitting a production executive produced by Nolan and Emma Thomas, Transcendence is immaculately outfitted in every respect. Pfister, who, like his mentor Nolan, adamantly continues to shoot on film (not digital), shows a sure hand at staging scenes, creating visuals and setting a tone -- if only all the diverse elements here fit comfortably under the same tent. - Todd McCarthy

HITFIX: "Johnny Depp Looks Powerfully Bored"
The film is handsomely made for the most part, but considering how big the story they're trying to tell is, there's something sort of low-rent about the way they actually imagined it. For all of the world significance that these events supposedly carry, everything seems to happen between a few characters in one of the blandest settings imaginable. I feel bad for the cast. Rebecca Hall tries to give some sense of inner life to a character that exists mainly to react to expository dialogue dumps, but it's a battle she can't win. Bettany doesn't fare much better, and poor Kate Mara is stranded as the leader of the terrorist group. She has to glower a lot and snarl a few speeches, but it's a terrible role, and she's unable to make it work. - Drew McWeeny


Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) is the foremost researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, working to create a sentient machine that combines the collective intelligence of everything ever known with the full range of human emotions. His highly controversial experiments have made him famous, but they have also made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists who will do whatever it takes to stop him. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence. For his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany), both fellow researchers, the question is not if they can…but if they should. Their worst fears are realized as Will’s thirst for knowledge evolves into a seemingly omnipresent quest for power, to what end is unknown. The only thing that is becoming terrifyingly clear is there may be no way to stop him.

TRANSCENDENCE - directed by Wally Pfister, from a screenplay written by Jack Paglen. Christopher Nolan and his wife Emma Thomas are Executive Producers. The cast includes: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Cillian Murphy, Clifton Collins, Jr., and Morgan Freeman. In theaters and IMAX on April 18.
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SuperCat - 4/16/2014, 12:51 AM
Not surprised. Looks terrible.
TheThrasher08 - 4/16/2014, 12:54 AM
I was really hoping this would be good. Oh well.
TheRealistStarLord - 4/16/2014, 12:58 AM
Looks like Cap TWS gonna win box office for the third week!!! I knew that Transcendence will be cliche and predictable, we have seen many movies with similar plot, Terminator 1 & 2, The Matrix, Wall-E, A Space Odyssey: 2001 and etc etc etc.
FightAs0ne - 4/16/2014, 12:58 AM
Not surprised but that headline
"Johnny Is Out Of His Depp"

Lol I had a feeling Nail posted this article.
Lozzy - 4/16/2014, 1:02 AM
eh, I didn't have any interest in this anyway.
thalidomide - 4/16/2014, 1:03 AM
So this is an appalling film huh?
Kurne - 4/16/2014, 1:04 AM
Yikes.
Humperdink - 4/16/2014, 1:05 AM
This one was obviously going to be weak.
Looks a little better than 'Lawnmower Man' but not by much.

Wally Pfister should have picked a better launching pad.
Reasonnnn - 4/16/2014, 1:11 AM
That's what happens when you make a promising premise into "AI is going to take over the world" cliche. Great cast though.
0megaDaGod - 4/16/2014, 1:12 AM
Well that sucks
jambabeanjuice - 4/16/2014, 1:14 AM
Totally what I expect in this film. @Humperdink 100% agree with you bud.
ALegendaryPanda - 4/16/2014, 1:17 AM
Well that's [frick]ing disappointing.
AsgardianHobo - 4/16/2014, 1:18 AM
were you really going to pay to see this anyways? ya, no surprise here
SaxoWolf - 4/16/2014, 1:22 AM
not even morgan freeman could save this I guess. back to the pirate outfit
Hobgobby8821 - 4/16/2014, 1:22 AM
Remember when Wally Pfister said The Avengers was a terribly shot film?
Spock0Clock - 4/16/2014, 1:25 AM
Mainstream critics are probably never going to gel with a movie about the Nerd Rapture, but I was never really invested in this movie being good...
Jwe75 - 4/16/2014, 1:26 AM
There goes that Box office...
OliverHardy
SugarYumYum - 4/16/2014, 1:26 AM
Oh that's a shame. Depp is a great talent that is now stuck dialing in parodies of his most eccentric roles and poorly executed box office disasters. His appeal has taken such fall to the point you have to wonder if the next Pirates film is actually in trouble.
Equivocal - 4/16/2014, 1:26 AM
most of his movies are 'brainless fun' but still don't understand how someone would pay to see a jony dep movie...
anyhow
this looks dumb and boring, judging just from the trailers,
I even think the whole A.I. taking over technology, was done brilliantly in CA:TWS in form of Arnim Zola
rip off ??
;)
Gambitz - 4/16/2014, 1:29 AM
The Avengers was a terribly shot film, Hell Whedon even got another DP.
RamonSuarez - 4/16/2014, 1:32 AM
[frick] Pfister.

He was negative enough about Avengers.

Now he sees how it is in the hotseat.
Humperdink - 4/16/2014, 1:34 AM

Remember when Wally Pfister said The Avengers was a terribly shot film?


He may have been talking about the aspect ratio it used (1.85:1) and how it was shot in a TV format. If so, I agree. I read that Joss may shoot the new film in the same ratio as Cap 2 (widescreen format) after seeing it...and I really hope he does.

Transcendence may have been shot in a better format, but it's clearly not going to be nearly as interesting or exciting as The Avengers was.
JoJo1982 - 4/16/2014, 1:35 AM
"Captain looks like your giving orders then" -- nick fury

This weekend
JoJo1982 - 4/16/2014, 1:39 AM
Reasonnnn - 4/16/2014, 1:11 AM
That's what happens when you make a promising premise into "AI is going to take over the world" cliche. Great cast though

:l. **looks at the plot of Avengers Age of Ultron***
Reasonnnn - 4/16/2014, 1:42 AM
@JoJo1982 Haha, you got me there! Then again we don't know the premise yet, and it's all about the execution.
Hobgobby8821 - 4/16/2014, 1:51 AM
I thought people were saying this was going to be the next Inception??
GUNSMITH - 4/16/2014, 1:55 AM
DukeAcureds - 4/16/2014, 2:04 AM
Well what the hell did you expect?!
Just 'cause a guy DPd for Chris Nolan that makes him qualified to direct a movie?
The only DP that has any iota of directing capability is Chris Doyle and he's not exactly box office material.
I said it right at the start, this will be bad and will flop. I just feel sorry for Depp. Not only does Pfister make him look like shit, but this is a really bad move, after The Lone Ranger. Dude needs a hit. Star Wars, maybe.
DukeAcureds - 4/16/2014, 2:13 AM
Can't wait for the debut feature from Chris Nolan's Gaffer's spark.
Doopie - 4/16/2014, 2:15 AM
just read the variety review - it was not kind. never really had much interest in this tho. Depp does need to do something good now
Ceejay - 4/16/2014, 2:20 AM
Like I give a frak about their opinions, these the same idiots that said Star Trek Into Darkness and Prometheus was intelligent scifi.

Johnny Depp.. CHECK
Paul Bettany.. CHECK
Kate Mara.. CHECK
Morgan Freeman.. CHECK

I'm going!
Mercwitham0uth - 4/16/2014, 2:20 AM
Had a feeling this would be a stinker.
Kyos - 4/16/2014, 2:21 AM
Pity! Depp needs a good, serious role again.
RamonSuarez - 4/16/2014, 2:28 AM
.
thalidomide - 4/16/2014, 2:30 AM
!
harley2011 - 4/16/2014, 2:31 AM
The Avengers, was not well shot. It was shot on video, and not even at 2:35:1. It looks like a video game, not a movie.
ReeferInferno - 4/16/2014, 2:32 AM
Curse you and your magnificent puns nailbiter :)
Bloodraven - 4/16/2014, 2:33 AM
Shit, I was really looking forward to this.
Liverpool4life - 4/16/2014, 2:36 AM
Nicholas Cage should have been in this movie too. That would have been icing on the cake.
MantiniuMan - 4/16/2014, 2:52 AM
shit!

I was looking forward to this,oh wait I still am....

But the reviews had me worried,look like Pfisty will be back DPing again...

And I was really looking forward to this sci-fi flick...
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