User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 176 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 31 out of 176

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  1. Apr 17, 2014
    3
    Just watch The Lawnmower Man again. It wasn't very good, but it's better than this garbage. Awesome cast, horrible movie. Even the star power of this one can't save it.
  2. Apr 17, 2014
    3
    A bloated and boring mess that tries to shove too many bland and puerile ideas through a syphon as narrow as the mind of its screenwriter(s).
    It is not new nor rare that scientists are almost always presented as a mad lot who single-handedly want to take on the world or mold it to their perpetually selfish designs, nor anything new about artists (used loosely in this case) attempting to
    tell audiences of their fears that humans are trying to cross some line only meant for some gods to be treded on. This film is no different, specially on that last thing, only a lot more ham-handed in its urgency to do so by having Dr. Depp say it with the calmest of aplombs, "Do not all scientists aspire to create their own gods?" (paraphrasing the crap) to zero discomfitance from anyone in an audience supposedly made of university students and other fellow scientists in the hall.
    So all of that is normal so far. What is deeply weird is that it also treats as extremists and lunatics the group that opposes the advancements in the technology Dr. Depp is spear-heading, or any person that joins them later on the film for whatever flimsy or implausible reasons (don't bother trying to keep track of where or why allegiances are made or broken, it will only destroy neurons you may prefer to preserve). This could've been the intention of the filmmakers, attempting either a statement that all actions in such a topic live in a grey area or simply as a "surpise" twist device. Whatever the real reason it hardly makes it any better handled.
    The story, although as painfully simple as the lack of understanding of its subject matter renders it to be, is convoluted beyond repair and made utterly impregnable by the enormous amount of cringe-worthy childish ideas and fears it wants to cram in its (cruelly long) duration.
    The cast is wonderful. Any of the main participants is of stature enough to be able to provide some redeeming qualities to almost any bad film, by her/himself. But not even the presence of 5 highly accomplished thespians could accomplish such a gargantuan proposition. The result is something like the delivery of Nachos by a cordon blue cook, those will be the best Nachos ever served but they will still be junk-food.
    I will not bother any one with further examination of the myriad singularity-level plot holes, the sad immaturity of dialogues, topic-handling or character motivations, because the core point of this superficial comment on the film can be summarized with the few next words: Do not bother.
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  3. Apr 17, 2014
    3
    Why weren't you good, Transcendence. I was somewhat looking forward to this movie. Initially, I was very excited, but then the reviews came out and my excitement was stifled. Still, I had faith. This movie is very well shot, with a few really unique editing tricks thrown into the mix. Sadly, that's about all I can praise it for. The plot is dull and really just painfully boring, the acting is pretty stilted actually, which is surprising for Johnny Depp. Overall this was just a huge waste of potential. Expand
  4. Apr 18, 2014
    1
    After my screening, I pondered on Facebook if this film is “Showgirls bad” or “SyFy Channel (with a bigger FX budget) bad.” I have to go with the former because SyFy Channel productions, at least those of late (I’m talking about you, Sharknado), strive for so-bad-they’re-fun status. Showgirls, however, takes itself seriously and has since become what it has become. That’s what Transcendence is, and only time will tell if it becomes the Showgirls of its time and genre. Until then, it is nothing more than a throwback to a simpler technological time: 1980s direct-to-VHS schlock. Expand
  5. Apr 27, 2014
    1
    This is easily the worst sic-fi film i've seen in the past few years. The plot and story are not only confusing, but horribly boring and could put me to sleep with ease. While the casting was solid, the acting was a different story. Depp, Freeman, and Hall all are great actors in their own ways, but their dialogue in this film was stale and showed the worst of them. The movie tried to be like "inception," but ultimately felt like a poorly told version of "Now You See Me." Illogical, boring, and the epitome of a poorly directed sci-fi film. Expand
  6. Apr 30, 2014
    4
    I felt this movie was just ridiculous on every level. The plot had more holes than Swiss cheese and was too far from any hope of reality to begin to be believable. I thought the acting was good and it was not boring, but that is all the good I can say of it!
  7. Apr 22, 2014
    4
    Johnny Depp plays an Artificial Intelligence researcher, who becomes his own experiment. While it starts with an interesting premise, the whole thing quickly deteriorates into a lot of talk and drama. Some of the futuristic tech is cool, but there are limited special effects and even less action. A disappointment.
  8. May 25, 2014
    4
    You know after watching the teaser trailers for this movie i was really excited to watch it. The concept seemed pretty cool and it had a likable cast but after they started to release the full trailers for the film my excitement dwindled severely. Even though i knew the movie wasn't all that great after reading some of early reviews for it i still went a seen it because i was going with some friends. Honestly though i wasn't expecting the movie to be that boring i was starting to fall asleep half way through its a good thing the movie was only 2 hours long or else im sure i would have passed out.

    Seeing that this is both the director and writers debut i guess this was to be expected but i don't understand why the studio went this way. Sure the directing was decent that i could live with but the script was beyond crap why the studio chose this guy is just beyond me and i'm glad the movie bomb at the box office. Im done watching Johnny Depp movies his last watchable film was Public Enemies and that is 5 years old now and his past 2 films have been complete crap. I wouldn't recommend anyone watching this movie but i know there are those people that "have to watch any new Johnny Depp movie no matter how bad it is".

    Overall i give it a 4.0
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  9. Apr 18, 2014
    2
    If ever there was a movie made for IT nerds this is it and if you have to ask what IT is, like I had to, this is not a movie for you. Did I follow the movie? To a certain degree. Is it an easy movie to follow? Not the technical aspects but it being sci-fi you know there will be barren cities and a lot of special effects.

    "Gravity" was special because of the new special effects the
    director brought to the screen but Wally Pfister, in his first movie as a director, doesn't bring anything new in that sense. Johnny Depp is basically reduced to a talking head on a computer screen. Near the beginning of the film he is a top dying computer genius who has been experimenting with an afterlife of making a digital life with the personality, brain and emotions of a human being. He uses his dying to prove the theories that he and his wife, Evelyn, played by Rebecca Hall, have been working on for years.

    I won't go any more into the story as it involves many people who have been shot, knifed or in one or another dying who are not only put back together whole but show Marvel comic book hero strength and powers but the latter is not really a major part of the story or the sci-fi. There are twists and turns that really are meaningless.

    Paul Bittany, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Kate Mara, along with the rest of cast, do a professional job with only Rebecca Hall having a chance to act. Johnny Depp, pardon the pun, calls his performance in. There is no drama, a lame ending with, if you are paying attention, the beginning of the film giving it away.

    Instead of seeing "Transcendence" spend your two hour movie time with seeing "Draft Day" a film without special effects, excellent acting and a plot that will pull you in and pays off.
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  10. Apr 23, 2014
    3
    The idea behind Transcendence is cool, but the execution is really poor. The idea would probably work better as a tv show or mini-series, but the idea is way too large for a 2 hour movie.
  11. Apr 23, 2014
    2
    Such a terrible movie. The film had no concrete story development and lacked character depth. It was borderline preaching. I understand that in modern society we are consumed by technology and we loose interactions with everyone around us, however, the movie clearly also shows how humans are like machines. They operate in one direct order and no clear understanding of one another. It also doesn't value how some technologies can actually help. Expand
  12. May 27, 2014
    3
    Transcendence tries too hard to be a thought provoking techno thriller but gets entangled with itself due to its confusing plot, lack of characterization and slow pacing.
  13. May 25, 2014
    4
    This is not worth a trip to the cinema like I did, but maybe worth a watch on a lonely rainy day. It became quite long winded and towards the end I was just waiting for the film to end so I could seek entertainment elsewhere.
  14. Jun 15, 2014
    0
    A sort of Transcendence did occur
    the kind that winds up me cursing
    at how lamb Johnny Depp films have been since he had kids.
    Can't wait for his plastic enlightenment period to end so the
    guy can get his hands dirty, this script was a joke.
  15. Jul 1, 2014
    4
    This film had a good story and some great actors, but it didn't reach out to all the potential. The main problems here are, to me, the dumb dialogue (which is filled with probably misused technical terms to make it sound smart) and the focusing, in the plot, on uninteresting folds of the matter, such as the conflict between Depp and Rebecca Hall, and the righteousness of the terrorist organisation. I think it would have been a more interesting film if it had focused more on the skills of the machine, maybe expanding its healing power to the outer world, rather than have it closed in an underground laboratory.

    The cinematography and the special effects are good, and, for once, they're not the main feature of a sci-fi. There are some glorious visual moments, like the solar panel field. The acting is fine, even if by now we are used to a more eclectic Johnny Depp. As I said, the dialogue and the plot are the main failures here. Too bad they count so much.
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  16. Jul 3, 2014
    1
    Big hope from Johnny Depp & Morgan Freeman, but this movie is an fail from start. Have no logical actions in what they want to do. This movie was a big disappointment for me, never want to see much movies like it.
  17. Jul 4, 2014
    4
    This movie fails to bring any answers to the questions that it barely asks. The ridiculous scale of what Will is able to do completely anihilates the credibility of the movie anyway. If the action scenes were well-filmed, it could have been enjoyable. But they're not. And the movie is globally not inventive for a Science Fiction movie.
  18. Jul 8, 2014
    3
    Transcendence is completely incomprehensible with a pace that will put you to sleep. No humor, bland acting make for one serious flawed film that offers nothing but heavy eyelids.
  19. Jul 10, 2014
    0
    I think the most disappointing thing about the film is how freaking anti-climactic it is. Despite an interesting enough plot, You have no emotional investment in this film what so ever. You don't give a crap about the characters because they just go through the motions and there is no real back story to them at all. It's just a painfully straight forward plot that goes through the motions. That's why it's such a disappointing film, So much wasted potential. Expand
  20. Jul 13, 2014
    3
    Terrible movie, nothing new with this.
    The story doesn't evolve, it's boring and way too long not to mention the highly predictable end.
    Good cast but nothing else, nothing stands out in this one.
Metascore
42

Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 45
  2. Negative: 10 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Apr 27, 2014
    50
    Transcendence is a muddle; it takes more creative energy than this to catch up to the present. [28 April 2014, p.86]
  2. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Apr 24, 2014
    20
    Transcendence is the worst, most portentous, and certainly the silliest big-budget science fiction film since the 2008 Keanu Reeves remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still.
  3. Reviewed by: Amon Warmann
    Apr 24, 2014
    40
    While the core concepts of Transcendence and the questions they pose are inherently interesting, the manner in which the themes are explored feels extremely superficial.