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Mixed or average reviews - based on 45 Critics What's this?

User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 217 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: 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. Expand
  • Director: Wally Pfister
  • Genre(s): Action, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Runtime: 119 min
  • More Details and Credits »
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 45
  2. Negative: 10 out of 45
  1. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Apr 17, 2014
    100
    Transcendence is a bold, beautiful, sometimes confounding flight of futuristic speculation firmly rooted in the potential of today’s technology.
  2. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Apr 18, 2014
    63
    Echoing the lessons learned from "HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey," the message of Transcendence is that computers should not be allowed to become sentient.
  3. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Apr 16, 2014
    50
    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.
  4. 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]
  5. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Apr 16, 2014
    40
    While Transcendence has tons of money to spend on unpersuasive digital effects and dronelike music, it shows little interest in exploring the potentially tricky benefits of a computer-enhanced intellect; it’s not even in the enjoyable realm of starkly ridiculous Cold War thrillers like "Colossus: The Forbin" Project.
  6. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Apr 17, 2014
    40
    Transcendence is nowhere near as elegant, witty, or insightful as "Her." Pfister and the screenwriter, Jack Paglen, grapple ponderously, sometimes oafishly, with the ethical and philosophical issues at stake in the film’s premise.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 17, 2014
    20
    Ambitious to a fault, this cautionary fantasy about artificial intelligence has so much on its muddled mind, and so little sense of dramatic grounding, that it grows ever more preposterous before lurching to a climax that's utterly unfathomable.

See all 45 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 72
  2. Negative: 17 out of 72
  1. Apr 19, 2014
    10
    I don't understand why everybody is so negative when it comes to Johnny Depp I went into this film with high hopes and it did not disappoint it had what I was looking for a great story with some action and drama as well this film was very interesting to look at with very good visuals and some top notch actors like Morgan Freeman & Cillan Murphy & Paul Bettany comparing such a film like this to others is just plain wrong I found this movie very good 10 out of 10 and one of the most underrated films I've seen this year. Expand
  2. Jul 21, 2014
    10
    Another great Sci-Fi film to add to my favourites; it has a brilliant ensemble cast, this writer, Jack Paglen obviously knows technology, and futurology, and he almost made believe nanotech can be possible irl. the story was fairly simple and not too complex. I love the very last scene, it made me cry happy tears. Expand
  3. Apr 21, 2014
    9
    I think this was an excellent film. I went for two reasons. The cast was interesting (and didn’t disappoint), and some critics I trust (most of the time) came in late in the review cycle with “green” level reviews. This movie was neither mindless action nor space opera. It had ideas, which were worked out in a coherent way. My friends and I debated these ideas within the context of the film long after the film was over. But even though it had ideas, this was not a boring film. I fall asleep easily at the movies, even when I have had a good night’s sleep, and this movie held my attention on all levels – ideas and story – throughout. Maybe this film will turn out to be an “Alien” – a movie a lot of critics hated when it debuted (including Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert), but came to consider a classic many years later. I don’t think Transcendence is as great or as original as Alien, but it is a film that should have gotten better reviews than it did and I hope will gain more appreciation in the future. Expand
  4. Jul 22, 2014
    6
    Well it's worth a watch it does leave a lot to be desired. The cast is top notch and for the most part they live up to their talent but the story just fails to make it better then okay. B- Expand
  5. Apr 22, 2014
    5
    Batman Beyond did an episode like this something like 15 years ago. I would watch that instead. Actually, do yourself a favor and just go watch the whole show. I think it's still on Netflix. Expand
  6. 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
    Expand
  7. 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.
    Expand

See all 72 User Reviews

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