You can feel this movie's attempts at Big Ideas about technology get weighed down by a dopey, nonsensical plot.
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Despite its looks, talent and pedigree, Transcendence never becomes the movie it could have been.
Jack Paglen’s script casts artificial intelligence and its dangers as the central trouble for its ensemble cast, but Pfister chooses to explore it in essentially a two-hour “getting ready” montage.
Wally Pfister, best known until now as the cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's big films, makes his directorial debut here, and as dumb as Paglen's script is, Pfister seems to have no feeling whatsoever for the staging of sequences or for any sort of dramatic narrative momentum.
While never as dynamically involving as Christopher Nolan's "Inception," for which longtime Nolan director of photography Pfister justifiably won an Oscar, Transcendence still grapples with provocative existential concepts in similarly thoughtful terms.
Lethargic direction, bland visuals, credulity-straining plotting and tin-eared dialogue turn even pros like Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany and Morgan Freeman into sleepwalking bores.
A pointless nightmare of pretentious science fiction twaddle with no plot, no coherence and no heart.
This thoughtful but windy and winded sci-fi thriller shortchanges the science – understandably - and the thrills. The directing debut of “Dark Knight” cinematographer Wally Pfister is a mopey affair with indifferent performances, heartless romance and dull action. It transcends nothing.
There are intriguing, half-formed ideas afoot in Transcendence, but the script and Pfister’s heavy, humorless direction tend to reduce everything to simplistic standoffs between good and evil.
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.