Transcendence 2014

Critics score:
19 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Christy Lemire, When it's all over, you will turn on your iPhone and ask Siri to find you a good restaurant for a bite to eat near the theater. And you will have learned nothing. Read more

Wesley Morris, Grantland: Transcendence doesn't induce paranoia, wonder, or suspense. It's the most incurious film you could make about something as simultaneously preposterous and promising as Johnny Depp the Internet. Read more

Lou Lumenick, New York Post: It's not a horrible premise for a movie, but the execution is exceedingly trite and sloppy. Read more

Rex Reed, New York Observer: What fresh hell is this? Read more

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal: 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. Read more

Soren Anderson, Seattle Times: "Transcendence" traffics in a lot of interesting ideas, but does so in unoriginal ways. Read more

Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine: Clever ideas early on go rogue, or go missing, in the gallop toward an action-film climax that then, perversely, doesn't materialize. The movie's intelligence is artificial, its affect solemn. Read more

Scott Foundas, Variety: "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. Read more

A.A. Dowd, AV Club: The film rages, dully and impotently, against a future that has more or less already arrived. Read more

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic: Wally Pfister's film tries to ask big questions but isn't smart enough to answer them. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: How can you tell a movie is the directorial debut of a renowned cinematographer? When everything's interesting to look at except the performances. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: After an intriguing start, "Transcendence" - aka "The Computer Wore Johnny Depp's Tennis Shoes" - offers roughly the same level of excitement as listening to hold music during a call to tech support. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: Moderately entertaining, periodically draggy. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: The question of whether we're too tied to technology and when or if it will prove our downfall is undoubtedly important and probably somewhat pressing. It certainly deserves a better movie than "Transcendence." Read more

Cary Darling, Fort Worth Star-Telegram/ In his first film as director, acclaimed cinematographer Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) has made a movie that predictably looks good but has little substance beneath its shiny, digitally enhanced surface. Read more

Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: The script by first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen is so full of half-explained cyber-nonsense and wheezy, kneejerk man-vs.-technology cliches, it borders on the ludicrous. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: An ambitious and provocative piece of work that is intriguingly balanced between being a warning and a celebration. Read more

Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News: While its discussions about supercomputers, transcendence and god complexes send red flags flying about the near future, the story's mainframe is faultily wired and in need of repair. Read more

Rene Rodriguez, Miami Herald: Aside from a few scenes where he's walking around in a suit, Depp could have shot in his living room while instant-messaging his agent about the next Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Read more

David Thomson, The New Republic: The poster for the film begs for a counter-punch: printed over a gloomy close-up of Depp there is the warning, "Yesterday Dr. Will Caster Was Only Human." To which we might add, "And the Day Before Johnny Depp was an Actor." Read more

Rafer Guzman, Newsday: Drags science fiction back to the Cold War era, if not the Stone Age. Read more

David Denby, New Yorker: The movie is rhythmless, shapeless, and, with the exception of a few shots, cheesy-looking. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: "Transcendence" never grapples with the concepts it introduces, sticking to an absolute-genius-corrupts-absolutely plot that was old back in the first season of "Star Trek," and ending with a muffled whimper. Read more

Ian Buckwalter, NPR: Transcendence has hints of a richly complex story, but too often feels content just dumping the pieces of its puzzle out on the table without doing much assembly - or even making sure all the pieces are even there. Read more

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News: Transcendence is a movie that's of two minds. It's well-grounded, but also over the top. It's a man-vs.-machine epic and also an intimate drama. It's quirky-smart yet sci-fi silly. And it winds up being half as good as it could be. Read more

Manohla Dargis, New York Times: A dark, lurchingly entertaining pastiche of age-old worries, future-shock jolts, hot-button topics and old-fashioned genre thrills. Read more

Michael Sragow, Orange County Register: It's a good thing this movie isn't called "Coherence." Read more

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer: Soon the worlds of technology and humanity collide - super-medicine, super-intelligence, super-ecosystems, super-confusing! Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: Unfortunately, it takes more than grand concepts to make a movie and the lack of cinematic connective tissue is apparent in this poorly focused, meandering, and ultimately disappointing film. Read more

Richard Roeper, Richard Bold, beautiful, sometimes confounding flight of futuristic speculation firmly rooted in the potential of today's technology. Read more

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: Remember when paycheck-hungry actors were accused of phoning in a performance? Johnny Depp spins that for millennials in Transcendence by Skpying in his performance. Read more

Andrew O'Hehir, "Transcendence" is a moronic stew of competing impulses - bad science meets bad sociology meets bad theology ... Read more

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle: The directorial debut for ace cinematographer Wally Pfister is always watchable, but the narrative flaws and logical leaps sabotage sustained enjoyment. "Transcendence" looks and sounds like a Christopher Nolan film that got attacked by malware. Read more

Dana Stevens, Slate: Transcendence is fairly ridiculous, but some may prefer its grand, loopy ambition to the small-minded sameness of so many futuristic thrillers. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: In his first, and likely last, outing as a director, cinematographer Wally Pfister delivers a garbled, dispiriting, pseudo-cerebral non-thriller. Read more

Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Transcendence" is an ambitious movie, but ultimately there's too much "artificial" and not enough "intelligence." Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: Lost in the land of mind over matter, Transcendence is too much trance and not nearly enough dance. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: Includes some genuine chemistry between Depp and Hall, which puts heart and soul into this machine. Read more

Alonso Duralde, TheWrap: A sleek, smart techno-thriller loaded with interesting ideas - until it stops being any of those things. Read more

Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out: 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. Read more

Claudia Puig, USA Today: A far-fetched, futuristic snooze-fest that often defies its own logic. Characters' motivations are rarely clear, and allegiances shift with no explanation. Read more

Jake Coyle, Associated Press: "Transcendence" is clunky and lifeless. It's like the movie version of a paranoid TED talk. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice: One of those "control technology or it will control you" sermons that nonetheless enlists the usual heap of technically advanced special effects. Read more

Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine/Vulture: As a human tragedy of man and monster, of beauty and beast, it has just enough genuine pathos that you wish it were better. Read more

Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post: The real trouble with "Transcendence" is that it just isn't all that scary - at least not in the way that it wants to be. Read more