Transcendence Blu-Ray Review

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The Movie: 4/10
I don’t like to not like a movie. I always try to find stuff I do like, and sometimes it’s a fun challenge. I had no expectations of Transcendence, no idea what it was about and the only thing I did know was that Johnny Depp is in it because of the cover. The title gave me a bit of a tingle, I like that kind of vibe. Depp is fine with me, so I settled in for a neutral movie watching experience. If it were to follow-up on the tingle from the title, all would be well with the world. The world crumbled.

The story is OK, if not slightly boring. A world tormented by artificial intelligence, technology gone wild. It’s fun to see the different ideas people have for what that kind of future might look like so that aspect is interesting enough. The problems come with the poor dialog, the poor writing, the absent performances, crappy special effects, and uncrafty polish on what could be a good overall flick. No polish.

I don’t know what else to say. The concept of a dude being a genius AI expert and his scientific wife and their scientific friend participating in this possible threat to all humanity NOT really threatening all of humanity falls very short. The claustrophobia of it strangles a lot of the life right out of the whole thing. I am not convinced that this digital menace can do much damage to the WHOLE WORLD. I see no evidence of this. They do nothing to show the impact of anything that happens on anyone or anywhere beyond the small town we encounter along the way. These are more like plot cracks, I know, but that’s what makes Transcendence a fail for me….and that sucks!! I don’t like not like movies, did I make that clear? It disappoints me more to not like a movie than the movie being unsatisfying actually disappoints me.

If The Last of Us, a video game, can give me the feeling that the WHOLE world is in danger and humanity is at risk, why can’t this movie? If a TV show like The Walking Dead convinces me with the hints about the whole human population being zombified, why can’t this movie do something similar? I hate to say it, but it might be the first time director, the lack of confidence in his own vision, or they might not have given him the right ideas about casting and budget. There is absolutely no need for Morgan Freeman or Cillian Murphy to be in this move, and for that matter, Depp could be left out for my taste in this instance. Give me a cast of people who commit with some enthusiasm, a director who wants to be a bit wacky with such a wacky concept, and you might be giving me a better movie.

Features: 5/10

  • What Is Transcendence? – A EPK style featurette with very little insight into the actual film, running time is approximately 5 minutes.
  • Wally Pfister A Singular Vision – This is Pfister’s first film and this three-minute featurette tries to cram a lot of information into its painfully short run-time.
  • Guarding The Threat – Basically the trailer to the movie with some talking heads interspersed at random intervals.
  • The Promise Of AI – A three-minute look at how close we really are to the technology used in the movie.
  • Viral Videos – Kate Mara tells you to unplug from the net then offers you a URL for more information.
  • DVD & UV Digital Copy

Cover Art and Menus: 3/10
It really doesn’t matter, but no, I would not have this cover as a poster and the menu is nothing more than navigation.

Audio & Video: 6/10
A bit of a lackluster 1080p transfer using the now standard AVC codec. The problems are mostly confined to the first half of the film where black crush, ringing and some form of DNR seems to introduced. There are some scenes that are so dark it’s actually hard to tell who you are looking at. This may be the director of photography’s vision but with other masterworks like the dark knight coming from him I find that hard to believe.

Audio fares much better with a right up to date dialog prioritized dynamic track. Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 this is an impressive track with lots of thunder in the subwoofer when needed and lots of subtle surround effects. If I had to nitpick Mychael Danna’s score is a little overzealous in the third act but you probably won’t notice alongside the bullets and explosions.

Overall Score 5/10