Transcendence's story started out quite brilliantly with the fast setup that gracefully feels like a casual thriller from the 80s. It is filled with short yet effective TED chatters that give away some form of an idea of what is about to come. In reality, the movie conceals the most cliché aspect of any techno-thriller with the emergence of the story element that will pit one particular resilient group that stood up against the advancement of, in this case, the artificial intelligence (AI) in the most traditional way yet reasonable logic. But then, as suspected from the trailer, the movie may turns out to be a clear indication of allowing technology to run on our behalf. The plot may not have heavy resemblance to the things like Sentinels from The Matrix or Skynet from Terminators, but it consistently gearing up to that path.
Up to this point, there isn’t much to hate on those story idea. Pfister uses his expertise in crafting a world with bold and beautiful. But as it turns out, the movie material does not hold on long and the plot starts to muddle once the emergence of AI as both the savior and villain comes alive. Against all odds, the crazy experiment of uploading Johnny Depp into the machine rings a bell of success but is also a catalyst of self-demolishing that turns into a messy B-grader flick. The whole resistance movement story is now relegated to become second fielder and having Depp commandeering a numbing AI-thought is far from comforting at all.
Whose fault is it that this movie fails to deliver? It could be the screenwriter Jack Paglen who overdoes the tricks by lambasting so much but cares little to elaborate. At times, the relevance of the whole concert is glitch with plenty of plot holes all over. Or it could simply because of the fallacy of logic or silly empowerment to think that AI is for all. But what matters the most is that Transcendence loses you halfway, fail to impress upon its earlier concept and momentously goes downhill with bad script. After all, Transcendence is an amalgamation of bad sociology and bad science fiction.