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Transcendence (2014)



Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 192
Fresh: 36 | Rotten: 156

In his directorial debut, ace cinematographer Wally Pfister remains a distinctive visual stylist, but Transcendence's thought-provoking themes exceed the movie's narrative grasp.


Average Rating: 4.5/10
Critic Reviews: 45
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 39

In his directorial debut, ace cinematographer Wally Pfister remains a distinctive visual stylist, but Transcendence's thought-provoking themes exceed the movie's narrative grasp.



liked it
Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 58,864

My Rating

Movie Info

Sci-Fi Thriller. 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


Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Jack Paglen

Jul 22, 2014


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (192) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (36) | Rotten (156) | DVD (2)

The movie is rhythmless, shapeless, and, with the exception of a few shots, cheesy-looking.

May 5, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

April 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

April 21, 2014 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"Transcendence" is a moronic stew of competing impulses - bad science meets bad sociology meets bad theology ...

April 20, 2014 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those "control technology or it will control you" sermons that nonetheless enlists the usual heap of technically advanced special effects.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Grantland
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is not only a bad film, it is a rather boring film.

August 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Forbes

Just think of junk like "Lawnmower Man," and "The Mangler 2," and you pretty much sum up what director Wally Pfister tries to pass off as a sophisticated techno-thriller.

July 31, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Ambitious, but poorly realized, "Transcendence" is a movie with forward-thinking ideas that fails to gel as a narrative.

July 26, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Chambers
Movie Chambers

While Transcendence starts out with a fascinating premise, it loses its way pretty quickly by turning into a sappy and ultimately silly film that isn't able to capitalize on the lofty ideas contained within.

July 21, 2014 Full Review Source:

Parece năo fazer a menor ideia acerca das ideias que pretende defender, dos conceitos que quer apresentar ou mesmo da natureza de seus próprios personagens.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinema em Cena
Cinema em Cena

With its overriding fears of artificial intelligence and technology in general, "Transcendence" feels like it was made at least 15 years too late.

June 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

"'Transcendence' winds up being in the position of being the first - but certainly not the last - big disappointment of the 2014 Summer Movie Season."

May 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Cinephiled

Transcendence neither thrills nor illuminates. In fact in many respects it is downright cowardly in its failure to pursue its many themes, with threads of ideas never woven into a whole.

May 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

Here's yet another example of a high-concept mega-movie that appears to have gone into production a draft or two too early.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: 3AW

It is streets ahead of most of what we get that is labeled science fiction. It's intelligent. It explains its premise -- within reason. Its dialogue isn't chuckleheaded.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Nevertheless, Transcendence is superior to most other sci-fi films these days; it's briskly paced, consummately made and never boring. Puzzling and occasionally challenging it may be, but it's made with style and imagination.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: The Australian
The Australian

Transcendence is a film where, when the world's first ever human brain upload doesn't work, the people responsible fix it by turning the computer off and on again.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

With a script as loopy as this one, it pays to cast intelligent-looking actors. They can delude you into feeling as if you're watching something interesting.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

With actors this good, we'll go almost anywhere, even unto that silliness.

May 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

built on a set of intriguing moral and ethical conundrums involving our relationship with rapidly evolving computer technology, but it finds virtually no dramatic traction

May 1, 2014 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

A relatively entertaining way to upload your consciousness for 119 minutes.

April 30, 2014 Full Review Source:

Transcendence is a movie without villains, thrills or, after Nolan fanboys show up, much of an audience.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source: Tampa Bay Times
Tampa Bay Times

What an empty and misguided movie this is.

April 29, 2014 Full Review Source:

[A] pallid and self-serious genre trifle.

April 28, 2014 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

Audience Reviews for Transcendence

Johnny Depp likes to play off beat characters. In "Transcendence" he plays an A.I. researcher who dies, who then has his mind put into an A.I. program and he ultimately wants to play god. This reminded me a lot of "Lawnmower Man", now I can be off with that because it's been forever since I've seen that. But it has a very similar vibe to it. There are flashes here of brilliance, but overall, the movie never works like it should. Can't quite put my finger on it as to why either. Has a good cast with Depp, Morgan Freeman, Paul Bettany, and Rebecca Hall. The story is decent enough, but jump something about the execution of it all had me shrugging my shoulders going "meh". It's not something I'll probably ever feel an urge to revisit, but I can see how some people would enjoy it. Interesting movie, but just didn't work for me.
August 27, 2014
Everett Johnson

Super Reviewer

Transcendence is a decent film that could have been so much more. The result that is displayed here is a film that is quite ambitious, but you feel that the film a bit lacking and it should have been better of course. The idea is great, and to be honest, I liked the film, but it did fall short of what it could have been. The film isn't as bad as what everyone says, but I'll admit that the script could have been tighter and more polished before being given a green light. This is an average Sci Fi film that has some good performances and it does work at time. However in other scenes, you are left wanting much more depth to the story and by the time the credits roll, you feel that there is a definite room for improvement. Now, is it a mess, it isn't, Transcendence is a bit underrated to be honest, and for what it is, it's entertaining. However, like I stated before, this film should have been great considering the talent involved in the project and some terrific ideas that unfortunately never seem to come to absolute fruition. I think it's a good effort, and I can understand why it got some flack, but there are far worst films out there that have come out this year such as I, Frankenstein. I would say that the best way to enjoy the film is to keep your expectation really in between, and you might like it, but you're surely going to feel that this film needed something more when the credits end. Transcendence is not great, but it's not bad either. I enjoyed the film, and it had some interesting moments. One must wonder if there would have been more effective thrills if the script would have been rewritten a few times.
August 11, 2014
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Transcendence starts with a bang but ends up a mess of bad science and bad execution. It wants you to think about the relationship between humans and computers; namely, if a computer can manipulate nano-technology to make people stronger but ultimately place them under its control at will, is this a good thing or a bad thing? The problem is once you start thinking about it, nothing will make any sort of sense.
The script is underwhelming, with so many potentially key moments being glossed over to cram in other ideas. And the director, Wally Pfister (Chris Nolan's cinematographer of choice) does not have the experience or the ability to bring all these ideas together. The film looks great, but it was clearly brought into production less than half thought out.
July 14, 2014

Super Reviewer

Unfocussed on it's story and pretty much every theme it is trying to explore, "Transcendence" is one of the most confusing films I have seen in a very long time. The first 30 minutes of the film seems interesting and simple enough, but once the main event occurs and sends the story into full swing, it becomes so convoluted in it's messages that I became very lost. There were quite a few times where I had to stop and think about certain aspects, because they had not been set up beforehand and it seemed like it was being made up as they went along. The cast is top-notch, but not even they can save this sloppy script from falling apart on screen. From it's poor writing, to it's unfocussed narrative, to it's overly ambitious plot, "Transcendence" could have been great, but it ended up being one of the worst films of 2014!
July 3, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Agent Buchanan: Your Determined To Stop Any Attempt At What You Call Transcedence.
    – Submitted by joseph j (2 months ago)
    1. Dr. Will Caster: We're not going to fight them we're going to transcend them.
    – Submitted by joseph j (2 months ago)
    1. Evelyn: We can upload his consciousness. We can save him...
    2. Max Waters: Not like this... Assuming that this works, if we miss anything, a thought, a childhood memory, how would you know whom we're dealing with?
    – Submitted by Lorand K (3 months ago)
    1. Evelyn: It is you.
    2. Dr. Will Caster: It always was.
    3. Evelyn: I?m sorry I didn?t believe.
    – Submitted by Kristína C (4 months ago)
    1. Dr. Will Caster: You?re surprised to see me, Joseph?
    2. Joseph Tagger: Hmmm, that depends. Can you prove that you are self-aware?
    3. Dr. Will Caster: Well that?s an interesting question. Can you prove to me that you are?
    – Submitted by Kristína C (4 months ago)
    1. Max Waters: I'll need to put a few more guys on this job.
    – Submitted by Paul S (4 months ago)
View all quotes (15)

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