Transcendence - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Transcendence Reviews

Top Critic
David Denby
New Yorker
May 5, 2014
The movie is rhythmless, shapeless, and, with the exception of a few shots, cheesy-looking.
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 24, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Christy Lemire
ChristyLemire.com
April 21, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
April 20, 2014
"Transcendence" is a moronic stew of competing impulses - bad science meets bad sociology meets bad theology ...
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Village Voice
April 18, 2014
One of those "control technology or it will control you" sermons that nonetheless enlists the usual heap of technically advanced special effects.
Top Critic
Wesley Morris
Grantland
April 18, 2014
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.
Top Critic
Chris Nashawaty
Entertainment Weekly
April 18, 2014
The script by first-time screenwriter Jack Paglen is so full of half-explained cyber-nonsense and wheezy, kneejerk man-vs.-technology clichés, it borders on the ludicrous.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
April 18, 2014
Moderately entertaining, periodically draggy.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Top Critic
David Thomson
The New Republic
April 18, 2014
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."
Top Critic
Bilge Ebiri
New York Magazine/Vulture
April 18, 2014
As a human tragedy of man and monster, of beauty and beast, it has just enough genuine pathos that you wish it were better.
Top Critic
Mara Reinstein
Us Weekly
April 18, 2014
Depp appears mostly from the waist-up on a computer screen, mumbling in a monotone voice that would lull a cup of coffee to sleep.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Peter Hartlaub
San Francisco Chronicle
April 18, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
April 18, 2014
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."
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 18, 2014
Soon the worlds of technology and humanity collide - super-medicine, super-intelligence, super-ecosystems, super-confusing!
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
April 18, 2014
Lost in the land of mind over matter, Transcendence is too much trance and not nearly enough dance.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper.com
April 17, 2014
Bold, beautiful, sometimes confounding flight of futuristic speculation firmly rooted in the potential of today's technology.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
April 17, 2014
An ambitious and provocative piece of work that is intriguingly balanced between being a warning and a celebration.
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
April 17, 2014
Transcendence is fairly ridiculous, but some may prefer its grand, loopy ambition to the small-minded sameness of so many futuristic thrillers.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 17, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
New York Times
April 17, 2014
A dark, lurchingly entertaining pastiche of age-old worries, future-shock jolts, hot-button topics and old-fashioned genre thrills.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 17, 2014
Includes some genuine chemistry between Depp and Hall, which puts heart and soul into this machine.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
April 17, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/10
Top Critic
Cary Darling
Fort Worth Star-Telegram/DFW.com
April 17, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
April 17, 2014
How can you tell a movie is the directorial debut of a renowned cinematographer? When everything's interesting to look at except the performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 17, 2014
In his first, and likely last, outing as a director, cinematographer Wally Pfister delivers a garbled, dispiriting, pseudo-cerebral non-thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Michael Sragow
Orange County Register
April 17, 2014
It's a good thing this movie isn't called "Coherence."
Full Review | Original Score: C+
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
April 17, 2014
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.
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 17, 2014
A far-fetched, futuristic snooze-fest that often defies its own logic. Characters' motivations are rarely clear, and allegiances shift with no explanation.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Rafer Guzman
Newsday
April 17, 2014
Drags science fiction back to the Cold War era, if not the Stone Age.
Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
April 17, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
April 17, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
April 17, 2014
"Transcendence" is an ambitious movie, but ultimately there's too much "artificial" and not enough "intelligence."
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Matt Zoller Seitz
RogerEbert.com
April 17, 2014
It's fine to want to explore and just sort of kick ideas around. Too often, though, the movie doesn't feel ambiguous or complicated, merely muddled and wishy-washy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
April 17, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
April 17, 2014
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.
Top Critic
A.A. Dowd
AV Club
April 17, 2014
The film rages, dully and impotently, against a future that has more or less already arrived.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 17, 2014
"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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Soren Anderson
Seattle Times
April 17, 2014
"Transcendence" traffics in a lot of interesting ideas, but does so in unoriginal ways.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
April 16, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
April 16, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 16, 2014
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
April 16, 2014
Wally Pfister's film tries to ask big questions but isn't smart enough to answer them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
April 16, 2014
It's not a horrible premise for a movie, but the execution is exceedingly trite and sloppy.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Rex Reed
New York Observer
April 16, 2014
What fresh hell is this?
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
April 16, 2014
"Transcendence" is clunky and lifeless. It's like the movie version of a paranoid TED talk.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Eric Kohn
indieWIRE
April 16, 2014
"Transcendance" offers a keen look at the dangers of relying too heavily on computers for interacting with society.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
Variety
April 16, 2014
"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.
Top Critic
Alonso Duralde
TheWrap
April 15, 2014
A sleek, smart techno-thriller loaded with interesting ideas - until it stops being any of those things.