Draggy science fiction tale

Transcendence Warner Bros. Rating: PG 119 minutes

There’s been a lot of hype about Transcendence, but it’s failing to deliver at the box office despite a good cast and an interesting plot. It doesn’t help that the opening tips us off about the ending.

Paul Bettany’s character shows us a changed world, where laptops and cellphones don’t work any more. So how did that happen? Bettany’s character proceeds to tell us how Johnny Depp, playing a brainy researcher into artificial intelligence, along with his wife (Rebecca Hall), got the world into this mess.

A group of terrorists led by Kate Mara fear technology is taking over the world, so they destroy most of the world’s most advanced labs and shoot Depp with a poison bullet. He doesn’t die for a few weeks, giving Hall and his friend Bettany time to transfer his brain into a new experimental computer system. That done, Depp’s brain starts to take over the Internet, while making a fortune on Wall Street and building a secret complex in the desert. Soon Bettany, kidnapped by the terrorists, and the powers that be, including tech whiz Freeman and policeman Cilian Murphy, are all trying to stop Depp.

There are some interesting ideas here about technology ruling more of our lives. The cast is generally good despite a mediocre script. But the movie lacks credibility and while it looks good, it doesn’t really have much substance. Indeed, sometimes it is draggy and boring, but Depp’s fans should enjoy it.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.