[Review] Great effects, terrible story

By YP Cadet Dhruv Singh
By YP Cadet Dhruv Singh |

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A star-studded cast and a thought-provoking premise aren't enough to keep Transcendence from falling short, as first-time director Wally Pfister fails to hold together an underdeveloped plot.

Will Caster (Johnny Depp) and his wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), have created a supercomputer that contains limitless knowledge and experiences emotions. During a conference, in which the couple appeals to potential investors, Will is shot by an extremist group who believes his efforts may fall into the wrong hands and endanger Earth's future. Will survives, but soon learns he has only a month to live - it turns out that the bullet was laced with radiation.

Before Will dies, however, his wife uploads his consciousness to the supercomputer, where it soon "transcends" the machine's content and abilities. Evelyn plugs him into the internet so he can grow his knowledge.

Max Waters (Paul Bettany), Will's best friend and colleague, questions the ethics of Evelyn's decision, so she makes him leave. He is kidnapped by the group that shot Will, and persuaded to join them and work to destroy Will. Meanwhile, the government, scared of what Will's technology might do, sets out to do the same.

The movie features dazzling cinematography and appealing sci-fi cinematography, but technical marvels can only take a weak storyline so far.