Tuesday, September 9, 2014

One Minute Movie Review: Transcendence

This is an excellent example of the importance of why many Sci-Fi films fail time and time again.   As an Uber Fan Boy of this genre for over 33 years, especially the more cerebral fare, when telling such imaginatively strange stories they must be, even in the most minor way, believable to the mainstream avoiding the trappings of becoming encumbered in either the director or writer's message, tech, perspective, or ideology.    Whether driven by a conceptual prophecy, political dissent, morality play or futuristic warning, if the propaganda eclipses the storytelling, depth or authenticity of the characters, and/or relate-ability of the plot itself it will fail.  If the scientific exploration, spiritual, psychological and/or philosophical expression, Avant-garde presentation, or explanation of  the technology introduced or examined moves from intriguing and engaging to overbearing sermon, self-indulgent art-show,  and/or outright lecture, no matter how talented the actors are or how well the script is written and performed, a possible extraordinary cinematic journey becomes a tedious, burdensome dead end with all of the time spent communicating the production's purpose simply lost in translation.    And, unfortunately, despite possessing two of my favorite thespians, top notch character players; this feature is immediately crippled thanks to the aforementioned Achilles’ heel.   It starts strong, a bit of a logical stretch, but I was willing to work with it.  By mid-section, the intellectual fabric of the story, so carefully woven in the beginning, begins to fully unravel, trying too much to be an abstract metaphor about dissecting religion, justifying terrorism, government corruption, and the dangers of technological dependence.  None of which stick because the recipe never cohesively evolves thanks to an over indulgence of disconnected ingredients.   They just spread the concepts so far they become transparently thin.  This is director Wally Pfister's first outing, and with the disastrous box office returns, it may be his last.  0 out of 5 Kernels;  in this, as in many other cases of Hollywood of late, proves that high priced star power is never a solution to save a poor production, sometimes studios need to pull the proverbial plug and transcend to another more potentially successful project.  But do the Tinsel Town elite even know what that looks like anymore?

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