Transcendence

transcendence peter travers

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. After a few brief scenes in the flesh as Dr. Will Caster, the foremost expert in Artificial Intelligence, Depp virtually disappears. Before poison kills Dr. Will, he downloads everything he knows and feels into a computer. So when his loyal wife (the talented but criminally wasted Rebecca Hall) misses him, she just logs on and voila, it's digital Depp. Not much warmth there. You can't spoon with a laptop. I don't know what debuting director Wally Pfister, a gifted cinematographer in his films with Christopher Nolan, was hoping to extract from the surprise-free script by Jack Paglen. But all I can cull is: don't mess with Mother Nature and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Fortune-cookie stuff. Erase All.