Cheating and trekking. Should be a mixed bag..
Reviews coming up, stay tuned!
Earth. The near-future. A catastrophic war has destroyed the entire world.
In a small world divided by factions, a certain young woman discovers she is ‘Divergent’ – and she won’t fit in anywhere. But when she also uncovers a plot to destroy all humans who are Divergent, Tris must find out what makes this category of human so dangerous – before she herself, is destroyed..
Veronica Roth’s bestselling novel is brought to the big screen in this post-apocalyptic adaptation.
Shailene Woodley – Tris
Theo James – Four
Ashley Judd – Natalie
Jai Courtney – Eric
Ray Stevenson – Marcus
Zoë Kravitz - Christina
As the movie opened, I uttered the word “wow” – the graphics had already won me over.
What were the previous skyscrapers of Chicago had become derelict, unoccupied shells with gigantic whirring fans stuck on the side – and cables hanging between each building. A town within a town, small houses (literally concrete square blocks) are dotted around a section of the Chicago area, giving the habitat an otherworldly appearance. A bloody MASSIVE fence secures the perimeter of ‘Old Chicago’ which seems to be buzzing (clearly electric, so that any intruder who tries scaling it gets their fanny cooked).
On the other side of the fence is ‘what was’ – basically the remnants of a war-torn Earth. Not much over there really – just an old cruise liner covered in mould. The graphics weren’t groundbreaking, but were effective enough. I wanted more though – in particular, more focus on the outside world. Divergent used limited imagination by having the cast running arond the inside of warehouse-type training grounds and refugee areas, never elaborating on ‘that world out there‘.
In a sense, the director didn’t give a shit; didn’t feel the need to explain the preceding events leading up to the creation of this new world. The movie just opens with Beatrice announcing, “there was a war. After this..”
Its the same in nearly every teenage futuristic flick isn’t it: the female protagonist undertakes a journey, encountering various personalitites along the way – one of them being a hunky yet aggressive male she despises.. yet just cannot stop herself opening her heart and yanking down her knickers for him.
Its mad – watching a female being treated like shit by the aggressive guy, yet still she falls for him, because “deep down, he’s not a bad person. He’s been hurt”..
Sadly though, this type of façade happens in real life; the guy is a total wanker yet the girl stays with him – because he’s hot? Or because he’s got control of her? No idea, but its bloody boring to watch. When Trice meets Four, it is clear he is closed off and nasty. This is proven at the dinner table one night during her first few days in Dauntless, when she says something to him and he turns around and asks who gave her permission to speak to him.
..later on in the movie (Four now familiar with Trice but still a little cold) he tries to help her solve the ‘challenges’ the way a Dauntless would. A split-second scene sees Trice slice her hand and Four help patch her up;
- she lays her hand on top of his –
- he looks up at her –
- she looks away quickly.. -
..I rolled my eyes.
It’s obvious isn’t it. Every bloody time, there has to be a sexual tension between the male and female – even if they bloody despise each other! This element of teenage movies SORELY gets on my tits. I just can’t fathom why the writer needs a romance / sexual storyline during the story; why the characters can’t just – GET ON WITH WITH WHAT THEY’RE DOING.
I think the only movie I’ve seen where the ‘strong’ female character (who clearly isn’t, and gives in to her bubbling fanny at the slightest wink from the male enemy) is Tomb Raider. Lara Croft – a prime example of a strong, independant female in the movies. She embarks on various missions whilst encountering many characters – including sexy males. But she doesn’t stray from her beliefs so that the sexy man can ‘get his nuts in’. She might pucker up and tease him with a straddle, but that’s about it. She gets on with what she’s supposed to be doing, instead of laying back and spreading her legs.
I therefore conclude that teenage movies are pathetic in displaying their message of “hey girls, screw achieving your goals, just shag the hot dude”. Come on directors, for once – give us a male and female working compassionately together to overcome important obstacles – not working together on the floor, whilst taking part in horizontal folk dancing.
Jesus, even Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley managed to krep it in their pants!
And whilst I’m on the subject of those two..
Divergent mirrored a certain element shown in the story of Harry Potter.
A live process in which city residents who are now of age step up onto a stage in front of hundreds of watchers – the watchers being made up of the five factions – and select which faction he/she wants to be part of. This bit immediately reminded me of the ‘Sorting Hat’ of the Harry Potter stories, where the four houses sit watching the girl or boy be placed in their house. Especially when Erudite leader Jeanine (Winslet) informs Trice that although the aptitude test she must take will decide which faction she belongs in, she can still choose where she wants to belong.
I was instantly reminded of Harry Potter and the conversations between him and Dumbledore about Harry being fit for Slytherin, yet willed the hat to out him in Gryffindor; the whole premise of him being put somewhere but having the option to choose also.
The houses are: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (truthful), Erudite (intelligent) and Dauntless (brave).
Divergent seemed to miss the mark every time with regards to humour.
I noticed a few times, characters delivering dialogue which could have been slick and rather funny if delivered properly.
They were not.
The comedic timing was bloody awful in this movie; one example being the scene where Trice pins her enemy Peter against a wall and raises her gun at him.
“you’re not going to fire” he taunts.
“why do people keep saying that?” she replies, confused.
She delivered this line in such a flat way, with no passion, no tone. A line that could have been very effective if delivered with frustration or humour – but she didn’t. Confused? No. How about angry? “Why?” - no. How about emphasise the “WHY?”
Its not bloody difficult Shailene, just do your job – ACT!
Other flops include the scene where Trice and Four are in an enclosed space with the walls closing in around them. As she faffs around trying to prevent the walls, he mutters, “take your time. I’m just enjoying myself in a shrinking box”.
The joke was on the cast – for not delivering dialogue in the right way. Because if they had just used a bit of sarcasm or dry wit where needed, the movie would have been very effective.
By Christ, he’s a little hottie isn’t he. (OK, its just me).
Proper meathead, this chunky fucker does it for me every time – I can’t explain why because he’s not classically sexy (square head and slightly chubby) but something about him bastes my turkey, I’m telling you..
He plays Eric – the leader of Dauntless. He struts onto the set in a tight leather waistcoat; big muscly arms and a tight package to match. Those trousers were bulging with a fucking DONGER – the second he appeared on screen I uttered, “FAAACKIN’ HELL, PHWOAR”.
I immediately wanted to see him in porn.
He is there to put the new recruits firmly through their paces. And by God, does he. Eric is the most aggressive character in the story, sending each recruit to the brink of death as he sets them tasks to complete. Jai is actually one of the better actors; he delivers his character faultlessly and effectively – if I’m honest he outdoes Shailene by miles, which is bad considering she is the main character, she is Divergent.
I was actually surprised to see his name in the credits, because despite my sexually satisfied reaction, I assumed he was just a random American actor? His image is completely different to what I’ve seen in his previous movies, appearing more ‘moody punk’ than square-headed ‘Polish plumber’.
I tutted at one point.
When Trice enters a hub to complete her aptitude test, she is given a bright blue liquid to drink.
It is a serum which evokes a hallucination in which she has to deal with certain events.
As Tori hands her the glass I rolled my eyes; it was basically a triangular-shaped shot glass, encased in a glass outer shell.
Ok, call me a nit-picking bastard, but – why do they have to overcook the smallest of things in movies? A mundane object such as a glass becomes a triangular art form – yet other mundane objects such as chairs or taps remain exactly how they were back in bloody 2007. Its almost like a forced evolution, the director has to ‘brighten’ the movie up with these random changes.
Just call a spade a spade, and leave a glass a glass for fuck sake.
(on a more random note – I noticed as Trice tips her head back and drinks the serum, she has whiskers. Poor actress should’ve gotten a face wax before filming. As the movie continued, I found myself playing ‘Spot The Facial Hair’ – and I wasn’t disappointed with the results..)
Divergent is great for kids and young teens, despite the sexual tension between the two main characters. Although this tension is present, the only danger for young eyes is Four removing his shirt.
Jai Courtney steals the limelight with his delicious-vicious character, his acting talent is to be applauded especially as it outweighs the main female lead.
Kate Winslet is more of a cameo, although pulls off the ‘bitch’ character brilliantly.
Overall, the story isn’t bad – but it is definitely missing something.
The movie’s main quality is its ability to be wonderfully forgettable. I left the cinema and didn’t give it a second thought.
..there was one thought.
..if I type ‘Jai Courtney nude’ into Google, I wonder if…..
I’m a naughty thing.
A coming-of-age story set in 1980′s Stockholm, which follows two best friends (and their newly recruited Christian acquaintance) as they attempt to form a punk band. Despite being bloody awful.
Director Lukas Moodysson brings a witty script to life performed by three talented young girls.
Mira Barkhammar – Bobo
Mira Grosin – Klara
Liv LeMoyne – Hedvig
Johan Liljemark – Kenneth
Mattias Wiberg – Roger
Jonathan Salomonsson – Ellis
Alvin Strollo – Mackan
What We Are The Best did was bring back feelings; feelings of independence. Freedom. Being happy. Days when the only crucial worry in my life was whom to label as my best friend, or whether or not to advance from Tesco’s own roll-on deodarant to Lynx Atlantis (because then I’d be a man if I used Lynx).
I was an odd kid.
Throughout the movie we see three teenage girls develop their interests in music – more specifically – punk music. Its all very naive and pure. There’s nothing dodgy or dangerous going on here, its simply three friends doing what we as adults nowadays fail spectacularly to do: embrace and enjoy life.
The whole brash attitude of the three girls is wonderful escapism; they go about doing things adults wouldn’t dare. One scene for example, sees the trio stood at the top of a train station escalator, asking each stranger who appears at the top for money. Strangely, this was a breath of fresh air; these days being a fully-grown (albeit 5ft 4) adult – pulling off an act like this wouldn’t even cross my mind. As I sat watching the characters do it, I felt envious – wished I was young again.
..later on, the girls don’t get enough money for a new guitar so their first thought of what to do with the money?.. spend the entire lot on food. They subsequently end up back at Hedvig’s apartment, squeezing chocolate sauce over ice cream whilst dipping potato chips in. This whole naivety, innocence of childhood brought back fond memories for myself as well as being able to lose myself in the escapism of it all. I adored this element of the movie.
They’re bloody fantastic at acting aren’t they. It is literally as if there’s no camera in front of them, their talents are admirable – and these girls were no exception.
Barkhammar, Grosin and LeMoyne deliver the story effortlessly, acting literally as if no camera was filming them. Complete naturals. Another reason why I found it easy to get lost in the action on screen – the authenticity of it was like sitting back and having a reality TV show wash over me. When you look at British TV shows – Outnumbered for example – there is something slightly distant about the children. Oh, they deliver where they’re supposed to of course and make the audience laugh, its just their inability to lie (being just innocent little children) means they can’t ‘lie’ (act) properly for the camera.
But then you have foreign TV shows – where the children have so much passion in their blood, such firm enthusiasm which they channel directly into their performance, and it shows. Note that I’m not labelling all English young actors as distant – but a good percentage are. Why is there such a difference in style between English and foreign child actors? Perhaps there’s something in the water. I mean Christ, look at the difference in overall culture.
Before going to see We Are The Best, I honestly thought the three main characters were boys. I’ve never seen such masculine-looking females (apart from some of the lesbian dynamic I’ve encountered in gay bars which have genuinely frightened me). I know the characters are young teenagers, but I couldn’t believe the issue of them resembling boys never came up.
A scene near the beginning of the movie sees Klara and Bobo sat round a classroom table with two fellow schoolmates; the subject of conversation being the pair’s dated style. I mentioned foreign kids being great performers – even the two schoolmates carry out a natural and realistic display (though they both radiate a sort of shrunken ‘breakfast television presenter’ image). Anyway – the issue of being a ‘tomboy’ never arises, which I was slightly surprised about. At one point of the movie, Bobo moand to Klara, “I’ll never get a boyfriend” – to which I immediately thought, ‘you probably would if you went to a gay bar’.
I found myself cringing in a few places, however enjoyable or endearing the movie was.
And it was all down to Klara. This mohawk-topped youngster was such an unbalanced, in-your-face character that she was often irritating – especially when screaming (yes – actually screaming) “HATE THE SPORT” into a microphone in a way she thought musical.
..she was basically tone deaf and awful.
But the ‘being young and free’ concept outweighed this slight niggle loads. Thank God.
Various shots of the Swedish capital are nicely used throughout the movie. From underground on the Metro to panning across inner-city streets and buildings, you certainly get an eyeful. The scene where Bobo and Klara meet up with their new ‘punk friends’ sees a few of them climb to the top of a very tall building – and from here you get a panoramic view of Stockholm mid-winter. Pink sky and snowfall add to the sleepy atmosphere, which is nice.
We Are The Best is 101 minutes of escapism.
It’s not an Oscar-worthy piece of cinema, but it is watchable and stirs a wonderful feeling of youthfulness during its screen time.
I relished the carefree attitude the production radiated, which dissolved my adult inhibitions for a little while as I remembered how good it felt to be young.
This is one to let wash over you without having to concentrate too hard.
It is subtitled so you can easily follow what’s happening between the characters too.
Give it a go if you like world cinema – you’ll probably enjoy it.
“..I first tasted seamen when I was seven years old”
Yes. This movie was going to be a rather different..
Brendan Gleeson – Father James Lavelle
Kelly Reilly – Fiona Lavelle
Killian Scott – Milo
Aiden Gillen – Dr. Harte
Dylan Moran – Michael Fitzgerald
Domhnall Gleeson – Freddie Joyce
Chris O’Dowd – Jack Brennan
Well. That was a load of tosh.
When I saw the words ‘blackly comic’ announced on the poster for this movie, I was really looking forward to it.
I love dark humour – dry or sarcastic black comedy really does it for me.
However - During Calvary the classic ‘Switching Of The Cheeks’ took place many times, and I found myself starting to get fidgety.
I was bored.
..but there had to be some good elements, no?
What did the movie do right?
Read on to find out…
I can’t fault the script. Honest and witty, it is written very well and although filthy at times, remains observational.
Calvary had the audience laughing out loud – but only a few times. It is one of those movies which plays out as serious (silent audience) then will have some people LOL’ing in a sort of “yes, how very true that is” reaction. I think what made it funny in places was its relateable dialogue and scenarios; situations people in real life can relate to. Even I sat there at one point thinking, “that’s probably how I’d react too”.
The movie continues with Father Lavelle ‘popping in’ on his fellow neighbours (it has to be the smallest community in the world) to see how they are doing, yet is continuously shocked and dumbfounded by what the people are getting up to. That is more or less your story; a priest doing the rounds of neighbour-checking, but getting more than an “amen Father”.
The cast are a varied bunch. Almost a Comedia dell’arte style presentation, each person is defined by his or her characteristics and background.
The wife-beating butcher, the exiled American author, the horny police officer who keeps a rent-boy upstairs, a distrusting doctor, the village slut, a simpleton, alcoholic entrepreneur.. its not exactly Happy Families, but the variety of characteristics are similar. The array of personalities are what shook the movie up a bit – because if they weren’t part of it, the whole thing would have been bloody awful. The cast remain steadfast and effective, helping the movie to move along at even pace.
The scenery was bloody beautiful.
Vast beachfronts and towering green cliffs are just a taster. During Father Lavelle’s visits to neighbours, he wanders onto various plains; an example is when he goes to confront the village slut (who happens to have been used as a punchbag by her current lover). She stands in front of her billowing washing line, clutching a laundry basket – the background consisting of hearty mountains / cliffs and churning sea. And having the gusty wind added a slight spark to the atmosphere.
The stoney village saw rustic old cottages, a pub and hospital being used. Bordering on breathtaking, the locations used included County Sligo, Ardgillan Castle Balbriggan Dublin and Rush, Dublin.
Selling itself as a ‘black comedy’ is like advertising Blue Jasmine as ‘heartbreaking’ – of course it has its moments of sarcasm and sinister wit, but it didn’t quite nail the comedy aspect. It turned out to be more serious than anything. Black comedy was displayed sporadically throughout, but it didn’t appear to be a consistent undercurrent.
Calvary is nowhere near a blockbuster smash. It is not intriguing nor captivating, and has no major elements which make it stand out.
The cast ensemble and array of characters are good – and the scenery plush – but its main feature has to be its honest and forthright script. The dialogue is the best part.
I would liken it to TV shows such as Midsomer Murders, fit for a dull afternoon’s watch of daytime TV – just as long as they remove all filth and swearing.
I’m pretty sure a British housewife would dislike hearing about felching as she’s doing the washing up.
Personally, I couldn’t sit through it again.
Kate and Richard are a respectable couple from Surrey. Wealthy and content with their separate lives, they wave their daughter off as she leaves home for university. And when she makes her departure she can rest assured mum and dad will return to a nice, simple suburban life of gardening, cooking, pilates class..
..fraud. Robbery. Kidnap. Impersonation. Corruption.
Yes. Behind closed doors Kate and Richard appear the perfect suburban couple. But if only their neighbours took a closer look, they might realise all is definitely not what it seems…
Emma Thompson – Kate
Pierce Brosnan – Richard
Celia Imrie – Penelope
Timothy Spall – Jerry
Louise Bourgoin – Bride
That was pretty funny. Not side-splittingly hilarious, but the witty script was delivered in such a comedic way, that it had the audience laughing out loud throughout. (not so) high-speed car chases, hanging from the ledge of a very tall building and wedding-crashing were just a few of the highlights which moved the movie along nicely. Emma does a lot of running around whilst Pierce seems to hover about next to her, mumbling award-winners such as “that’s a brilliant idea darling”.
But the star of the show has to be Celia – I just couldn’t fault her performance at all.
Infiltrating a top-class swanky hotel is just the beginning; the farcical moments flow nicely – ‘one door opens, the other bangs shut, character running down hallway’ – that sort of thing. And the scene when Kate and Richard arrive in Paris was so daft it made me ‘LOL’ heartily; in order to sneak past the security guard of an immaculate tower block, Kate struts toward him – and fakes fainting. And of course, the scene where the couple arrive back at their hotel room after an afternoon of ‘undercover’ work – as Kate comes through the door, she looks horrific; sunburnt beyond belief and hair all over the place, completely unaware of how she looks as she babbles on about what they got up to..
The silliness of The Love Punch is what makes it so enjoyable. I actually found myself embracing the audience’s reaction – they were bloody loving it, laughing out loud heartily at certain scenes. It was hilarious.
Celia Imrie. Comedy personified; a massively underrated British stage and screen actress. She is bloody brilliant – I don’t recognise many actors / actresses out there who can make people laugh with just a simple facial expression.
As Penelope, Celia brings a wonderfully funny streak to the movie – any time she’s on screen something hilarious unfolds. One scene sees the double-couple sat at a restaurant table discussing their plot to steal the diamond. When Jerry suddenly brings a replica gun out from his pocket, Penelope is shocked – but this instantly disappears as adrenaline takes over and she swipes it from him. She slowly rises from her seat, at the same time doing a ‘tough guy’ impression and quoting a line from a movie..
The gun is accidentally fired, everyone in the restaurant screams – and wine seems to be pouring out of a barrell across the room. The gun was not a replica. The sudden shock and surprise from everyone on screen got a brilliantly raucous reception from the cinema audience. The scenario was fucking hilarious!
I think what seals the deal on Celia’s comic genius are her manners; the way she delivers a funny line with a slight smirk on her face – awfully good posture adds to this, giving her the opportunity to pass off a sexual or sarcastic remark with elegance. The woman could look you in the eye and say “fucking cunty bollocks” – yet you would probably laugh – because of the smirky pout on her face and the way she said it.
Like a posh, glamourous old grandma with a potty mouth. Just fantastic.
At the peak of the movie, Kate and Richard, Jerry and Penelope gatecrash a wedding celebration.
They dress as Texans – and the outfits are funny. Like ABBA gone through a washing machine, Emma sports a long, ruffled copper-coloured wig and gorgeous dress. And Celia – my God, the wig is bloody hilarious. Got to love a gatecrashing scene, haven’t you. The whole sneaky feeling of excitement as the character infiltrates a certain place, and has to achieve their goal within a very tight time limit. Naughty but adrenaline-fuelled fun.
This scene reminded me a little of a scenario I took part in once; my friend Holly and I dressed up all swish and tried our best to infiltrate Canary Wharf (the UK equivalent of Wall Street. Sort of).
Our mission was to ‘get in’ with the big boys, see if we could land ourselves a job for one of the swanky companies..
Oh, we got in with them alright..
..thing is, we were drinking very high-quality Champagne known as Mercier and were completely fuck-faced within th first 40 minutes…
So yes, this scene was good. It added to the atmosphere nicely, and perked the movie up at a time when it needed it.
Because there was one slight downfall..
Good GOD, he’s boring is he not?!
I’m sorry to say this movie would have been substantially better – and funnier – without him.
There is nothing naturally funny about him; nothing which stands out or an obvious element which seems to click with the rest of the cast. I know he was famed for playing husky, suited roles such as James Bond (which he did superbly) but these days, directors seem to be shoving him in comedies which don’t do him – or the movie – any justice.
Emma was certainly the stronger of the duo, her energy carrying the feature nicely. Which was a godsend, as Pierce didn’t stand out much. His slightest attempt at delivering a funny line (which done right, could have been hilarious) flopped spectacularly, and with such a lack of enthusiasm on his part that I can only liken it to when you’re a child and an obvious man dressed as Santa Claus screams “YO, HO, HO!” in a way that made you cringe. Sloppy effort, no passion.
Sorry Pierce, it would have been better without you.
The Love Punch lacked something.
An element which if added to the production, could have spun it into a delightful piece of cinema.
Imagine a movie you really enjoyed, watered down: take a few epic one-liner’s out, switch an important cast member with a dull one, interrupt the flow of it slightly.
And you more or less get The Love Punch.
It was funny, enjoyable in parts – but not overly memorable.
What was it that was missing?…
Overall, The Love Punch is a witty ride. A satyrical script whisks it along at steady pace, and it delivers laugh-out-loud moments where it should.
One actor (Brosnan) brings it down, whilst another actor (Imrie) pulls it straight back up again.
Emma Thompson delivered her performance effortlessly as always and was funny, but Celia Imrie overshadowed her by miles.
Don’t expect to be blown away, The Love Punch is no Hollywood box office smasher – but is worth a watch if you’re extremely bored on a wet Sunday afternoon.
Again, Celia Imrie saves the day.
Well done, Celia.
Jerry: “..did you bring the gun?”
Penelope: “no. But I brought sandwiches. Egg-mayo”
Ivan is driving down the M6 from Birmingham to London.
His phone rings.
And his life suddenly falls apart.
Tom Hardy – Ivan Locke
Tom Hardy isn’t literally the only actor in the movie – he is the only actor in the movie.
The entire feature is Ivan driving his car along a motorway, whilst making a (high) number of phone calls to various people he knows.
Almost a fly-on-the-windscreen documentary about what drivers get upto whilst on the road, we watch as he hangs up on one person, then calls another.
The thing is, the phone calls aren’t easy to make – firstly, there is the one he makes to his wife at home informing her that he “won’t be back tonight”..
Everything begins fine, however our main man becomes increasingly distressed as time goes on.
There are tears, anger, all sorts of emotions flying when Ivan speaks to various characters during his 85-minute road journey. All for various reasons.
His job, his marriage, his life are ALL at stake…
..and that’s all you’re getting.
Yes – I’m serious.
This is possibly THE SHORTEST review I’ve written but if I elaborate on what unfolds, then you won’t need to watch the movie.
All I can say is – it was fucking BRILLIANT. For a concept so simple, so neutral, this movie was incredibly involving – having just a singular man on screen mean’t my brain had no choice but to tune in and absorb every bit of dialogue spoken.
..and it was worth every second.
Following radiation poisoning, Will Caster has just weeks to live. His partner Evelyn would do anything to save him – including ‘uploading’ his consciousness to a computer system after his death.
Poor Evelyn. She shouldn’t have tampered with nature. Because nature is about to get its own back. And the results will be cataclysmic…
Rebecca Hall – Evelyn Caster
Johnny Depp – Will Caster
Paul Bettany – Max Waters
Cillian Murphy – Agent Buchanan
Kate Mara – Bree
Morgan Freeman – Joseph Tagger
That was actually rather good.
Transcendence wasn’t incredible, but it kept me entertained for its entirety and I found it very watchable.
Its concept is to be applauded, and was the main element that kept me hooked throughout.
Simplistic in its approach yet thought-provoking, Transcendence flowed nicely – beginning where the carnage finished, then going back to when it began, and delivering the story without interruption.
It was a fascinating tale.
..but surely it had its flaws?
Did Johnny fail to deliver?
Was Rebecca enough to carry the lead role?
Did Morgan Freeman manage to pass for entertaining for once?..
The most important and intriguing scene of the entire movie was ‘the upload’ process.
As Evelyn sits in front of her cluster of computers having ‘uploaded’ Will to a mainframe, the computer screens flicker but show no signs of life. Max pulls her away and the power button is hit, shutting it all down. However, a split-second before a screen switches off, the words IS ANYONE THERE appear..
..me and the friend I went to see this with both turned and gasped at each other.
Already the surprises were happening, and they were good. But this pivotal scene of Transcendence was important as well as effective; blending an array of emotions (hope, desperation, relief, sadness, joy) with a nail-biting “will he? won’t he?” situation.
Keep your eyes on the screen during this scene though, it all happens quite quickly. As the movie continues Will returns to the world as a hologram of his former self, his subconscious mind fully active and engrained into its own system. But like with many susceptible computer programmes (A-HEM, Windows – shit) his return comes with complications far worse than a trojan horse..
I can honestly say, I found Transcendence to be one of the better sci-fi thrillers I’ve seen across the years. From its opening and across its screen time until the credits rolled, my eyes were on the screen constantly. It is very watchable, jumping into the story immediately and delivering a fast-paced thriller without any ‘dragged-out’ bits. An added element was the story of how Evelyn and a computerised Will transform human history by using their super-evolved machinery to save lives, fizzle out people’s disabilities, rebuild cells using nanotechnology..
This is just a minor undercurrent in the movie however, because the pair have bigger things to handle. The Revelutionary Indpendence From Technology group (R.I.F.T.) know that what Evelyn has done – uploading Will and ‘helping’ the planet – is the biggest mistake of mankind. An abomination which could destroy the world rather than save it. Hot on their tail, R.I.F.T. led by Bree (Kate Mara) are stationed near the Brightwood Data Center – guns raised, and ready to stop Evelyn and Will for good.
Except they may face gobsmacking obstacles in the process…
As I said, my eyes were firmly fixed on the screen for a good 116 minutes. What is supposed to happen happens, and Transcendence delivers non-stop action from curtain up to curtain down. It was a great ride.
In a word: believable.
Although it seemed like a basic computer display, the build-up to Will’s regeneration was quite effective. Flickering screens, whizzing data, images – they all added to the atmosphere nicely, building up to the sudden appearance of his image: a head, suspended in mid-air cyber space.
It was actually kind of haunting, hearing Will’s voice (considering he’s dead) buzzing into life all distorted, with a handful of his memories on screen. And the tears shed by Rebecca pushed the atmosphere to its limits.
Further into the movie when Will is able to adapt himself, the image of his head becomes a full-screen lifelike animation – which may have literally been Johnny sat in a studio talking to a camera – but the more I got involved in the movie, the more fascinating it became. If only Evelyn could switch off the screen and recreate Will in human form…
As the pair get to work on rebuilding cells, we are treated to some incredible sights. A tray of withered, brown plants are suddenly brought back to life as they uncurl, un-bend and return to their natural live state.
A blind man is poked – literally – in the eye as a simple machine scratches his eyeball, restoring the broken cells / veins.
His eyeball churns with a netted ink, which then clears to reveal a bright shiny new eye (if you’re squeamish, you may want to look away as the machine approaches the man – the girl sat in front of me flinched out of her seat).
A computer virus is made visual at one point; fuck trojan horses – this stuff is dangerous. People are crept up on by a slithering mass – and when it reaches them, it wraps itself around the person like some sort of vine growing on a garden trellis. Thing is, it won’t stop growing.. can they manage to shut the virus down before it engulfs everything in its path?…
One of Will’s many talents is regeneration; so imagine the consequences of the Brightwood Data Center coming under attack.. as shown in the trailer, the base is near-destroyed at one stage – only to begin rebuilding itself quickly and effectively. Shattered solar panels and chunks of metal begin to levitate into the air, picking themselves up and then reversing their breakage until they have reformed back into their normal state. I loved this scene – and all other scenes that included regeneration. The fluidity of graphics was crystal clear and happened so swiftly that it added a slight ‘space age’ feel to the feature.
The graphics are to be applauded.
I liked the part where Will phones Evelyn – it appears on her iPhone screen as ‘BLOCKED’ – the classic unknown caller. Yet it turns out to be him, having accessed all details he possibly can.
Brilliant if slightly sinister concept there.
..a line uttered by Evelyn as Will reaches out and shares the data of himself with her. As her face began to throb with jet-black veins and she said this, I was immediately reminded of that episode of Doctor Who where Rose absorbs the TARDIS and becomes a window to the universe. These sorts of scenarios fascinate me, and Transcendence delivered a nice story with it.
The only downside was the danger Evelyn was in..
Transcendence is laced with an undercurrent of sadness. The whole concept of losing someone you love and laying them to rest – but desperately wanting them back. The issue is, Evelyn does get him back but at a price. And the sad thing is, its mot the same as they were before. At one point, she cries out, “you’re not HERE with me!” – which yanked at my heart strings a little; I mean how many people would give anything to hold a deceased love / relative again.. Evelyn has it – yet she doesn’t.
Transcendence isn’t just a “wow, they made that man a computer” movie. It’s not just another sci-fi hit. It actually flows with a feeling of sadness in the background, which blends together well with the storyline.
The question of whether or not to close the entire Internet arises during the movie. Another element which I found fascinating.
Will has been ‘uploaded’ and requires more power, more knowledge to be able to expand.
At the same time, R.I.F.T. are racing against the clock to stop him before some serious danger unfolds.
And it is at this point someone mentions the only way to stop him is to shut down the entire Internet.
Christ, could you imagine?!..
Transcendence was brilliantly different, dynamic.
Its overall concept of bringing someone back to life by ‘uploading’ their conscious was a refreshing change to the usual Hollywood tripe dreamed up by directors.
I found this movie very watchable and fluid – delivering a movie BANG, BANG, BANG, no dragged-out or dreary parts.
Its thought-provoking storyline highlights the classic feeling of longing, aching to be with someone who has passed – which mixed with some incredible sci-fi makes for compelling viewing.
I felt intrigued yet saddened by the story.
I could relate, yet couldn’t relate at all.
A proper little gem which would slide into the ‘cult’ genre nicely, Transcendence is definitely worth a watch – I would recommend it to anyone.