Wally Pfister’s debut feature Transcendence is now available on DVD and BluRay. Here are some tips on how to best enjoy this highly underrated film.


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  • Comment number 47. Posted by strothermartin

    on 15 Sept 2014 11:39

    Mark Kermode (or "kermie" to his fans) is right: sometimes it is necessary for a critic to show us lesser types how to enjoy a film. A good case in point, for me at least, is John Robins` edgy controversial epic Love Thy Neighbour (1973). When first viewed, I considered this film crass, racist, childish nonsense. However, in a review I read the next day, the great Dilys Powell explained to me that the central story - of the relationship between Eddie Booth`s mum (white) and Bill Reynolds` dad (black) - was in fact a remake of Rainer Werner Fassbinder`s Angst essen Seele auf. I now saw Love Thy Neighbour for what it truly was - a sensitively nuanced tale of blighted love between the races, doomed by an unaccepting society. Thanks Dilys.

  • Comment number 46. Posted by Rowley

    on 11 Sept 2014 01:32

    I missed all the reviews for this movie and enjoyed it a lot. Agree with Dr K here. I hope the seemingly irrational hatred of this movie doesn't kill this type off. If I have have to watch another Marvel movie and think Zzzzzz then see that the same critics who give Captain America 90% and panned this I can see myself starting to ignore other critics entirely. I promise I don't always agree with MK but on this I most certainly do.

  • Comment number 45. Posted by josephjacob3232

    on 10 Sept 2014 21:27

    Watched Transcendence when it came out in the cinema and I have to say I thought I was the only one who liked it now it not like Inception but it had a good story with good performances both from Hall and Bettany as for Johnny Depp he was more on a screen then anything else and that was fine by me this movie is well underrated and I was sorry it got all those nasty reviews people just like a lot of action in movie now I don't mine that some do and this one only has a little bit but this film you can tell was a movie trying to tell a story and I thought that It did I quite well as for people I don't think there going to like it any time soon.

  • Comment number 44. Posted by Dorsetto

    on 9 Sept 2014 14:03

    Didn't see it at the cinema - watched it on Blu-Ray and really liked it, reminded me a lot of The Lawnmower Man.
    Wonder whether this was because of lowered expectations?

  • Comment number 43. Posted by GRNewby

    on 6 Sept 2014 09:53

    Mark, I really hope you do a follow up blog to these reactions. I'm a big fan but this was one of the stupidest posts ever. Patronising doesn't quite cover it. I've seen Transcendence and thought it was a complete mess and duller than a wet Wednesday. I really don't need tips on how to enjoy a film. I'm a grown adult. Please stop attempting to make people like this film. If you like it, that's fine. If other people found it to be a complete slog and utterly ridiculous, you really should just let them have their own opinion. Plus, I wouldn't trust Robbie Collin's opinion on anything. Especially films.

  • Comment number 42. Posted by babyfacemichael

    on 6 Sept 2014 06:54

    mmm I wonder if Film critics will revise their panning of Taken, the film given one star in Empire !!! What a joke.
    I must have lent the DVD to at least fifteen people and they all loved it. It remains the only DVD I can lend out and gaurantee that response, thats how good it is. Any comment Dr K

  • Comment number 41. Posted by PartYetiPartMan

    on 5 Sept 2014 14:55

    Much to my shame I did not get chance to see this in the cinema, but now have had the Blue ray over a week. I watched it and have to say Loved it. I hope this is high praise but I forgot it was a first time director and just enjoyed the film. it reminded me of a Christopher Nolan film ( again high praise) but I am sure Wally learnt many lessons when being DP for Christopher. The only down point is I wish I had the chance to see this on the big screen I bet it was a feast for the eyes.

  • Comment number 40. Posted by robert paulson

    on 1 Sept 2014 21:05

    Actually I don't mind tips from an expert that tell me which bits to look out for - if I'm going to spend 2hrs watching a film I want to get the most out of it I can.

    But the film is neither as bad as many seem to make out or as good as a few seem to make out. Its okay, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Comment number 39. Posted by Vincent Kane

    on 1 Sept 2014 17:34

    I forgot to add that cinematic re-appraisals, whether they are justified or not, tend to take a decade or more. You are underestimating the judgement of audiences by thinking they can change their mind so quickly.

  • Comment number 38. Posted by Vincent Kane

    on 1 Sept 2014 17:29

    I just watched Transcendence for the first time, and its silliness is beyond belief.

    I've always called Singularity a pseudo-religion. Pfister has grasped that notion and taken it to ridiculous territory, where A.I. and the uploading of human consciousness into machines somehow has the power to defy various laws of nature. Eh.. no.

    I don't have a problem with religious subtext, some of my favourite films are religious allegories. But in this case it's handled so crudely. It's not nearly as clever as it thinks it is, or needs to be. It's basically a B-movie with an A-list budget and cast.

    It's very telling, Mark, that in defence of the film you totally ignore the content of the film, rather clutch at straws by bringing up technicalities. Allow me to consider your arguments:

    #1 That is of course nonsense. Just like the biblical Jesus does not have a supporting role in the New Testament, Depp's techno-Jesus presence is too strong throughout the film to be merely supporting. He has more screen time than Paul Bettany. End of.

    #2 I prefer films not depending on explosions. But that in itself does not make a film good. Too much time in the first half of Transcendence is filled with rather dull shots of characters looking pensively, as if too convey profound emotions. When you overdo those kinds of shots, as Pfister does, the result becomes preposterous.

    #3 I took your advice and listened with my ears. Although I was glad that I wasn't treated to the schlock of Hans Zimmer, at no time was I grabbed by the score. Sorry.

    #4 You say "old-fashioned film" as if that's a good thing. By being inspired by 70s films, Pfister failed to avoid the clichés of that era, the plot holes that we may have taken for granted back then but nowadays are less easily forgiven. One miraculous feat setting a whole chain reaction of miracles in motion that we're supposed to go along with.

    #5 Ignore the critics, they know nothing. You said it.

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