Helmed by Christopher Nolan’s longtime DoP Wally Pfister and packing an all-star cast, there were plenty of reasons to be excited about Transcendence (2014). Sadly, the end result is a disappointing mess of a movie which fails to deliver on its strong premise.
Transcendence follows Will Caster (Johnny Depp), one of the leading minds in artificial intelligence research along with his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall). That makes them the target of anti-tech extremists, and an assassination attempt leaves Will wounded and dying from a radioactive bullet. With time running out, Evelyn and colleague Max (Paul Bettany) hatch a desperate plan to upload Will’s consciousness into an experimental A.I. Evelyn and Max ultimately succeed in their Neuromancer-esque goal, but as Will’s thirst for knowledge and power grows stronger, technological advancement soon gives way to fear and paranoia.
The first of two films this year to use the White House as its setting, Olympus Has Fallen (2013) is the latest film to adopt the time-honoured one man army vs. terrorists plot-line, and it accomplishes its task in entertaining fashion. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), it sees former presidential head of security Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) infiltrate the famed building when the White House – dubbed ‘Olympus’ – is captured by a group of highly trained terrorists. Out-manned and out-gunned, Banning must use his extensive training and detailed knowledge of the residence to rescue the President (Aaron Eckhart).
At the beginning of the year, you would be hard pressed to find a ‘most anticipated films of 2012’ list that didn’t feature The Dark Knight Rises. But Batman on film wasn’t always this popular; 1997’s Joel Schumacher directed Batman & Robin is widely regarded as one of the worst comic book movies of all time (and with good reason). Christopher Nolan managed to reinvigorate the franchise with 2005’s Batman Begins. He went one better and set a new benchmark for superhero movies with The Dark Knight in 2008. With The Dark Knight Rises, has Nolan outdone himself again?
Read the rest of this review on Yin & Yang here.
Rewind 7 years to the day, on June 17 2005 Batman Begins was released in Cinemas
The quintessential superhero origin story, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins reinvigorated the Batman franchise, grounding the costumed vigilante in realism and garnering critical and commercial acclaim in the process. Its influence can now be seen in many a superhero derivation, most recently in the upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man reboot which is aiming for the darker, grittier tone in Nolan’s Batman saga. With the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises just around the corner, now would seem a fitting time to revisit the beginning of Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
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