He acknowledged the writing/directing felt half-@$$ed, and that it could have been a much better film (after I asked him what he thought of the film's reception). I think he was still hoping I'd see it, because I told him I couldn't really follow his blog. I'm like that. You can write me a fully detailed film synopsis, but if there are too many fracking names on it I'm better off just seeing the movie. I have trouble remembering most people's names in real life.
Anyway, here it is.
He's all about religion, mythology, world consciousness, the masculine and feminine archetypes, spiral dynamics, the triumph of the human spirit, etc. I squirm a little when he equates these things with contemporary politics, because I think he's too friendly and enthusiastic to realize he might be alienating half the people around him. And I did 'kinda' get that the film's dialogue seemed flat just from seeing it quoted in his blog.
Anyway, he loves film. But damned if he doesn't pick the darnedest movies to pick apart sometimes. Live did anyone see Wolverine
(whichever one had the colon in it's title)? I know I didn't, and I wouldn't have thought he would either. Can't remember if John Carter
was another one or if he just told me he liked it. TNG is his favorite ST, but I don't think he feels its spin-offs are myth-worthy. He loves SW, but I think he finds more to talk about in the prequels even though he acknowledges they're not good films.
It seems with most of the reviews I've read that people wanted
to like Transcendence
, if only because they thought it represented something they felt we needed more of (whether it was 'actual' or 'smart' science fiction, or science fiction that wasn't overly-commercialized, or film in general that wasn't overly commercialized). For me I had to see the movie in order to appreciate that aspect of it. The trailers, posters and names attached certainly made it look commercial enough.
The one 'harsh' review
I've read accused it of lacking originality and being uninformed of its subject matter (comparing it with such forgotten relics as Lawnmower Man
and The Net
). I even felt intellectually limited upon reading that particular review (for it was the first one I'd read, and I had already posted here that I didn't understand why the movie hadn't worked), however I'm going to use the excuse that I wasn't even engaged enough by the movie to notice how unoriginal it may have been (so there).
One problem my friend's blog made me aware of, is that the movie really can't pick a side in choosing who to empathize with. Either the technological singularity represents the promise for saving our world, or it represents the apocalypse. Presenting both sides of the argument in a movie is all well and good, getting your viewer to experience both sides is a challenge I imagine many writers/directors would not envy. And I think maybe that comes back to what you said about not being able to give a damn about the characters.
What makes the characters come alive in a movie, anyway? Is it some hidden 'transcendent' quality in the actual words of dialogue themselves, and God help your script (or your career as a screenwriter) if you don't already know it without needing to be taught? Or is it the acting, or the director's ability to work with actors? Is it the ability of the editor to know exactly where to cut with each shot, and which beats of dialogue to interrupt with sound effects and explosions? What if you just don't have any of that intuition at all, and no one will tell you where to go out and buy it for $39.99? Because this movie just didn't have it at all. And I couldn't even tell where it didn't have it.