My review of Wally Pfister’s Transcendence, full text here.

Wally Pfister’s Transcendence appears on the surface to be a conventional tale warning of the dangers of Frankenstein science, but it is actually much more ambivalent than a cursory look at the plot would suggest. The representation of the scientific ‘abomination’ and the ‘good’ humans who destroy it seem almost deliberately unconvincing. The contortions and twists of disavowal the viewer is dragged through in order to cheer the side of the human status quo have precisely the effect of leaving behind a strong case for the vanquished singularity, and the ending note of the film is one of overarching melancholy for a lost possibility, masked as a tragic love story, rather than one of victory. In Avatar, the mourning is for an atavistic organic unity, in Transcendence this mourning is for a missed future