Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Year 8, Day 69 - 3/9/16 - Movie #2,270

BEFORE: Morgan Freeman carries over from "London Has Fallen", to a film that doesn't give me many linking options.  My fault for passing on this one after watching a couple of films with ScarJo last May.  So putting it between two other films with Morgan Freeman is really my only option.

THE PLOT: A woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic.

AFTER: Damn, if I'd known this plot was so similar to "Transcendence", I could have put this one next to that film, which I watched last July.  Both films have their main characters evolve or transform past normal human capabilities, but one does it through computers and tech, and the other one through drugs, inadvertently ingested.  In tonight's film Lucy is employed as a drug mule against her will, but when the package inside her is damaged, she gets a megadose of this new, experimental party drug.  

First off, I'm not an expert on drugs, either medicinal or recreational.  Not since college anyway, and even though now certain things are legal in certain states, I haven't felt the need to try them again.  (Maybe if I found myself in Colorado on an unintended layover, but who can predict that?)  Still, it seems to me that any substance intended as a party drug is going to have a certain type of effect on the nervous system, and by extension, any mega-overdose of that drug is bound to be lethal, right?  But instead it allows Lucy to unlock pathways in her brain that are usually closed to humans in their current evolutionary state, and she gets extreme knowledge and abilities from unlocking the other 90% of her cranial capacity.  

OK, secondly, I heard that was a myth, that people only use 10% of their brains - while it may be true that most people only use 10% at any given time, over the course of longer periods, like a 24-hour day, it's very likely that nearly every part of your brain will be put to work.  As living creatures, why would we possess things that don't work up to their capacity?  If our heart or lungs only functioned at 10% of their ability, we'd be dead - one assumes this also holds true for the kidneys, liver, etc. - why should the brain get to coast along at only giving 10 percent?  Jeez, even when we're sleeping our brain is hard at work, when it's got nothing to do it starts to dreaming, good or bad - so I doubt that 10% is a reasonable estimate of its efforts.  

Thirdly, I'm not following the logic here - it's stated that human cells operate in two different ways, either "survival" mode, or if conditions are optimal, "immortality" mode.  I'll have to double-check this, but this also seems like junk science, an over-simplification of the human body's processes.  But since they give this information to the "professor" character, played by Morgan Freeman, we're just supposed to take it on faith that this is science's best explanation for things.  Given everything I know about screenwriters, I doubt they ever bother to check with scientists before they block out their films' premises.  

But if we believe in this "survival/immortality" mode theory, then this leads us (somehow) to Lucy's cells beginning to break down, once the drug has taken its toll on her body.  The solution?  Get more of the drug.  Wait, but you said the drug was the problem, how can it also be the solution?  And also, is this really the message that we want to send out to the kids at home, who may be struggling with addiction problems of their own?  OK, the drug seems to be losing its effectiveness - well, just get more of it, and take a higher dose this time!  

To me this seems to be a case of a filmmaker trying to create something artistic, and then bending the science around to fit the visuals he wanted to create.  Because we're really off the deep end of what is realistically possible by the end of the film.  And yeah, I realize that's the point, the film is fiction, it's a fantasy about what can happen when you unlock the human brain's potential.  But after admitting that we don't really know what the brain can do, why then go out on a limb and demonstrate the most unlikely, improbable powers, instead of something we can get behind, like counting cards in a casino, or thinking up a cure for some disease?  

Instead we're subjected to Lucy's views on the meaning of the universe, and it has to be really vague and hard for us to understand, because it has to sound important but also impossible for us to mentally grasp.  (We're still only using our 10%, remember...)  So that means that in the end, it's a bunch of nonsense, delivered to us by someone who seems like she'd rather be doing something, anything else.  NITPICK POINT: How come she gains the ability to control all the matter in her body, but she can't use this power to hold on to any of her emotions?  Why does gaining super-smarts come at the expense of being able to feel anything?  

NITPICK POINT #2: Just because we've only found one skeleton of Australopithecus (also named Lucy), that doesn't mean that there was only ONE of that type of hominid, believed to be the first kind of early human.  It just means we haven't found any others.  If you think about it, it would be impossible for there to be only one, because then who would Lucy mate with, to make more of her kind?  This film seems to imply that she was unique, which seems very unlikely - there must have been at least a whole tribe like her.

Also starring Scarlet Johansson (last seen in "Avengers: Age of Ultron"), Amr Waked (last seen in "Syriana"), Min-Sik Choi, Julian Rhind-Tutt (last seen in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"), Pilou Asbaek, Analeigh Tipton (last seen in "Warm Bodies").

RATING: 4 out of 10 plane tickets

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