Lucy, an Existential Crisis

David and I went and saw Lucy this weekend and we were extremely excited to see it. After seeing some of the reviews and looking on Rotten Tomatoes I became slightly worried, but we were committed to seeing it. Personally I was not disappointed, but it was not quite the movie that was advertised in the previews.

The previews brought us a pseudo-science explanation for some gaining super powers to then begin an action movie. The movie that I felt that I saw was much more a discussion of what it means to be human. Now I have seen some of the big arguments about the pseudo-science around the brain capacity, but I wonder if they did not know how to talk about the ideas that they had? I mean why do some people have photographic memories? Just because our brain is using all of its parts does not mean we have access to them.

I tried to avoid spoilers, so if you are on the fence about seeing this movie then read on, maybe you will see something that you like!

Exploring Big ideas

I think part of the problem with what Lucy was trying to show is that it tried to look at big picture ideas. I mean in the end it tried to look at the very idea of our existence and how we understand ourselves and the world around us. I mean think of what our world today would look like to some of our earliest ancestors.

Then think about what humanity will look like as we progress – will what our body can handle increase? What if it is not that we use 10% of our brain, but that they think there is a potential for a brain to handle more than it does. We discover more and new things with our neurological capabilities every year. We keep trying and push the bounds and better understand how to have our brains function better than they do. Even if we argue the science I think the philosophy is where the power of this move lives.

Not an Action Movie

The other part of this movie that felt like false advertising is that it was not an action movie. Really there was not much action because quickly the title character of Lucy became powerful enough that she could control other objects, even other people. When you have the ability to control other objects and people, no matter the number, then there is no reason for action or combat. You can just stop someone from attacking you, with no need to actually retaliate.

It was interesting because in exploring the idea of humanity Lucy did not care when people died, but at the same time did not seem to actively attack people either. Pain and violence did not seem to enter in to her consciousness. It was much less an action movie and much more a cerebral experience.

Not Laid Out

I think the good and bad thing about Lucy was that they did not lay things out on a silver platter. The movie is not easy to consume, necessarily. You are watching increasingly ridiculous actions being taken by Lucy, but at the same time question the very idea of what her existence means and how long she can keep her body the way it is.

If we could somehow connect to our entire body on the atomic level, what would that mean for our existence? The brain, neurons, cells, atoms, all make up various elements of our bodies that have a specific purpose. There are diseases that re-write these cells and our body starts attacking itself. What if something turned a switch that went from passive to active?

Love It or Hate It

Lucy is the type of movie I think you will either love or you’ll hate. Some of the problem is the advertising showed a very different movie. For those that wanted an action-pseudo-superhero movie they will be very disappointed. At the same time I think if you go in with an open mind it can make you think. I think Morgan Freeman and Scarlet Johansson did a fantastic job and Johansson really shows her range. There were small things that she would do with her face that changed her emotions.

Personally, David and I enjoyed the movie and it seems to open up a discussion of the very nature of humanity.    

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3 responses to “Lucy, an Existential Crisis

  1. I think that’s what I was feeling too, that it wasn’t what was in the trailer.

    I left reminded of Heroes the tv show when sylar was just too powerful to do anything about, Lucy felt a bit like this and I think you’re right, that’s what killed the potential for this to be an action movie. They sure did add a lot of shooting though to try and make up for it.

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  2. Pingback: Why Lucy is a Good Science Fiction Movie | Comparative Geeks

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