The idea that humans use only 10 percent of their brains is a myth. In the 1890’s, Harvard psychologists William James and Boris Sidis conducted tests in the accelerated raising and training of the child prodigy William Sidis, who effectively reached an adulthood IQ more than 240. As such, William James suggested that we may achieve a fraction of our full mental potential. The idea was briefed in 1936 by writer Lowell Thomas in a foreword in which he wrote, “Professor William James of Harvard used to say that the average man develops only ten percent of his latent mental ability.”
The brain did not evolve into its current state without cause. We cannot consider a large portion of it to be an appendix, existing without purpose. We use our whole brain, in one fashion or another. That said, we are not conscious of how we use it. Much of what it does is so behind the scenes, so small and fractional, controlling the most mundane of functions; how we blink and when, how we breathe, balance, construct sounds into words, words into categories, categories into structures, and structures into meaning. If we could truly tap into all the brain does, or better still, be able to control what it does in the way we feel we control the movement of our own hands, now that would be something.
I knew this bit of science before going to see this movie, the science as well as the myth. I am a movie goer. You can suspend my disbelief if you do it well. They sure did!
They took the deeper road, reaching beyond the myth, exploring the concept more holistically. Though they used the myth statement as a base, they took the viewer beyond it and closer to a truth.
My readers will know that I am not hard to please when it comes to movies. A movie costs a little more than a Big Mac Meal or a small steak dinner at your favorite dive. Give me that much pleasure and you’ve earned a passing grade. But these comparisons are small potatoes when talking about Lucy.
The plot is fascinating. Beyond being a science nerd’s playground, it is action packed with more twists and turns than the largest rollercoasters. Luc Besson’s direction is astounding. The direction, like the plot, is always on the edge, feeling as if it will fall apart at any moment with no possible way of pulling all the strings together into a cohesive ball, and yet it never falls, never falters, and never frays. It is, all at once, an action move, a sci-fi head game like 2001: A Space Odyssey, and documentary with Morgan Freeman as host and narrator. The balance seems implausible, the pace is relentless, yet it hits its mark dead center.
Scarlett Johansson has upped her game. Morgan Freeman is at the top of his. Min-sik Choi and Amr Waked are superb. The effects are stunning. They can be viewed like the hallucinogenic trip in 2001, without meaning, or can be dissected for an even deeper understanding. The score is compelling.
There are those movies that, even when chopped up for regular tv years after their release, you still watch. This will be one of those for me.
They did not do a 3D version. I wish they had.
I gave this same sort of high praise to Gravity when it came out, and while it did not win the Oscars I expected, it was nominated for many. I put Lucy in that same space. It will probably not win many or any, there being so much year left to get through before the nods. But I believe Lucy will be on the board.
Well worth the ticket. More than well worth it – go see it.