Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Lucy was an example of Austhralopithecus afarensis, an early ancestor of man whose remains were discovered in l974. It also explains the provenance of the name of the character Scarlett Johansson portrays in the movie of the same name. But the real question is why one of Hollywood’s most alluring starlet is playing a succession of aliens? In Lucy, Johanssson becomes one due to a drug, CPH4 which makes her smarter than everyone else. In Under the Skin her character comes from outer space and in Her, she’s the operating system in a computer. The alien persona makes the characters Johansson plays curiously unempathic to mere mortals at least in the latter two instances. Could it simply be a case of a hot number being standoffish? Progeria is a disease precocious aging. Scarlett Johansson’s character Lucy is a bit of a cliffhanger to the extent that it records the effects of precocious evolution that bring her brain capacity up to 100%. (human brain capacity is only 10% opines the film’s resident Mr. Wizard, Professor Samuel Norman, played by Morgan Freeman; it’s an assertion that’s, by the way, confuted by Gregory Hickok in a Times Sunday Review piece entitled, “Three Myths About the Brain," NYT, 8/1/14).When Lucy texts ‘I am everywhere,” as she disappears into thin air in the finale, she seems to be a representative of the theory of panpsychism argued by the philosopher David Chalmers and others. That’s the disconcerting thing about the movie which was directed by Luc Besson. It wants its cake and eat it too--mind and body, if you will. It attempts to redeem its almost laughably gory techno violence with constant cross cuts to scenes out of Wild Kingdom or from the lecture hall where Norman offers disquisitions on the future of man. However, it’s heart lies in the gutter. At the beginning of the film the Chinese gangland violence is so outlandish you’re waiting for Mike Myers to show up and unleash another Austin Powers parody. Instead the film takes itself seriously and turns into little more than a Wikipedia entry with a bloody centerfold.

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