Escape to the Movies: Lucy - It's Almost a Black Widow Movie

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Lucy - It's Almost a Black Widow Movie

Despite the pseudo-science grumblings, Luc Besson brings another slick action film.

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are you joking? The Rock would be PERFECT as Shazam. He has the muscle bound super hero look down but can also bring a naive child like wonder to the part. The only other actor that could do it would be Chris Pratt

as for Black Widow... ehhh her own movie wouldn't be that interesting, I mean she's an assasin ok neat. I would rather have Ms Marvel as the first Marvel Female Superhero to get her own movie.

So it's Maleficent in a different genre? Cool, this is almost a guaranteed view from me, then.

I think 10% mainly annoys people not because it's false but because of the things associated with it. It's not that the handwaved the science, but the memories that specific handwave of a phrase brings up.

"Uses 10% of your brain" is pretty well connected in my mind (And probably others) as an excuse for hacks to peddle quackery under the guise of real science - For example that "What the bleep do we know?" movie however long ago. It's a statement known to be false but regularly used by people who legitimately are trying to convince others that it's true, which means it automatically gets a negative response.

So yeah: Not that it's false and known to be false, but that it's false yet still frequently believed to be true.

Given Besson's track record of late, I'm both surprised and very, very glad that this didn't turn out to be shit. Hopefully it'll do well and convince people that a female-fronted superhero movie actually can work.

And for what it's worth, I enjoyed Hercules. Went to a press screening on Wednesday, and while it's no kind of masterpiece, it's a solid, entertaining summer action movie. I was honestly surprised that it wasn't the subject of this week's video.

bobdole1979:
are you joking? The Rock would be PERFECT as Shazam. He has the muscle bound super hero look down but can also bring a naive child like wonder to the part.

He'd make an even better Black Adam.

People who tought rationalism and science alone would take us to the singularity thing all died or do not believe it anymore because of world war I and world war II. Science made it easier to kill us and use weapons that without knowledge would not exist at all.
See the crisis of positivism and rationalism.

Falterfire:
I think 10% mainly annoys people because it's so well known as false. It's less that it's a handwave and more that it's an obvious one being played straight. Some mumbling about 'super biology science' would've served the same role without continuing something that is well known as a wive's tale.

"Uses 10% of your brain" is pretty well connected in my mind (And probably others) as an excuse for hacks to peddle quackery under the guise of real science - For example that "What the bleep do we know?" movie however long ago. It's a statement known to be false but regularly used by people who legitimately are trying to convince others that it's true, which means it automatically gets a negative response.

So yeah: Not that it's false and known to be false, but that it's false yet still frequently believed to be true.

So, just out of interest (because I admittedly did not know that what I'd been told about this several times was untrue until relatively recently), how did the myth start? And, as we apparently know it to be completely flase, how much of our brain power ARE we actually using on a day to day basis?

EDIT: It also occurs to me that the premise of Lucy, as described by this review, is in broad strokes no different from that of River Tam in Firefly, and I don't remember anybody ever bitching about that...

Yeah Mythbusters put a hole in the 10% theory long ago. Nice to hear that it's a good popcorn flick, but I'll wait till it out on DVD/Blu-Ray and give it a rental.

7 more days....and it's on!

image

Hey Bob? For all that talk about Knowledge being good and all, are you completely forgetting the fact that the further her powers get, the less empathetic Lucy gets and how little concern she has about randomly killing people?

She killed a taxi driver just cause he didn't speak English for fuck's sake!

I feel like the problem with the 10% of your brain myth isn't that it's patently false, it's that it has been so overused by now. The examples of the dinosaur DNA from amber and the Stargate ring false because they were fresh and inventive. Falling back on the widely disproved 10% myth at this point just feels like lazy screenwriting.

The other big problem with the film is the weird almost racist and sexist vibes I got from the trailer. Yeah, it's exciting to see a female led pseudo-superhero movie. But her origin story is that something was done to her against her will, and she had to survive the trauma in order to obtain her powers. It's practically the same as the overused strong rape survivor cliche.

And also, for all her so called enlightenment, there's that weird moment in the trailer where upon finding out the Asian man speaks no English, she shoots him. Because apparently him being of no use to her at all makes him unworthy of living. Kind of a weird message to send. And finally there's the Chinese text on the walls, which is just made up of random words. That's a language that is used by a huge percentage of the population, reduced to meaningless set dressing. Imagine how jarring it would be to just see English words like 'apple' and 'box' written large on a wall in a film. There's pretty much zero difference here.

The 10% myth is annoying precisely because everyone with so much as a middle-school level grasp of science knows it's nonsense, but that still leaves a lot of incredibly annoying idiots who are always taking it completely seriously.

It's the old "the audience will accept the impossible, but not the improbable" principle again, where there's an uncanny valley between accepting something as a conscious break from reality that's reasonable to give the story somewhere new to go and accepting something because it actually seems legit. This is neither a speculative leap or fantasy element, nor an attempt to grasp and expand upon a real scientific principle (i.e. a hard science fiction element). And unfortunately for this movie and hopefully its profitability, that valley between the two is what's commonly known as "offensively intense stupidity insulting everyone's intelligence".

(For anyone that's not familiar with it, the impossible/implausible principle is schematically that the audience is fine with the hero pulling the right needle out of a haystack instantly because they're guided by some mystical supernatural entity or force, but if you have them pull the needle out just because they got lucky on the million to one chance you will break suspension of disbelief because even stupid members of the audience will call bullshit.)

NinjaDeathSlap:
So, just out of interest (because I admittedly did not know that what I'd been told about this several times was untrue until relatively recently), how did the myth start? And, as we apparently know it to be completely flase, how much of our brain power ARE we actually using on a day to day basis?

Based on this article from a website with an official sounding name that quotes official sounding people:

At any given instant you might only be using 10% of your brain, but over the course of the day you'll likely use all of it. It's sorta like how on the job a carpenter is only using 10% of his toolbox at any given point: He may not be using his screwdriver while hammering in a nail not because the screwdriver is useless but because it isn't what he needs to deal with that particular problem.

Also, only 10% are neurons, and neurons are the only part we really understand the function of. You definitely use all the neurons, and removing the other stuff causes the brain to stop working, but the exact details aren't completely understood yet.

NinjaDeathSlap:

So, just out of interest (because I admittedly did not know that what I'd been told about this several times was untrue until relatively recently), how did the myth start? And, as we apparently know it to be completely false, how much of our brain power ARE we actually using on a day to day basis?

The gist of it is that only ~10% of the cells in your brain are active at any given instant to conserve energy, which has been distorted to be "You only use 10% of your Brain". For a more detailed analysis, see here;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NubJ2ThK_U

NinjaDeathSlap:
So, just out of interest (because I admittedly did not know that what I'd been told about this several times was untrue until relatively recently), how did the myth start?

On an imaging scan, about 10% of your brain is "active" at any given time in the sense of neurons firing. This was one of those science factoid/trivia things, until someone scientifically illiterate conflated 'active' in the sense of 'firing neurons' with 'active' in the sense of 'as a percentage of available capacity'.

There ARE people who have more than 10% of their brain light up simultaneously. They're called epileptics, and the condition is, to put it mildly, not pleasant. And we know very, very well what happens when you "use close to 100% of your brain" at once, it's called a grand mal seizure and the result is somewhere between biting your tongue off and dying in one of the most painful ways available to a human being. There is no associated increase in any form of mental capacity.

I can't believe it's actually good. I was planning on seeing it next week regardless of the reviews. But now I'm looking forward to it so much. Scarlett Johansson is my favorite actress and Luc Besson is one of my favorite directors. Can't wait for next week now.

And come on Marvel, give us a Black Widow movie.

Found the review intersting as always but Bob's last screen has me thinking... Would a black widow movie even work? I know a good movie can be made out of anything but for all her nuance the character is allowed very little range and as one of those connecting elements allowed within multiple different mini-franchises her growth and development would be seriously limited. I know that's a problem for all the characters but they aren't all used as universal multi-verse paste to nearly the same degree...

My problem with the 10% brain thing is not necessarily that it is wrong. It is that it is wrong in a very specific way.

Lets put it this way: Star Gate uses worm holes. Now, all us nerds know that worm holes don't work like that at all. However, one could argue that it is an entry level introduction to the idea of a worm hole. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, it is an analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way.

Science fiction pseudo-science doesn't have to be right. In fact, it can be ridiculously and horribly wrong and still be just fine. But it should lead the viewer to the right questions if they delve deeper. This is how dumb science can still make smart science fiction. It opens the mind to new possibilities.

The 10% brain usage trope does not do that at all. It doesn't raise any interesting questions. If you do go look it up all you find is that it is completely wrong in all the most uninteresting ways. There are no further questions to ask, no more knowledge to seek.

In any case, it wont ruin the movie for me. I just really hate the trope. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

AxelxGabriel:
Hey Bob? For all that talk about Knowledge being good and all, are you completely forgetting the fact that the further her powers get, the less empathetic Lucy gets and how little concern she has about randomly killing people?

She killed a taxi driver just cause he didn't speak English for fuck's sake!

I haven't watched the movie yet, but I assume it's because everything becomes an equation to her. Do the detriments of ending this life outweigh the objective or hinder it in any way? No? Does keeping them alive hinder the objective? Yes? Then proceed.

Knowledge inherently is neutral, it's the application of said knowledge that can be good or evil. And that's a whole other discussion, lol.

Jman1236:
Yeah Mythbusters put a hole in the 10% theory long ago. Nice to hear that it's a good popcorn flick, but I'll wait till it out on DVD/Blu-Ray and give it a rental.

7 more days....and it's on!

image

Kinda reminds me of Psyren. Which is a good thing. So this is the antithesis of "Transcendence", eh? I have a question: Why hasn't someone made an RPG out of this concept yet? Yeah, the "only use 10% of our brain" thing is a total load, but the potential isn't. At least, I don't think so.

Hell yeah. =D

Hmm, well that ads that kept touting the 10% thing made me not care about this movie and dislike the idea behind it but the review made it sound interesting. Not great but at least something fun to drink too.

Although I also cant get the image out of my head that this is just a western version of elfen lied.

Just to add to the chorus of why the 10% myth sucks, beyond how trite and absurd it is, given the set up of this film, it would have been so easy to avoid the myth altogether. There are so many psychobabble ways to explain how the drug improved brain function that falling back on the tired cliche is really inexcusable. Instead of marking her evolution through the percent of her brain she is using, just use the percent increase in brain function she has gained.

I railed against Lucy a lot when the trailer hit because I think it's important to rail against movies that use pseudoscience as a premise. That said, I always mentioned that the movie looks awesome and that I will see it as soon as I can.

The big backlash I'm hearing about Lucy is how it's another white girl kidnapped by racial stereotypes as a premise, and then the white girl gets to have her revenge on the kidnappers and that's okay because they started it. Thanks, tumblr.

bobdole1979:

as for Black Widow... ehhh her own movie wouldn't be that interesting, I mean she's an assasin ok neat. I would rather have Ms Marvel as the first Marvel Female Superhero to get her own movie.

I don't know. It would be interesting of having an Avenger with a grey mentality doing risky stuff in order to accomplish the greater good. Although, they'd need to do something more than just put her in a Spy setting.

It's true that Ms Marvel would be interesting since A. I don't know who the character is. B. The Marvel movies made me interested in Marvel stuff and C. I'd really love a female Marvel Superhero movie so we can finally explore other stories.

GamerMage:
I have a question: Why hasn't someone made an RPG out of this concept yet?

It was called Deus Ex. It was awesome.

Should be on Steam somewhere if you can handle graphics that have a giant "FOR THE DATE OF PUBLICATION" disclaimer next to the 'good'.

Ignore the sequels, they are terrible and mediocre, respectively.

(One could argue that this is what's up with a lot of the major villains of the earlier final fantasy games, too. In a more fantasy/magic way. Kefka literally transcends through sheer force of being increasingly overwhelmingly smarter than everyone else, even.)

DrOswald:
To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, it is an analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way.

Points for the PTerry nod!

Yeah, I'd love Black Widow to be the lead in a movie, but it might be nice to have the other "under-powered" heroes in the film as well. Maybe Hawkeye or Falcon, because I think the three of them would do a heck of a job.

I think one of the problems with Black Widow is not that she's a she but that she almost always knows more than most of the others in a given movie. She knows the agendas, a secret plan, or whatever. It's almost like she's a main character in the same way Sherlock Holmes is the main character of Sherlock Holmes, but he can be impenetrable because we have Watson to bridge the gap. Hawkeye or Falcon could fill that Watson role.

On the other hand, they could do her as the team leader for the Mission Impossible of the MCU, and I guess that wouldn't completely suck.

Well, it's good to hear the movie is good at least. May see it one day. One question; How often do they go on about "10% of the brain! D:"?

If it's not too much, I can probably make it through the movie. I agree with MovieBob about not letting it ruin it for you, but it's just so annoying. Like hearing people say "you did good" after learning you're suppose to say "well".

Plus, they couldn't shut up about it in the trailers. Sill, good to hear there's more to it than that.

Also, The Rock should do well as Shazam(or whatever you call him). Wonder who the kid will be. :/

And aren't they working on a Black Widow movie? Should be good. Like Captain America, only with more killing and pragmatism.

Edit: Hmm...After reading a few more things about the movie, I not so sure I would like it as much as Bob.

Wish he touched on the whole "Killing a man for not know english" thing. Kind of clashes with the whole Knowledge makes you a better, more caring, and good person stuff.

zvate:
Found the review intersting as always but Bob's last screen has me thinking... Would a black widow movie even work? I know a good movie can be made out of anything but for all her nuance the character is allowed very little range and as one of those connecting elements allowed within multiple different mini-franchises her growth and development would be seriously limited. I know that's a problem for all the characters but they aren't all used as universal multi-verse paste to nearly the same degree...

Makabriel:

AxelxGabriel:
Hey Bob? For all that talk about Knowledge being good and all, are you completely forgetting the fact that the further her powers get, the less empathetic Lucy gets and how little concern she has about randomly killing people?

She killed a taxi driver just cause he didn't speak English for fuck's sake!

I haven't watched the movie yet, but I assume it's because everything becomes an equation to her. Do the detriments of ending this life outweigh the objective or hinder it in any way? No? Does keeping them alive hinder the objective? Yes? Then proceed.

Knowledge inherently is neutral, it's the application of said knowledge that can be good or evil. And that's a whole other discussion, lol.

The dude was not in her way at ALL. He was next to another cab driver who she asked if he spoke English and he says yes. He killed that guy for no damn reason at all.

If anything, that and her continuous indifference to murder shows a rather bad example to tout "Knowledge is good!"

Eeeh... I think I'll go with Devin Faraci's review. Apparently, this movie is less about waxing the virtues of knowledge and more about doing coke.

That stupidity is part of the film's charm. Every scene I was on the edge of my seat: will the film get even dumber? Can it get even dumber? It did! Again and again it did! Besson seems unclear how basic things like computers and cell phones work, and at no point in the writing process did he bother to stop and do research. There's a great scene on a plane where Lucy is typing away at light speed on two laptops and the movie never explains why she's doing that or how these two laptops are possibly processing at that speed. It's just, like, a signifier of how smart she is now that she's using TWO laptops really fast.

That scene is a total coke scene, and Lucy is a total coke movie. Some people will say this is a stoner movie ("Whoa dude, what if we could use like ALL of our brain capacity? I bet we could do sweet telekinesis!") or maybe an acid/shrooms movie (there's a ton of bullshit about the meaning of life and being connected and stuff), but it's a cocaine movie. When you do a good line of coke you feel like Lucy - invulnerable, the smartest motherfucker in the room, totally in control. I can absolutely believe someone who has just been hoovering up rail after rail would be convinced they have opened up more of their brain, and that they will corner you and never stop telling you about it.

So it's dumb on multiple levels.

My problem with the movie isn't the whole 100% thing as it is how unashamed of it they are. Like if it was only brought up once or twice, whatever I could deal with that. But every commercial that comes on is, "Human's can only use 10% of their brains you guys!" at the first sentence. Combine that with the walking mound of disinterest that is Scarlet Johansson (Seriously, I'm not watching a Black Widow movie ever if only because she would be the fucking lead and I can't sit through that)and I can't be bothered to wast my money on this.

Keji Goto:

bobdole1979:
are you joking? The Rock would be PERFECT as Shazam. He has the muscle bound super hero look down but can also bring a naive child like wonder to the part.

He'd make an even better Black Adam.

I've been thinking about this. Visually, yeah. He's as close to a live-action Black Adam I can imagine. But as an actor, I can think of few superheroes better suited for him (and that he's better suited for) than Shazam. I'd be fine with Adam, but I'd be thrilled with Shazam.

scnj:
I feel like the problem with the 10% of your brain myth isn't that it's patently false, it's that it has been so overused by now. The examples of the dinosaur DNA from amber and the Stargate ring false because they were fresh and inventive. Falling back on the widely disproved 10% myth at this point just feels like lazy screenwriting.

The other big problem with the film is the weird almost racist and sexist vibes I got from the trailer. Yeah, it's exciting to see a female led pseudo-superhero movie. But her origin story is that something was done to her against her will, and she had to survive the trauma in order to obtain her powers. It's practically the same as the overused strong rape survivor cliche.

And also, for all her so called enlightenment, there's that weird moment in the trailer where upon finding out the Asian man speaks no English, she shoots him. Because apparently him being of no use to her at all makes him unworthy of living. Kind of a weird message to send. And finally there's the Chinese text on the walls, which is just made up of random words. That's a language that is used by a huge percentage of the population, reduced to meaningless set dressing. Imagine how jarring it would be to just see English words like 'apple' and 'box' written large on a wall in a film. There's pretty much zero difference here.

Wow, and I thought Bob was pretentious....

1 "Rape Survivor cliche"
No. Just No. I have to assume you know nothing about movies or comics so let me enlighten you on the "hero gets his motivation/learns his powers from trauma" cliche
Batman - Bruce Wayne's parents are murdered in front of him
Superman - Entire home planet destroyed sends him to one of the places in the universe he can have superpowers
Spiderman - Painful metamorphosis from radioactive spider bite.
Iron Man - Captured by terrorist and uses the reactor that keeps him alive to power the suit as a side effect
The Hulk - "Duh!"

Others include the Thing, Black Widow, Thor (to lesser extent, more of a "life lesson") Wolverine (and various other X-men)

The only two I can think that didn't go through personal trauma are the Human Torch/Invisible Woman/Mr. Fantastic, although the transformation was kinda painful and the learning of abilities over time and Green Lantern, who got his ring from a dying alien that he didn't know.

So, now that your proven wrong on point 1..

2. Racism
Because finding racism in ever bit of daily life is a healthy way to live. Instead of focusing on real racism and gender inequality that exists in the world, lets worry about the Chinese letters not making sense. Should they taken the time to make a real phrase out of it, probably, even if it's for an Easter egg, but it's laziness, not racism. Also, have you seen a lot of the English Translations and errors from Asian nations? They are everywhere! Only difference is most people have a sense of humor and tolerance instead of nit picking a summer movie.
As far as the taxi driver, I think that was a really failed attempt at humor. However, if you actually listened to Bob's review, he says she finds here enlightenment "after a shaky start". If you had paid as much attention to his review then you did random words on a wall.... a nevermind... It was a poor move, but not based on racism.

DrOswald:
My problem with the 10% brain thing is not necessarily that it is wrong. It is that it is wrong in a very specific way.

Lets put it this way: Star Gate uses worm holes. Now, all us nerds know that worm holes don't work like that at all. However, one could argue that it is an entry level introduction to the idea of a worm hole. To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, it is an analogy which aids understanding wonderfully while being, strictly speaking, wrong in every possible way.

Science fiction pseudo-science doesn't have to be right. In fact, it can be ridiculously and horribly wrong and still be just fine. But it should lead the viewer to the right questions if they delve deeper. This is how dumb science can still make smart science fiction. It opens the mind to new possibilities.

The 10% brain usage trope does not do that at all. It doesn't raise any interesting questions. If you do go look it up all you find is that it is completely wrong in all the most uninteresting ways. There are no further questions to ask, no more knowledge to seek.

In any case, it wont ruin the movie for me. I just really hate the trope. Looking forward to seeing the movie.

The only thing I wanted to address is the wormhole "science". The fact of the matter is, no one really knows how they work, as we've never been able to create one or actually observe one. They are theoretical and only been discovered via equations in General Relativity studies.

I think the real damage here is that people think they know everything, while science itself is the constant quest for knowledge and change. If new evidence comes along, you retest your theories or laws, even if they are considered "proven facts". However, there are many in the scientific community that use the term "settled science", and have almost a religious like zeal for their theories and that's super dangerous thinking...

The fact is, we don't know. We never fully know. There could be a device that manipulates/controls wormholes (or something similar) for travel. There could be non carbon based life. There could be devices that break the speed of light, cancel gravity, terraform planets. The point of sci-fi, and even science itself, is to imagine what can exist.

The argument about the 10% is another case of pretentiousness by the nerd/geek community. The nicest way I can say it to those who are mad about it is, get the f*ck over it.

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