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Lucy is a great movie; a must-see (no spoiler)

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Lucy (film)

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Lucy is a movie that is not-to-be-missed. Written and directed by the brilliant Frenchman Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, The Big Blue), this film is a metaphysical equivalent of the Matrix or [insert your favorite high-concept film with goddess actors/actresses and awesome special effects], but it contains some new themes and ideas that I found most interesting and motivating as a moviegoer.

The movie was filmed in New York, Paris, and Tapei, and features an international cast of characters in glamorous and visually rich settings. It's not quite an action movie, although there are action elements to it. Angelina Jolie was originally cast to play the role of Lucy, but the role fell deliciously to Scarlett Johansson. Morgan Freeman plays Professor Norman, the scientist who specializes in evolution and neurology, to whom Lucy turns after her escape from the mobster Koreans.

Lucy is a foreign exchange student studying in Tapei who dates the wrong guy. He tricks her into delivering a package, whereupon she becomes a drug mule to a barbaric Korean mafioso and his crew. A packet of the drug, CHP/4 (a chemical supposedly released by pregnant mothers that makes cells reproduce faster for the purposes of the fetus's development), is sewn into her abdomen. While in captivity, she takes a beating which causes the bag inside her to rupture. CHP/4 seeps into her bloodstream, and her transformation begins. She overpowers her captors, escapes, has the bag removed, and searches out the remaining three bags which she now needs to complete her transformation. The transformation is described in terms of what percentage of her brain she is using. The drug enables her to use more and more of her brain, which gives her power over her body, her environment, and others, however, it is also breaking her body down at the same time. This is the ticking time bomb in the movie - Lucy must get help before she dies. She finds Professor Norman, and ... well, I'm not going to spoil it for you. But the end, what happens to Lucy, is something I found to be the most believable part of her drug-induced journey to 'enlightenment' in this fantasy film.

I read a lot of criticism to the film, including it being 'pseudo-high concept'. Indeed, I was disappointed when I found out that the premise in the film, that the percentage of brain that we use being 10%, is an urban myth. However, in suspending disbelief and saving analysis for later, I ended up loving the movie.

The thing to do with knowledge is to pass it on.

This is the advice Professor Norman gives to Lucy, after she explains to him that she is accessing growing percentages of her neural networks and asks what she should do. So she shows up at his doorstep in Paris, from Tapei. Of course, this takes quite a bit of ruthlessness on the part of Lucy, which leads any spiritual thinker to say, 'where's your compassion, bitch?', to which Luc Besson so eloquently answers, from Lucy's mouth, 'We never die.'

My criticisms of this film were more philosophical than technical or conceptual, as other reviewers found. For example, as Lucy gains more and more control of her capacities, she can suddenly control all electronics everywhere. Although I'm willing to believe this may be possible as humans reach more of their capacities, I don't see how - it's a stretch, and it's used extensively. The ability to enter streams of electronic data to extract information is really farfetched. I would believe in total telepathy, and reading of minds even without the need to touch, but reading bits and bytes...not so much.

Controlling other people - it's also a bit of a stretch for me, but Besson sets a precedent for it by showing how it's possible in the movie, given 20% brain capacity. This is probably also fake, but it allowed for suspension of disbelief.

My interest is greatly piqued by the possibility that accessing more of one's capacity includes the ability to selectively feel pain and to self-heal and heal others, and everything else. If I can be completely unscientific for a moment, my suspicion is that this capacity would come from being able to control one's own genetics and the genetics of others, rather than one's neural network. Or perhaps the two together and the film doesn't have scope to go into genetics.

And oh, did I mention how discreetly feminist this movie is? Not only is the heroine a female, but the film pays homage to (among a hundred other wonderful things) matrilinear succession, redefining Da Vinci's The Creation of Adam image on the dome of the Sistine Chapel in Italy with....well, if I told you, it might be a spoiler. Perhaps it's true, what they say about the Merovingians in France and Christ's bloodline.

Overall, I found this movie exciting, fascinating, stunning. I want to go find Luc Besson and do prostrations in front of him. Vive La France!

And, See the Movie!

For More Information:

Lucy the Movie

Integral Spirituality by Ken Wilber

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