Release Date: July 25th, 2014 (US)
Directed by: Luc Besson
Written by: Luc Besson
Music by: Eric Serra
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Choi Min-sik, Amr Waked
EuropaCorp, TF1 Films Production, Canal+, Universal Pictures, 90 Minutes
I went into this film anticipating having problems with it. I did.
It is no secret, even from just watching the trailer, that this film is chock-full of really bad science. Actually, atrocious science.
You see, the whole film rides on the plot point that human beings only use 10 percent of their brain. The film explores what would happen if human beings could use more than that or even reach 100 percent, which is what does happen in the end of this film.
Why is this bad science? Well, you should already know the answer to that but if you don’t, the 10 percent thing is a myth and it is a misunderstanding of the fact that only about 10 percent of a brain’s cells are neurons. Neurons are the important working bits of your brain. You do use them all. The other 90 percent of your brain is made up of glial cells that act as a support system for the neurons. So the other 90 percent supports the 10 percent and thus, you are already using 100 percent of your brain. How this myth became “fact” to many people is kind of astounding but when we live in a world where people get their information from memes and Twitter, you can see the problem.
But I get that it is supposed to be just some mindless action film. Right?… Right?
Well, not really.
The film starts to take itself too seriously, as it comes across as if it is trying to show how smart of a film it is conceptually. I can only assume that the director Luc Besson has never picked up a science book in his life, as this feels like it was inspired from a conversation between two burnouts stoned out of their everliving minds. And not only does he not know how the brain works, he also doesn’t know jack shit about matter. This is important to point out, as matter manipulation becomes a major plot point.
It kind of disappoints me that Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansson would even touch this script, let alone do this film. Maybe they just wanted to work with Besson, whose early work was pretty stellar. He has kind of fallen from his earlier grace.
If this film had just been a straight up action film with Johansson as a bad ass, it would’ve probably been pretty good. Hell, it could’ve played like a Black Widow solo film. Instead, it played like a film written by a middle schooler that was able to get a decent budget. Then again, the CGI bounced back from really good to shitty from scene-to-scene so maybe the budget went over somewhere.
From an acting standpoint, Morgan Freeman was typical Morgan Freeman. Scarlett Johansson was good at times but once her brain power started increasing, she just stared off into space like a zombie and tilted her head every ten seconds like a puppy hearing a weird sound.
I tried to ignore the bad science and even when I did, the film was just so pitiful that it didn’t really matter.
“Hey, bro! You gotta suspend disbelief!”
“How? By only using 10 percent of my brain?”