This will be a short essay, of necessity. We’re sitting at the airport in Colorado Springs waiting on a flight that boards in less than half an hour. But I couldn’t help notice that the new Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) film, Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson, finished at #1 on the list of top movies in the US this weekend, taking in $44 million at the box office.
Based on the false premise that humans use only 10% of our brains, Johansson’s character, Lucy, is subjected to an an accidental overdose that opens up the other 90% of her mind. As a result, Lucy essentially becomes a god — and, no doubt to the cheers of audiences, goes on a rampage with her newfound power, manipulating the very fabric of reality to wreak havoc on the baddies.
Sounds like appealing entertainment for its target audience (myself, I’m tired of the “kickass female warrior” meme), which is the point. Whether intentionally or no, the takeaway for me is that teens and young adults are presented with another slick, visually stunning reinforcement of the meme that transcending the limits of human biology to the point of apotheosis — godhood — is awesome.
Nothing wrong with escapist entertainment; our favorite television program is Doctor Who, which veered close to presenting the Doctor as an angel or minor god during the run of Doctor #10. But given that about 99.5% of Americans age 18-24 do not have a biblical worldview, according to a 2009 survey by the Barna Group, the target demographic for entertainment like Lucy is likely to buy into the concept that omnipotence is desirable — and to trust in technology, whether chemical or mechanical, to deliver immortality.