Magnolia Pictures 98 minutes PG-13
This film is jam packed with information just like its subject, the Internet. It covers the subject like a blanket, from its inception to its side effects, including misinformation, addiction to video games and social media, in addition to it’s pluses and how it could affect the future. Warning. Seeing this film could change your own internet habits. There are a lot of talking heads, but it’s not always serious. There’s plenty of humor. But there is also plenty to scare you.
Internet Pioneer, Dr. Leonard Kleinrock and Oscar Nominated Director Werner Herzog guide us chapter by chapter through the history of the first computer. Kleinrock calls it so beautiful, it’s ugly. He likens the very first message sent from the bulky unit at UCLA to the first message sent by Edison’s breakthrough with the telephone. It was supposed to print out the word “Log.” But it crashed trying to send the “G” and hence the name of this film, “Lo and Behold.”
Herzog is credited as the only director to make films on all five continents and Roger Ebert reportedly described the director’s work, “even his failures are spectacular.”
The film explores how the internet has affected so many aspects of society from cities to remote places. From the Sahara desert to the South Pole and the Amazon and Australian Outback showing how it is used in each environment. He also talks to people who have left civilization to flee the effects of wireless radiation.
On the more adventurous side, he talks to Tesla’s Elon Musk about going on the entrepreneur’s Mars Space Mission saying he’s so curious, he’d even make it a one way trip as long as he had internet communication. Herzog explores if humans could eventually live without human contact in a world run completely by robots.
There are many conversations with scientists of all kinds including cosmologists, astrophysicists and astronomers who talk about how solar flares among other disturbances can affect connectivity. We are getting so used to having it when we want it and being able to communicate at warp speed, that any glitch sends us into a panic. Internet interruptions have taken down cities as it did during Hurricane Sandy and in other disasters.
You also get to hear from world famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick who now uses his expertise to help Fortune 500 companies and governments around the world. How social media is affecting personal relationships as well as political relationships between so many countries is also discussed.
We found some of the most fascinating footage talking with Mitnick and also with internet addicts. There are actually rehab organizations where addicts can get therapy. They admit how becoming so involved caused them to lose jobs, girl and boyfriends, contact with their families and even their homes, and especially themselves!
Is this worth your bucks? This is information overload and it gets pretty scary, especially when talking about the unknown. There is so little regulation, yet this documentary shows how so much trust is put on social media and in emails. It’s not always a downer. Ironically, Herzog and Kleinrock present the information in a very human way. It’s clever and funny in parts, and there’s plenty of food for thought, but it’s also pretty scary by the end of it. So much is left up in the air. You may not want to turn that smart phone on again, at least not right after you see this movie.