By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
I will watch Werner Herzog talk about literally anything. His harsh Teutonic poetry elevates everything from 3-D tours of French cave paintings to those penguins from Madagascar.
Even American Dad. The man can voiceover literally anything.
Now this 73-year old German philosopher-provocateur sets his sights on the Internet with Lo & Behold. From internet games pushing genetic science ahead in ways seasoned scientists haven’t even been capable of to horror stories like a grieving family being emailed pictures of their decapitated daughter, Herzog delves into the best and the worst of what may prove to be humankind’s most dynamic paradigm shift.
The very first message sent over ARPANET, the forebear of the internet, was supposed to be ‘Log’, short for ‘Login’, but a technical issue truncated it to a very portentous, almost Biblical ‘Lo’.
Herzog jumps from a fascinating history of the early days and evolution of the Internet into a dense assemblage of very passionate people fixated on very esoteric subjects, from a pretty much must-have Elon Musk to perhaps the greatest hacker ever, Kevin Mitnick. Herzog unfailingly finds the most interesting, often philosophical tack with those conversations.
Don’t think this is all deep thoughts and dark ponderings, though. At this point, Herzog is very aware of the persona he’s crafted for himself, and plays off it beautifully, and often hilariously. Never has this been more clear than this film, making it a very funny, very enjoyable, almost airy concoction as a whole… and still very much a Herzog joint. Will wonders never cease?
If anybody but Herzog had delivered this documentary, you’d be hearing a lot more about how scattershot and not terribly rigorous of an examination it is, if you’d hear about it at all. This is basically Werner Herzog’s This is What Interests Me about the Internet, which is, of course, awesome, and also not as deep or revealing as it appears with that trademark Teutonic voiceover. Spoiler alert: he finds it to be a beautiful, horrifying thing.
Like bears and Nature in general, leaning towards ‘horrifying’.
Lo and Behold isn’t Herzog’s most well-developed thesis, but it is nonetheless a fascinating peek into the many ways The Internet is shaping our past, present, and future, with that signature Herzog flair.
Lo & Behold, Reveries of the Connected World (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for that trademark Herzog voiceover
Take a Drink: for humble beginnings
Take a Drink: for incredible internet achievements
Take a Drink: for terrifying internet evils
Do a Shot: if you lose the thread of a conversation