If you were to find yourself with a free afternoon, and with a thunderstorm pouring down (after all, if you had a free afternoon, why aren’t you playing golf?), you might want to take some time to watch one of the best movies I’ve watched in a long time. “Her” – that’s the simple title, and it talks about this nerd who falls in love with his operating system. I know, this is so weird in so many levels. But it’s not that new, the concept. A few years back, a movie called S1mone explored the relationship between human and virtual reality, in this case a virtual girl. Of course, this year we had Transcendence, the Johnny Depp turd bath which nobody understood at all, and frankly goes to show Johnny Depp is only good as a pondan pirate.
Of course, my obsession with operating system AI awareness goes back a long way, back to my favourite movie, “Electric Dreams” which I watched in PJ Civic Centre back when I was probably around 6 years old or something. Although it wasn’t really a super good show like Space Odyssey’s HAL, it first gave me the idea on how a computer can actually have a relationship with humans. I guess, Electric Dreams made me take up Computer Science very much into the future and here I am, still geeking out over movies where human computer interaction goes overboard.
Anyway, back to Her, this is a spin to the old tale. In fact, many Electric Dreams geeks like me had wondered if this movie was a sort of update to the old classic. I won’t go into the details of the movie, but I would highly recommend to watch it. The main guy is this fler played by Joaikim Phoenix. I know I am spelling his first name wrong, but it’s darn hard and I am too lazy to look it up. Anyway, Electric Dreams is about a guy who had this computer (male), who helped him get the girl he wanted, but the computer then became jealous. It’s a love triangle. Now, this is different. In Her, it’s just Joaikim Phoenix character, who feels lonely and buys an OS (operating system), who is so darn smart, she names herself Samantha, and has the craziest, most lunatically lusty voice ever – obviously done by Scarlett Johansson. I swear, if my TV starts talking like Scarlett Johansson, I would also fall in love it her. It. Whatever. Don’t tell my wife. I mean seriously, Scarlett Johansson? Yowzah.
So this main character and Scarlett Johansson OS falls in love and the movie goes through the whole relationship. What I liked about it is that there didn’t seem to be a set up for drama (like computer turning into a serial killer etc), it just meanders along and allows the characters to go through what we all are familiar with–relationship problem.
At one point in the movie, the Phoenix guy, Ted, after suffering through an Avatar issue (where the Scarlett OS wanted to have ‘sex’ with Ted, through an Avatar, i.e an actual person played by, I guess, a prostitute), and Ted dismisses this Avatar and they argue: Scarlett OS sighs, and Ted asks, “Why do you do that? It’s not as if you have lungs and you need to breathe”…Scarlett OS tries to explain it’s just her way of expressing, and Ted continues to berate her, saying there’s no need for her to take a breath since she’s not human etc — don’t mess with a woman, and tell her what she is NOT, and her limitations, you stupid moron! And she just went like, “What the f-ck? Where is this coming from?”
At that point, it recalled back some unpleasant (and probably hugely influential) memories of my phone conversations in my younger days, when I wasn’t married and was having BGR (boy girl relationship) issues. I mean, heck we all go through it. And sometimes, when talking on the phone for hours, trying to explain stuff, it sounded like the one on this movie, where you say the wrong thing, and the girl just goes berserk on you. I mean, the whole show, is like this guy having a phone conversation with his girlfriend…except he’s talking to his OS, who is with him constantly. It exactly mirrors the times when I would be at home, and called up the girl, and we would NOT talk, but just go doing our things and once in a while, say, “Are you still there? What you up to?”. Or when she would say, “You sound busy, do you want me to go?” and you know if you said Yes, because I want to play my computer game, dammit, woman!, It would be the END of ALL THINGS AS YOU KNOW IT, so you say, “Oh no, dear of course not! I like to hear you breathing”.
Ah, good days.
Anyway, this movie is slow, plodding at times, but for those who love human computer interaction movies, this pushes the boundary. For those who ever had those phone calls, or break ups over the phone before, this will bring back those painful (though now, it’s kinda funny) memories of youth.
Now, one more shot on the voice behind the OS. So. Hot.