Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
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45 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

Werner at his best

Author: Jordan Satmary (MrSatmary@yahoo.com) from United States
26 January 2016

I was lucky to see this at Sundance with one of the best audiences.

Somehow, even after Werner's extensive resume, this was his most immersive and informative documentary yet.

The film doesn't just touch on the basic history and fundamentals of the Internet, but provides such a deep understanding of its past, present, and future. It dives into the wonders of what is possible while carefully reminding us about its dangers, all while Werner gives a very comedic voice-over.

It's a shame that Roger Ebert isn't around to view this film. I know he would've been proud of his friend for creating such an accomplishment in documentary filmmaking.

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32 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Amazing survey of the best and the worst of the Internet

Author: sfdphd from United States
24 April 2016

I just saw this film at the SF Film Festival. I thought it was excellent. It was far better than I expected. I am not a tech person and assumed I would not really appreciate the subject matter. I only went to see it because I usually enjoy Herzog films and figured I would give it a chance.

Wow, it kind of blew my mind to see the range of material that was covered. I was quite impressed that he managed to cover such a large canvas and each segment was fascinating. He created 10 segments, each focusing on a different perspective on tech. I really liked the fact that he started from the beginnings of the Internet and interviewed many of the earliest key people involved. This record of their experiences makes the film an invaluable document of history.

I also really liked the fact that he confronted some of the very serious problems that the Internet has created in our world and didn't just focus on the wonderful aspects.

Definitely check out this film, whether you love the Internet or hate it, there is great stuff here to ponder....

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19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

One of the best documentaries I've seen in a while!

Author: framptonhollis from United States
21 August 2016

It's interesting how Werner Herzog doesn't even own a cell phone, but his examination of the Internet can be more smart, unique, terrifying, entertaining, weird, and funny than anyone else's.

"Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World" is Werner Herzog's latest documentary film, and it takes an extraordinary look at the Internet. There's plenty of screen time given to both how it affects humans, and the science behind it all. There's hackers and robots, as well as stories about Internet addiction and abuse. There's comedy, tragedy, horror-and it's all real, and it's really, really fascinating. Sometimes when a film covers a lot of material it becomes overwhelming, and tonally all over the place, but Herzog manages to balance everything just perfectly so the whole film works very well and never feels like too much.

There's plenty of fun to be had watching "Lo and Behold". It's not just an average, boring science documentary, it's a genuinely entertaining movie. Some of the most fascinating people you'll ever see are interviewed, and they tell some of the most fascinating stories you'll ever hear, and it's all filled with humor and, at times, even absurdity. It's fun to watch, and it will make you think. There's plenty of questions raised that are amazing, and there's plenty raised that are scary. It's a movie unlike any other I've seen be released this year, and it will blow your mind!

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Herzog's worst documentary, just when we need him most

Author: zelena33 from Wallis and Futuna
12 October 2016

There are very important, tough questions that need to be asked about where technology is leading us. "Does the internet dream of itself?" is not one of them. This effort from Herzog is a major disappointment but not a surprise, partly because it started out as a corporate promotional video. Also because most of his docs are ostensibly on subjects that aren't that interesting or important on the surface, but he makes them riveting. Here, he's tackling a subject about which everything that can be said, has already been said, except for the hard questions. Is the internet even a net positive thing? Why bother going to Mars? It's getting harder and harder "to make a contribution" (to science, or to society), so what does that mean for us? Soon enough robots will beat Messi at football -- will anyone want to watch that? These questions don't get asked. And these are easy ones that came up anyway.

Herzog, who is a known non-tech guy, just seems ignorant and uninterested in technology, both the good and the bad of it. And we need him to pry forcefully into the moral morass that it's dragging us into. But he can't. He's just a baby boomer who is completely immersed in his real- world occupation that doesn't involve surfing the internet. He doesn't know, doesn't care. So unfortunately, he has gathered the most maddeningly thick-headed "scientific experts" to make bland, vapid observations about how amazing it all is. This is a huge disappointment. Werner is just not the man for this job -- so he's moved on to something more up his alley; volcanoes...

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22 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Big disappointment

Author: me-justaman (me.justaman@yahoo.com) from United States
26 September 2016

This director acquired a large following over the years. He's got some great movies in his resume, and a couple of real turds as well. Since he switched to documentary film making, he has found his own style that stands out by a personable narration, the use of music, and a often unique and poetic point of view.

I quickly checked his recent work before: it looked like he has been giving "master classes" in theaters over the US (mostly rants and criticizing the world comfortably) and making some short movies (mostly self indulgent essays with no depth). But I was looking forward to this latest "effort" as I really loved his other feature length documentaries.

But this film is a complete waste of time for the viewer. Its 10 segments feel like a very first draft hastily put together and that would need tons of work and reflection before being worthy of any presentation to an audience.

It made me feel like the homework of a teenager for school. It is completely vapid, lazily put together, and often insulting for your intelligence. After wasting 1h40 watching this empty balloon unfold nowhere, the title becomes so pompous and pretentious. I was left angry for wasting my attention on this.

It looks like this director is now living off his followers. He maybe thinks that anything he does will be appreciated by his fans who will find him cool and "unconventional" no matter what. But this film is simply not good, and really day-TV program level.

Still, many of the people who are being interviewed in the film are fascinating and beautiful. You would like to see a competent artist and thinker take on this excellent subject.

So in one word: VAPID.

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22 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

Lo And Nothing To Behold

Author: httpmom from San Francisco Bay Area
21 August 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

May include spoilers. If you truly want to understand something of the history of the Internet and how it has influenced human civilization this documentary is not for you. I so wanted to be impressed...but this came off more like a Sarah Palin speech than a deep examination of the subject. Perhaps if each of the ten segments had been given an hour there would have been some meat to devour. As it's presented however, it's a huge fail. "Does the Internet dream?" Well, no. stupid question. Next? And what does A. I. or robotic technology have to do with the Internet? Altogether unrelated issues. Cyber security, a very significant topic was given a mere 15-20 min segment. Last, the segment about the California family who sued the Highway Patrol for posting photos of their daughters horrific car accident on line was just bizarre. The mother accused the Internet of being the anti Christ, while the living daughters acted like zombies in the interview. Yes, they were sent disgustingly insensitive emails by total strangers which is a very sorry happening, But the internet is a mere projection of humanity at large. There is good. There is bad. It's not the Internet that is responsible...it's people.

I spent $7.99 to watch this on Amazon video. I suggest saving your money.

Sent from my iPhone

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Worthwhile, fascinating, diverse, and decent!

Author: Thomas Dachsel from Mainz, Germany
5 January 2017

Watched this on Netflix, as I was fed up with all those documentaries we have on "free" TV. I was not aware that Werner Herzog does such profound documentaries, now I know better. This documentary tackles a lot of interesting, and often hurtful subjects. For once it made me proud of working in the industry and being able to contribute something worthwhile. So much good energy gets wasted, and there is a lot of rubbish on the Internet, but there are also the pearls of human wisdom, and so I encourage everyone to go looking for them, or even better, make their own contributions. This goes to show that you can really make a difference by using the Internet for wonderful applications, like bringing people together, and make them understand our world (and one another) much better. It made me very curious about current developments in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and I sure hope there will be much more progress in the next years.

I don't think that it is really justified to criticize this documentary, as you really cannot do this gigantic subject any justice in such a short amount of time. There could be ten individual movies on just the ten topics in the documentary! Kudos to Mr. Herzog for tackling such a task and staying decent all the way through. I really felt for all the people who suffered the ill effects. Stay strong and feel your own energy, and speak up your own truth. Through the internet, you will be heard.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

An essay, not a documentary

Author: peefyn from Norway
2 January 2017

Herzog is a character, a clown, and it's hard not to live him. The moments where he peeks out (voice only) in this film are the absolute highlights. But it's important to remember with Herzog's films that they are often documentaries, and I don't believe for a second that Herzog feels any obligation to present anything factual. He's interested in concept and perspectives, but not necessarily a photo realistic portrayal of the world. This is why I would argue that Herzog's films are more essays than documentaries. As long as you remember this, you will have a good time watching this movie.

Herzog approaches the internet as if he is a stranger to it, leading to some very naive questions to the highly educated people he is interviewing. They are made to answer different questions than they are used to, and this leads to different answers. You can see Elon Musk being pulled out of his element by Herzog volunteering to go to mars.

Herzog has a gift of finding the peculiar in people and situations. I am a bit worried that some of the people he is interviewing is not aware of how he will present them. I'm sure Herzog does it with love, but it's still obvious that he pick moments in the interviews where they are at their most goofy.

When it comes to the subject itself, and it's interesting (though disjointed) exploration of the future of the internet and the connected world, but like any essay, it doesn't really answer any questions.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Thought-provoking but ultimately limited

Author: Jimmy Baginski
6 January 2017

The was a small disappointment for me. Wheeling in a long succession of intellectuals and posing philosophically abstract questions at them about the implications of the Internet seems like something that could yield interesting results. In this case it leads almost nowhere.

Boffins and great minds are sometimes a slave to their own sense of purpose and grandeur, always looking to imagine the most incredible eventualities and possibilities regardless of how impossible or possible they are. The people in this documentary are no doubt amazing intellects who have the native IQ to leave myself and the majority of humans dead in the water.

However, it takes an intellectual to sell the idea that the Internet could gain autonomy and want to control us as a species. This is anthropomorphic projection on the grandest Earthly scale.

Werner also employs a deeply foreboding soundtrack of elongated drones and celestial dread to add weight to the scientific poetry and future doomsday predictions of his interviewees. At times you could almost be drawn into this darkening of mood, but then you hear another piece of vague mumbo-jumbo and interlocutory nonsense and chuckle, remembering: it's a documentary by Werner Herzog, which sadly means you are just experiencing his default style.

As well, the question "can the Internet dream of itself?" is so deeply boring and unbound by any objective framework it merely acts as a conceit from which to further ramble on the topic of non- biological sentience (something this film does rather well) and ends up in another cul-de-sac, (like all conceits do).

The area of AI is seemingly in a very strange cultural place right now whereby hitherto rational people are being drawn into imagining a secular religion based around a technological cosmology. Technology is either the devil, God, or both. Either way, the great power it possesses comes from the mundane necessities of our collective lives. Mythologising is fun but really we just want the same things we've always wanted (see Maslow 'hierarchy of needs'). The internet will not change that.

This strange, almost creepy substitution for God in Godless world, or power bigger than ourselves, is silly to watch coming out of intelligent people's mouths. Humans will not sleepwalk into the matrix. We will not eat the apple in the garden of Eden and reach a tipping point between our desire for technological innovation and the rise of AI overlords. This won't happen because humans won't desire it. Even if it was plausible, the road to such an event is not clearly laid out here.

Lastly, moral questions about the effects of technology are useful. This poses some but doesn't go deep enough into them in order to create a basis or first principle to work from. Too much technology is one thing but please explain why. What should we keep and why? What should we discard and why?

Anyway, partially thought-provoking but ultimately limited to thought experiments and conjecture about a future we can only vaguely imagine and will likely not happen.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Fascinating if disjointed wander through the subject

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
19 November 2016

The internet is only a small subject for those that (like me) see it in the simple terms of what I know I do on it – check emails, read information, etc. However with such an expansive subject it was a good thing that the curious mind of Herzog was given the project of examining it in this film. I have read some people complain about the weakness of this film as a 'documentary', with comments about how key players such as Mark Zuckerberg and others are not included; the answer to such criticism is in the title, because this is not a documentary so much as it is a reverie, which is to say a musing and free-floating daydream through the subject.

In the editing suite this was obviously reined in somewhat because the film is structured into broad chapters. This helps the film be watchable, but importantly does not lose the sense of drifting through the subject with plenty to think about but nothing too solid that would break the state of reverie. Whether or not this works for you will depend on the individual, but Herzog's style made it work for me because he drives this approach with his angles and his line of thought (although he often seems less present than in some other of his films). It doesn't all fit together neatly of course, and at times tonally it is uneven, but mostly it is a quite fascinating wander through the ideas and connections of the internet, and is well worth seeing for what it leaves you with as much as what it offers directly.

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