Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lucy review

There seems to be a myth floating around Hollywood that humans only use 10% of their brain and the other 90% is basically not used at all. This is not even remotely true. We consciously use 10% of our brain for thinking and things like that. The other 90% is still in use. It's used for our subconscious mind and other things. It is not possible to 'unlock' this other part of our brain because it is already unlocked and in use. Even if we could somehow use this other 90% consciously, it certainly wouldn't give us godlike superpowers or even increase our memory and intelligence (like in the film Limitless). Luc Besson's newest film, Lucy, plays off of this age old myth about our brainpower and then takes it to extreme heights. It's really a ridiculous concept for a movie, but if you can get past that you may actually have some fun with the movie and really get something out of it. Scarlett Johansson plays the titular character here. She starts out as a seemingly vapid college girl studying abroad in Taiwan. Through a mix-up with her shady boyfriend, Lucy becomes a drug mule for a brutal Taiwanese boss and then in turn accidentally ingests the experimental drug she was supposed to be carrying. The drug allows her to slowly gain full access to her brain, which in turn gives her powers fit for Superman (Superwoman, rather) or a god. Lucy is in incredibly odd film. It's one half dumb Luc Besson action flick where the main characters traipse around in some foreign country getting in car chases and dodging bullets. It's also one half smart pseudo-philosophical science fiction film that tries to explain creation and the future of human evolution. It dabbles in interesting ideas but will occasionally stop for a gun fight with Taiwanese bad guys. Like I said, odd. But not all bad. Lucy was obviously heavily influenced by Stanley Kubrick's awesome 1968 classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Lucy begins with the Dawn of Man like Kubrick's film did, showing the first ape woman (also named Lucy). As the movie progresses, Scarlett Johansson's character becomes almost equivalent to the star baby at the end of 2001. A human who was been altered by an outside force (the monolith in 2001, the drugs in Lucy) and is now a god-like being who has been seemingly sent to save humanity and correct our oh-so-many problems. One thing I have to give massive credit to Besson for is not making this a movie that uses its head female star for nothing but eye candy and beating up bad guys. Too many action films (Kick-Ass 2 to name one) think making their head star a woman allows them to underwrite their characters and indulge in camouflage misogyny. Here, Besson focuses more on Lucy and her increasing intelligence and only uses the gangster subplot sparingly. I do applaud him for that. Another problem this movie could've run into is it being really bloated and drawn out. Instead, it's kept to a lean 90 minutes. This movie had the potential to be truly awful, I'm glad it was able to surpass all that. Yet, as I mentioned before, Lucy isn't without its issues. First off, it's completely illogical. But I already addressed that. There's also quite a few oversights plot wise that made me slap my forehead thinking "How could they not see that?".  It touched on a few different things that could've been really cool but doesn't really expand on them. As her knowledge increases, her humanity decreases. There's a part that hints that Lucy may want to keep her human emotional side. Unfortunately, Besson doesn't go into depth really at all. Despite it's many flaws, I found Lucy to be quite good. It's a really ambitious movie and somewhat succeeds on many fronts. It's no 2001: A Space Odyssey but I suppose it makes for a good pop action version of the film. Calling the movie stupid is easy and honestly a little unfair. For all its shortcomings, it really does make for a solid smart summer blockbuster. Hell, I'd say it's better than a lot of the blockbusters out in theaters this summer. Luc Besson has always annoyed me. I was never a huge fan of his films, but Lucy is a little different than most of his films and it shows he may have some real talent. I give Lucy 4.2 out of 5 stars. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at Facebook.com/WhitsMovies. Happy Viewing everyone!   


  1. Heh, "smart" isn't exactly a word I would use to describe this movie. :P Still though, it certainly is an interesting one, and definitely different, if nothing else. Not sure I even liked it, yet I was able to appreciate it for at least trying something new, even if it does borrow from other properties here and there in the process. Nice review, Whit. :)