The recent sci-fi movie Lucy includes questionable science, laugh-out-loud dialogue, strange psychedelic graphics, a well-worn plot, an idiotic chase scene, and ridiculous violence, but I liked it a lot. It is a guilty pleasure on a par with G.I. Jane and T2.
The movie is very violent. In the movie Taken, half of Paris is killed. In Lucy the other half is killed; shouldn’t that leave the “city of lights” depopulated? The violence is pretty much cartoon violence, but it’s violence nonetheless.
Lucy explores a theme that has been developed elsewhere: using drugs to enhance human strength and intelligence. Other movies with a similar plot include: Charly, Limitless, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
In Lucy, Scarlett Johansson plays a woman, who against her will, becomes a drug mule. The drug is surgically implanted in her body. During a beating, the bag bursts and she develops supernatural powers.
Morgan Freeman plays a professor who spouts pseudo-science in the early parts of the movie, and inane dialogue toward the end. When he looks at the enhanced Lucy and says something akin to “We are not worthy,” I laughed out loud. But Freeman is a good actor and he successfully pulls off role.
The writer and director of Lucy is frenchman Luc Besson. The only previous film by Besson that I have seen is La Femme Nikita (1990), which I enjoyed immensely and which received an 88 percent approval rating on rottentomatoes.
Johansson is very successful as an exploited mule, but is somewhat less successful as Rambette. But, she is a good choice for the role. She has a great screen presence. Unfortunately, she is not required to do much acting. Her portion of the movie is constantly being interrupted (successfully I might add) by weird cutaways and psychedelic computer-generated graphics.
One part of the movie which could have been better developed was the relationship between Lucy and her French cop escort. A physical love relationship between the two could have been the equivalent to a human making love to a Klingon (Star Trek’s warrior race).
On one list, the movie Lucy is described as having transhumanist themes. I suppose that is true. Certainly drug-induced enhancement and mind upload are transhumanist themes. But this movie is more camp, than a serious examination of science and technology. For example, the mind uploading scene at the end of the movie is just plain bizarre.
In some respects, Lucy is a prequal to the movie Her. At the end of the former, Johansson is uploaded to computers, and in the latter she is a resident there (never to show her face).
Lucy received generally tepid reviews, getting only a 64 percent approval rating on rottentomatoes. But many of the reviewers over analyzed the movie. Lucy isn’t a science or technology expose, it is campy, escapist fun. By all means, see it or rent it.