“Lucy”: A Movie Review

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:  CharlyLimitless, 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 uploading 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 prequel to the movie Her.  At the end of the former, Johansson upload her brain 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.

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One Response to “Lucy”: A Movie Review

  1. rogerdhansen says:

    “Lucy” made Time magazines top ten movies of 2014. According to reviewer Richard Corliss, “Luc Besson’s globetrotting thriller, about a woman who’s empowered and imperiled by the infusion of a powerful new drug into her nervous system, is different: it kicks ass and takes brains.” I’m not sure about the brains, but I found Lucy to be a fun ride.

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