Happy Friday everybody! I hope everyone is having an awesome summer!
Last weekend I saw the film Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson and written and directed by Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element). I’m a Luc Besson fan, and he has a real eye for female leads. He practically discovered Natalie Portman and Milla Jovovich. Unfortunately, his latest film Lucy falls a bit short.
The marketing team for this film deserves a heavy pat on the back for promoting the film as a super-heroine-esque-revenge story, so much so that they defeated The Rock’s Hercules at the box office. Then again maybe the world is a little tired of seeing men in loin clothes beat up other men in loin clothes. Lucy appeared to be a breath of fresh air compared to what the summer box office was offering. Frank Miller’s 300 came out eight years ago, we got it then, we get it now, tough guys beat tough guys.
The film opens up where Lucy wearing the same tacky clothes she had been wearing at the club the previous night, is hanging out with her chubby boyfriend early in the morning. The chubby boyfriend explains that he went to the museum the other day and saw that the very first ape in earth’s history was an ape named Lucy. (Shocker: This will become relevant later). The conversation continues and the chubby boyfriend wants Lucy to walk into the hotel to their right and hand a briefcase over to a mystery man. Lucy, of course refuses, because she must have seen a film or two, but the chubby boyfriend insists it will be fine. Lucy tells him “no” so he handcuffs the case to her wrist. Lucy goes from outraged to annoyed and he tells her the only way that she is going to be able to get the case off is if she walks into the hotel and asks for said mystery man.
At this point, Luc Besson decides to treat the audience like children. I could imagine him scratching his head going, “maybe the audience still doesn’t get it.” So while Lucy is walking into the hotel halfcocked and doe eyed, images of a gazelle and a lion come up on the screen. So as she’s walking it continues to flip back and forth. Get it? Do you get it? Lucy’s the gazelle and here’s the lion’s den.
Well, you can only imagine things don’t exactly go as planned. Chubby boyfriend gets his head blown up and Lucy gets dragged upstairs crying hysterically and dragged into a room with men with guns, lots of guns. She’s asked to open the case and low and behold inside are four decent sized bags of some kind of blue dust. The leader of this band of men with guns walks towards Lucy and asks if she wants a job, which is ridiculous because it sounds as though they’re giving her a choice, when we all know she has no choice. Her and three men go through a surgical procedure where the blue powder, which will be the newest drug to hit the streets, is sewn into their stomachs. They all get taken away to different locations. Lucy is taken to some weird cement basement where there are shackles on the wall. She’s tied up and beaten by the men who are around her to the point where one of them kicks her in the stomach. Once kicked in the stomach the pouch inside her explodes and the drug begins to erupt through her system.
And here’s where things get interesting.
The effects of the burst pouch on Lucy has her body vibrating to the point where she begins to float away from the shackles and fighting to get back to the ground as the drugs take hold of her. During this aerodynamic stunt, Lucy goes from party girl college student to an overly intelligent being with two thoughts in her head; one is of her own survival, while the other is curious to see what’s happening to her. She sits up and escapes her captors with little effort and little remorse as she shoots a lot of dudes in the head. She goes to the hospital in order to remove the pack out of her stomach.
It’s in the hospital that Lucy, while being operated on, calls her mother and tells her that she remembers things and feelings about things that she couldn’t possibly know. She explains to her mother while slowly crying that she’s afraid she’s losing the thing that makes her human.
Lucy has no choice at this point but to survive as long as she can, believing that due to the amount of drugs in her system she will be dead in the next twenty-four hours. Her conclusion is that she needs the other drug packets in order to not only survive but to reach her full potential as this new being who uses 100% of her brain power.
Now, while Lucy is going down this road, informing the police that drugs are being smuggled illegally so that all of the packets will be in the same place for her to take, scientist Morgan Freeman comes into the picture reminding us that using 100% of a person’s brain is theoretical. In fact, the film would have been a little better if Morgan Freeman’s character hadn’t been in it at all. Mostly, he’s there to act as the voice telling the audience that everything that’s happening to Lucy is a really big deal, even though as the audience, we can see that.
The film has some redeeming qualities, there are moments that are really brilliant and most of the science fiction in it is really cool, but a lot of the film is very silly. Scarlett tries her best and as we all know she has that superhero stare down to the point where I feel like that’s all she’s doing these days.
I think the film suffers the most from missing the point it’s trying to make. The point it’s trying to make is being pounded into your head so hard that you become numb to it, so when the conclusion is finally pointed out to you, you don’t really care. It’s supposed to get existential and wild about whether or not we’ve wasted our time on this planet, how far has humanity come and why aren’t we going farther? But the point’s vessel, Lucy, isn’t a very sympathetic character, or very likable. I wasn’t really routing for her to succeed, because I wasn’t really sure what she was trying to do. Was she just trying to see how far she could go? Because throughout the film, the only person who seems to be interested in what is happening to Lucy is Lucy.
During the passionate end sequence where you should be on the edge of your seat because Lucy is about to reach a hundred percent and in doing so she’s traveling backwards through time, to the point where, here it comes, she meets the first female ape named Lucy. Before the two can touch finger tips, in what might be a God giving life to Adam symbolism, Lucy is thrown back to present day where she has turned into some goopy black goo that is sucking energy from the power sources in the room she’s in. Her transformation is witnessed by Morgan Freeman and a group of “red shirt” male scientists. Lucy says that somehow she will figure out what all of this means and then find a way to let Morgan Freeman know about it.
The film goes out of it’s way to push that now that Lucy is at 100%, she has reached god like powers and intellect. She’s able throughout the film to hack into any technology so right before the black goopy goo creature that she has turned into disappears, she hands Morgan Freeman a USB port, which will have all of the answers. She hands him a USB port. Why not just hand him a floppy disk, oh immortal Lucy? At least then you would have gotten some laughs instead of a lot of people looking around at each other.
The flatly acted police officer who has been Lucy’s companion (hostage) throughout the film, comes into the room after the goopy creature disappears and asks where she is. He gets a text message on his phone saying, “I am everywhere.”
I am everywhere? Well, if you’re everywhere why not take a few minutes out of your busy godlike day to download yourself into Morgan Freeman’s computer and tell him the mysteries of life, instead of giving him a USB port that’s going to take some time to download? And who knows how much porn he’s going to have to erase in order to make room for the new file? And what if he has a Del? He’s never going to be able to open it, the system is just going to crash. And also I got the feeling that Morgan Freeman could give or take the knowledge that Lucy was giving him, like he might put it in his junk drawer at home, go have a few drinks at the pub, because he’s had a bit of stressful day, and then forget that it was even in there.
I was very excited to see a female lead take over the box office, but the film’s not very good, and not even really that entertaining. When I left the theater, I wasn’t moved by anything I saw. I wanted to sit down and watch a film that might have been similar to that of Brian Wood’s Mara comic, where she reaches such potential that she chooses to leave earth to see what outer space has to offer. At least in that comic, there’s some action. The film takes itself way too seriously, there are some pretty special effects, there’s a pretty cool car chase, but, really, how was I supposed to truly understand the point of the film when Scarlett Johansson is running around with that atrocious hair cut?
If you want to head to the movies this weekend, go see Guardians of the Galaxy again. 🙂
Thanks for Reading!