Let’s just put it out here up front. This movie is awful. And this post has several spoiler alerts. So, if you haven’t seen “Lucy” yet, and you are planning to, maybe this isn’t the blog post you want to read.
Still here? OK. Let’s talk.
I went to see this movie for several reasons. First, I’m a SciFi fan. Second, I like action movies (sometimes). Third and Fourth, it stars Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. I hoped that would be enough.
The movie is listed as 90 minutes, so that should have told me something already. It should have said “low budget” and “bad script” and “not much here.” But I overlooked that because I was going at 9:40 at night, and the shorter the movie was the sooner I could be home in bed.
The story could have been so much more. But the director, or the screenwriter, had a message to send. I knew most of the message before it began just based on the trailer (which wasn’t much shorter than the movie), but that wasn’t going to stop me.
Out of the 90 minutes, maybe…maybe… 60 minutes was actually acting. The other 30 minutes were montages of nature footage similar to Discovery Education’s “Planet Earth” series. So, at the beginning when Johansson’s current boyfriend tries to get her to carry a briefcase into a hotel, the scene is interspersed with nature scenes of animals being separated from the herd and stalked by predators. And I guess that’s because the people for whom this movie was made would be too illiterate to understand foreshadowing.
The same occurs when Morgan Freeman is lecturing on how the brain works (he’s a world-renowned scientist in this movie). As he talks, animations and nature scenes crop up to demonstrate what he’s discussing. I suppose this is a good visual, but to me it detracts from the lecture and really serves to make it possible for the director to shoot less actual footage of the actors.
Its just stupid.
At some point, the discussion harks back to the very first human for which we have skeletal remains. Lucy. And just as Lucy started the evolutionary process that brings us modern day man (according to the theory), the movie’s Lucy is about to launch an entirely new human species.
The only problem is that as Lucy obtains more and more access to brain space (we use about 7% of our brain’s capacity, so the movie takes us to 20%, then 40%, and on up until she reaches 100%), the less human she becomes. Joy is gone. Wonder is gone. Love is gone. The things we would consider “humanity” starts to fade. Everything is simply cerebral overload.
In most movies like this, there is a love interest that adds to the complexity of the story. Not in “Lucy.” You think there will be a love interest, but by the time she has exchanges with the French policeman, her desire for human companionship is gone. She does kiss him once in the move “to remember” what it was like. But it is devoid of anything even remotely romantic or interesting.
Freeman really lays out the ideals behind the movie when he gives his lectures based on nearly 7,000 pages of written research (yes, we know this because Lucy read them all in about 5 seconds). If cells feel they are in a hostile environment, they merely try to survive. If they feel they are in a safe environment, the reproduce and pass along their knowledge to the next generation of cells.
And that, my friends, is the summary of human existence. We are either surviving or reproducing. Period. End of story. (Well, almost the end, but there is about 30 more minutes of movie left to demonstrate that point).
Lucy fills in some gaps with her new-found cranial capacity. The constant is time. Time is everything. She gives the analogy (and the director includes more visuals here) of a car going around a race track. The faster it goes, the less we see of the car. It is blurred from its own movement. If it can go fast enough through time, it will ultimately disappear.
Do you wonder what 100% of the brain’s capacity will do now? Yeah, me either. By this time I was really, truly, honestly bored with this movie.
At 60 to 70% brain capacity, Lucy has the ability to move objects and people at will. So we see her driving through traffic (why does every action movie have to have a scene of driving against traffic in a one-way street?) and throwing cars out of her way as she speeds to get to the hospital. Yet, when she is faced with about a dozen bad guys, she moves them one by one rather than just throwing them all out a window at one time. Well, actually, she levitates them to the ceiling, and that was really stupid looking.
In the end, Lucy takes an overdose of the drug that caused this problem in the first place. She does so in order to obtain 100% brain capacity because her body is falling apart without it. She connects to the computers, melts them to the ground, and builds a new super computer that stores all of her amazing knowledge on a single flash drive. Yawn.
And then, just as the ultimate bad guy comes in to shoot her in the back of the head (why he didn’t do it from the hallway when he had the chance only the writer and director know), she reaches 100% and disappears into time.
She is now God. She is everywhere.
But she has no humanity left. Just all knowledge. That may be someone’s view of God, but it ain’t mine.
This movie tries so hard to The Matrix, but fails. It tries to be a lot of things. But the only thing it accomplishes is being a total waste of time.