johnlink ranks LUCY (2014)

Slowly, but surely, I’m catching up on some recent releases. LUCY is a brain-potential movie from Luc Besson which reportedly took him nearly a decade to get made. All that time filtered into a 90 minute movie. Go figure.


I watched LUCY (2014) on 1.20.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

We can start by dispensing of the premise of this film. Humans do not use a mere 10% of the brain. That is a myth, though one which has understandably had legs in the sic-fi genre. But LUCY is science-fiction and, so, we don’t need to hold it to a standard of facts. Regardless, this is a movie that is no more about brain usage than one of the films it so wants to be like, 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, is about space exploration. Instead, LUCY is about what it means to be human, what our potential as a species is through evolution, and what we can conceivably be.

The movie is less than subtle about these points. It starts out with Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) as a ‘normal’ college girl roped into doing something dumb. She ends up absorbing a new drug – which is a synthesized version of the chemical that makes babies grow – and her brain begins to reach its full potential. Through the first part of this movie, Besson cuts between the normal movie and a bunch of stock footage which is about as subtle as a kick to the head. When Lucy is deciding to help her boyfriend do a dumb thing for bad people, we intercut to some images of predators hunting prey in the wild.

As the movie goes forward the excess imagery is left behind. A complementary viewing of the film might suggest that the audience is asked to use more of their brain. A more objective take would be that the film becomes bored with that trope and merely moves away from it. Whatever the cause, we move towards a more traditional action movie as Lucy learns how to first kick some henchmen butt, then make people float in the air or fall asleep, and then how to drive a car really fast like every other hero in a Luc Besson movie.

Which isn’t to say this isn’t all a bunch of fun. There is a sort of low-intellegence campiness to all of this. The points being made about what humans could accomplish is fairly standard stuff, but it does deliver some cool scenes (such as Lucy moving through time). Any intelligence the movie might have is further mitigated by the fact that one could draw a conclusion that humans can only access their full potential through drugs. It is the blue powder which gives Lucy power, which saves her life, and which sees her find her full potential as a being not bound by the universe.

The plot ends up giving us a bunch of generic villains chasing Lucy around. At first they want their drugs, but then they just want to kill her. Lucy enlists the help of a French cop (Amr Waked) who helps her feel more human. And she also feels the need to dispense all of her newfound knowledge to leading brain expert Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman). Besson is trying to cram a movie of ideas into a movie of action, and he is able to find a surprisingly workable balance.

This is a movie with some obvious influences. 2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY, as previously mentioned, springs to mind. Certainly THE MATRIX is a fore bearer of LUCY, though LUCY tries to treat our real world as the matrix. There is a pathos in the opening scene which is reminiscent of Besson’s LEON. Another cousin of the film, though certainly not an influence due to its coincidentally timed release, is Johansson’s other movie about a woman/being discovering her body: UNDER THE SKIN. Someone could do a heck of an analysis on those two films as a single vision.

But while UNDE THE SKIN is a subtle, quiet take on the alienation of womanhood and the essence of humanness, LUCY is an overly obvious Hollywood action flick about the same subject. It is a wonderful world we live in, and the beautiful nature of humanity, that one can enjoy both for what they are.




FINAL SCORE: 6 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on January 20, 2015.

3 Responses to “johnlink ranks LUCY (2014)”

  1. I liked this movie but it could have used some boobs.

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