Take a Drink: every time there’s an inexplicable shot of wildlife
Take a Drink: every time somebody gets shot
Take a Drink: every time you’re overwhelmed with existential concepts
Take a Drink: every time Morgan Freeman gives exposition
Take a Drink: every time Scar Jo gains another superhuman ability
and if you wanna get really drunk, Do a Shot: every time someone says the word “brain”.
By: StarvinMarvinMcFly (Four Beers) –
Where do I start? There’s a bunch of ways to start this thing.
“God bless the French.” or,
“More specifically, God bless Luc Besson, that nutty action director of such classics as The Professional and The Fifth Element.” or,
“Thank God for Scarlett Johansson.” or,
“Man, that Morgan Freeman will do just about anything people write for him, won’t he?”
Regardless, any way I choose to start it is just going to lead to the ultimate conclusion here: Lucy is totally dumb batshit insanity.
If you saw the trailer you know the score, but here’s a little recap. Lucy is a girl living in China/Korea/Japan – I’m not sure if it’s ever specified – whose douchebag boyfriend wants her to make a drug drop. He corners her into doing it, but after he gets shot right in front of her, she gets taken to the mob boss (Choi Min-Sik) who decides to use her to transport a strong synthetic drug. They sew it into her abdomen so she can take it overseas, but while in captivity she gets kicked in the stomach, spilling the drug into her bloodstream. However, this drug isn’t any old drug. It’s CPH4, and Lucy’s brain begins to expand way past any normal human capacity, making her superhuman and allowing her to muse on the origins of life and the question of why we’re here. I know, right? Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we? (Though we don’t have far to dig, let me tell you).
This is all insanely ludicrous, but so far, so cool right? And let me tell you, seeing Scarlett Johansson be the world’s smartest, coolest, hottest walking killer alien human thing is nothing to shake your head at. She’s one of the best female actresses we have today, and she delivers the inane, insane plot with chutzpah. A lot of the movie is closed right up on her face and she delivers. Morgan Freeman shows up to be Morgan Freeman in Exposition Mode. He’s the best. But really, he has one major scene where he explains all of the movie’s “science”, and then comes in at the end where he finally meets up with Lucy so we can have our climax, which was pretty awesome in and of itself, boasting a cool car scene (not really a chase; weirdly, no one’s chasing them at the time), one or two nifty shootouts, and an exhilarating race through time and space. For summer action fare, you could do worse.
It’s just – this has to be the smartest dumb movie I’ve ever seen, or the dumbest smart movie. No, scratch that, there’s no way this movie is smart. It tries really hard to be. It uses Lucy’s overdose (that’s what it is, after all) to ask all these existential philosophical questions on life, the universe, and everything, but it all comes across as straight nonsense. It’s all predicated on the fact that we only use 10% of our brains, right? That’s what Morgan Freeman says in all the trailers, that’s the tagline for the freakin’ film, it’s all over the final product. It’s also FALSE. Science – that lovely thing we have to discover what we don’t know – has proven that that is simply not true. We use all of our brain, just not at the same time. This tells me not much went into writing this script apart from “Hey, did you hear something about we don’t use all of our brain power? Let’s write a movie where a girl CAN.”
Once this movie starts getting all heavy and heady on us, trying to explain how wars can end and how we can transcend humanity (I’m talking DEEP), it still tries to keep Lucy’s earthy problems relevant. After she shows that she can control matter, change her hair color by thinking about it, freeze time, and knock out an entire room with the wave of a hand, why the hell do we care that Korean mobsters are still trying to kill her? She can BLINK and kill them all (which she doesn’t do for some reason) but yet there they are, a completely superfluous threat to her well-being, all the way to the end. For some reason there was nothing better the writers could think of besides a half-baked ticking clock deadline plot device and angry Koreans.
It wasn’t until I got out of the movie that I realized that this movie was ripping off 2001. It starts in the same place, it ends in the same place. It has a trippy “Beyond the Infinite” style sequence that should play gangbusters watching this at home with some herbal supplements. But whereas that movie put the time into its arc and made you feel the weight of the universe as we evolved and changed and got to where we were going, here it starts small and continues small and then suddenly blows up with no rhyme or reason. You could see what they were trying to do with the premise and where they went with it, but they definitely picked the wrong way to get there. The fact that the catalyst is a drug is a tad disconcerting, too. Is dropping acid or rolling on molly going to unlock the key to the universe? Probably not, it just makes you think that way. Wouldn’t it be cool if it did? That’s the ultimate question this movie asks…a perfect summation of this movies’s shortcomings.
It’s got pretty colors and a pretty lady going for it. Anything else about it falls apart at face value. It’s a cool idea utterly wasted, but again, if you’ve seen most everything else out, Scar Jo kicking ass and achieving transcendence might be the way to go. Just check your brain at the door, and turn it off before you do so.