By Jay Sizemore
Director Luc Besson’s newest feature is already getting a lot of flak from the scientific community for supposedly propagating a myth that has long been disproved, thus to them making the entire movie a waste of time and something to dismiss with a condescending snort. To those people I say this: Calm down. Your science is not threatened by a science fiction movie. If that were the case, why watch anything science fiction? Your aloof attitude is making you miss one of the most fun blockbusters the box office currently has to offer.
Lucy is a no-holds-barred action-packed sci-fi film, hyper-stylised like a live-action animé, and as inventive as they come. Yes, science has a lot to say on the reality of how much of our brain we really use, but pretending that accessing more brain power can give us special abilities is fun, plus, it allows for some pretty awesome special effects. Oh, and there’s Scarlett Johansson, one of the most beautiful people on the planet according to every magazine poll everywhere, and she showcases her acting chops here, proving once again that she deserves to be the reigning queen of sci-fi. This is especially true in the opening sequences, when she portrays a woman drawn into the web of something beyond her control, and she is helpless to do anything about it. Her fear is downright palpable. Once she becomes “aware,” the tonal shift is quite impressive, and her ability to carry this entire movie is unwavering. She demands your attention and demands your respect. I for one am quite happy to see an actress lead a movie like this to assured success.
And let’s not forget that Morgan Freeman is here in a supporting role. He may be saying a lot of things that just are not true, but damn it, it’s Morgan Freeman, and I would believe him if he told me the sky was green. He plays an important role in this film’s story arc, but don’t get too excited, no role ever detracts too much from our main character’s journey. This movie is called Lucy for a reason.
From the onset of this movie’s narration, we get the sense that we are stepping into a different kind of director’s imagination, as he inter-splices nature footage of predator and prey in between the action on screen, heightening the tension and anticipation for the audience. He uses this technique throughout the film to unique effect. Near the end his character goes on a mental journey through the cosmos, much like Dave from 2001: A Space Odyssey — yet another film-maker paying homage to Kubrick’s classic (seems to be a trend lately, further proving that film’s genius and everlasting relevance).
Sure, it’s a bit over the top and outlandish with its philosophies and grandiose gestures — such as when the character Lucy meets the ancient human ancestor Lucy and reaches out to her like God reaching to Adam on the Sistine Chapel — but as an audience member, you either allow yourself to go along for the ride, or you ruin the fun for everyone else. My only concern about the movie is the ending, which tells me I should now know what to do with my life, except that it really didn’t tell me anything other than to forget everything I think I know, and try to turn myself into a computer. As for now, I think I’ll just stick to watching crazy science fiction movies and stuffing my face with popcorn.
Jay Sizemore is a film critic for the magazine.