| 03.21.2018

Not operating at full capacity — “Lucy” is an odd film, with strange, albeit entertaining concepts


LucyAndrew Jenson | rawr reviews

“Lucy” is just plain weird – and not always in a good way. The weirdness doesn’t kill the film, but some of the choices made certainly didn’t help it.

“Lucy” is the name of the film’s protagonist. When she is pulled into some sort of drug-smuggling operation, she is used as a carrier. The smugglers’ plans go awry when she is accidentally exposed to the drug, and thus she starts her journey to superhuman-hood. Her brain’s capacity increases and so does her ability to control the matter around her.

This is a unique film – well, unique in that you won’t forget it anytime soon. “Lucy” is a combination of “The Matrix,” “The Bourne Identity,” “Inception,” and a superhero flick.

The film grounds itself via star Scarlett Johansson, who gives a fine performance as usual. She’s able to carry the movie, even though she does little more than marvel at her newfound capabilities as they grow ever-stronger and more diverse. But to be fair, even when she sits in wide-eyed awe, she plays it intelligently. She doesn’t completely lose herself, but you can see she’s troubled. In fact, considering her predicament, Johansson’s character handled herself surprisingly well.

The story is interesting, even if the plot feels like it was ripped from a 1950s sci-fi B movie. If you can buy into the film’s premise, you’ll definitely enjoy the movie. Again, it is a tad weird, but “Lucy” manages to keep you curious to the end.

So this movie has Scarlett Johansson, a weird but kind of cool premise and even an expository Morgan Freeman in the mix. What’s not to like?

Well, the movie makes you feel like a moron at times. For example, when Lucy is kidnapped in the beginning of the film, director Luc Besson (“The Fifth Element”) decided that images of a cheetah taking down a gazelle was necessary. As if to say, “Audience, this is bad. See, she’s being taken like that cute little gazelle. Get it? Get it? She’s the gazelle and the kidnappers are the cheetah. Get it now? It’s like a display of our primitive nature. Yeah?” And for a moment, you’re wondering if you’d just paid money to see a big-screen adaption of “Animal Planet.”

But that’s not all. The film then shows Morgan Freeman lecturing college students about how cells chose one of two destinies – immortality or reproduction – based on their environments. Now, in case the whole reproduction thing goes right over your head, the film makes it crystal clear that it’s talking about sex. The audience gets treated to b-roll of animals and humans getting it on, followed by footage of the females delivering their offspring – just in case you were in the dark about how all that reproduction stuff worked.

Now, taking this into account, you have to wonder about the film’s intended audience. From the point Lucy gains her abilities onward, the film decides not to show anymore footage of cutesy or predatory animals. If Besson thinks the audience is too dumb to comprehend concepts like good and bad or reproduction, why does he leave them hanging without any references to the animal world to compare to the events in the movie? If Lucy is feeling sad, how is the audience going to understand her feelings unless they see a sad puppy dog?

Still, “Lucy” is an entertaining and somewhat interesting, if a silly and slightly confused, B movie extravaganza. It’s so weird.

Andrew Jenson can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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