“Lucy” is the worst film of the year, with poor performances and a ridiculous plot, it is in no way enjoyable or worth your time. Take my word for it and save your money. The trailer didn’t look all that great to begin with, but I decided to give it a shot, because it had the potential to be interesting; it had the most attractive premise of the films which were in the theatre at the time (bearing in mind that I saw “Lucy” at the start of September and had seen almost everything else). However, the trailer looks like “Citizen Kane” compared to the end product, which was a complete aberration. There are no positives to be found in this awful piece of cinema; the script, the acting and the visuals were just terrible, and the worst thing is that this movie actually did quite well in terms of revenue! The only thing this movie serves to show is that having a box-office draw in your film such as Scarlett Johansson or Morgan Freeman will bring the money in; the quality of the final product doesn’t really matter.
The film is all about Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), as she comes into contact with a drug (CPH4) allowing her to access 100% of her cerebral capacity. That sequence of events actually takes place in the early parts of the film, and the build up is almost non-existent. We are immediately thrown into the story with no character development. Lucy doesn’t come across as very likeable in those first few moments, as (SPOILER ALERT) she is tricked into delivering a briefcase to someone that she doesn’t know and who is clearly dangerous. At that point I had serious concerns about how good this movie could possibly be, and worried that the film would continue to be rushed throughout, which it most definitely was.
“Lucy” does so little with its premise that it is genuinely laughable. There are hundreds of ways to develop on the idea of a human being accessing the entirety of their brain’s potential; Lucy could’ve been a superhero, she could’ve attempted to create a whole species of super-intelligent humans in the style of Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”, she could’ve attempted to cure cancer! So the fact that the filmmakers took this path is an absolute disgrace, because what Lucy does with her intelligence is so small and insignificant, even though she has a seemingly infinite array of skills and ‘limitless’ power.
(SPOILER ALERT) The actual plot of this film, beyond the generic, revolves around Lucy’s attempt to retrieve the rest of the drug that she has been infected by, as well as her struggle to understand what she should do with her new found intelligence. Now with super-intelligence you would think that it wouldn’t be too hard to decide what the best course of action in any particular situation would be, but Lucy has to ask Professor Samuel Norman (Morgan Freeman) for some extremely vague advice about her abilities, because clearly she’s still not the best decision maker in the world. Lucy actually wastes most of her time on a journey to meet Norman, and gets very little else done (other than terrifying civilians), so you have to wonder why she doesn’t just alter her matter to grow wings and save time (because towards the end of the movie it is revealed that she is able to manipulate here genetic code, for example, she is capable of creating another hand next to her original hand with complete ease). This kind of issue leads me to believe that the filmmakers just didn’t take enough care to create a coherent story or credible characters.
“Lucy” offers no justification for why it’s titular character is able to do all the incredible things she can do. The main problem I had with actually seeing the film in the first place was that I didn’t believe that its premise could be fully fulfilled. We don’t know what would happen if we unlocked the entirety of our cerebral capacity, so to try and explain it takes a lot of inventiveness and some real imagination. To get a film like this right you have to have both an exciting and unique idea for what Lucy is going to do with her ability, and also a sense of realism. Both of those aspects together would make for a very entertaining movie, but they weren’t to be found in this one; to get this film right would’ve been a real achievement and I never believed that it would happen.
The only explanation that this film offers for why Lucy is able to control matter, gravity and other external things, is that ‘she can use 100% of her brain’, which really tells us nothing about the nature of her abilities and is extremely basic. The brain is situated in the body, it is wholly located inside flesh and blood and bone. The mind is a different matter, but the brain is stuck, and that’s what she is able to get the most out of through this drug. Now I will concede that we don’t know what would happen if we could access our entire cerebral capacity, but I feel confident in saying that it would be localised to processes internal to us as human beings, such as highly increased intelligence and heightened emotion. Therefore, I feel that Lucy’s abilities aren’t interesting or fantastic, they’re just nonsensical! There has to be a point at which you stop and say, ‘no, human beings just can’t do that’, but “Lucy” just refuses to accept that fact and it really suffers as a result.
This is a science-fiction film, and as such the filmmakers have a bit of a license to bend reality; the “Game of Thrones” universe has a giant wall made of ice which would never be able to exist in the real world, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t brilliant. However, “Game of Thrones” takes place in an alternate reality, and that is very clearly the case. We don’t even know for sure that Westeros is a place on Earth, it could be in another galaxy, and most likely it is. “Lucy” on the other hand is very clearly set on this planet, and should attempt to be as realistic as possible, considering the fact that it takes itself so seriously and seems to want to say something about the nature of our reality and how we see the world. I really couldn’t see past this problem, because the movie wasn’t entertaining enough to make me turn off my brain and ignore faults, it was a boring, badly acted film with a shaky premise and lifeless characters.
The filmmakers treat you like you’re stupid for the majority of the film, as Lucy must explain what’s going on to scientists specialising in understanding the brain and its potential, in order to tell the audience what’s going on at every turn. The director and the writers refused to give Scarlett Johansson the respect she deserves, because they forced her to constantly explain what Lucy felt and how the drug was affecting her, rather than allowing her performance to give the audience an indication of the emotions at play.
The insults to our intelligence don’t only come from Lucy, they also come from Norman, as he gives a lecture on the plot of the film, which coincides with Lucy’s infection via the drug. In that scene the writers felt that it was essential to force feed the idea behind the film to the audience, which is always annoying, but it was also unnecessary (almost everyone in the cinema would’ve been familiar with the plot, because they are likely to have seen the trailer). The only reason why Norman is giving the lecture is so that the premise can be reinforced and to foreshadow what’s about to happen, because university lectures are of a much higher standard than Norman’s lecture in this film. Norman’s dialogue was clearly written so that it would be accessible to the entire audience, but university isn’t like that; for this to be a genuine lecture Norman would’ve had to have been a guest speaker and the lecture itself would’ve had to have been recreational, in that it would not be on any actual course. However, the students listening to Norman have laptops at the ready and take notes on what he’s saying as if he is a revolutionary, so this is not an open lecture, it’s a tool to explain the plot of the film for anyone foolish enough to watch this movie without seeing the trailer.
The performances in “Lucy” are awful, as you would expect considering the fact that I’ve already said that this is the worst film of the year. Scarlett Johansson’s performance has no subtlety, as she goes from being the stupidest person in the world to the smartest with absolutely no transition period. Once the drug was in her system she became emotionless and expressionless, but she was a nervous wreck just minutes before. I feel that this is partly a problem with the direction, because she was probably told to be cold and calculated now that she had higher intelligence and knew what needed to be done, but I still think that Johansson could’ve given a more nuanced performance. When the drug initially entered her system she reacted to it by having a kind of fit, but it just looked so artificial. There are plenty of actors who could’ve pulled that scene off and made the whole escapade a bit more disturbing, but Johansson’s acting in that scene was just ridiculous and I actually burst into laughter. Johansson is over the top, completely lacking in charm, and delivers her lines extremely tediously.
The special effects in this movie weren’t great; the drug going around Lucy’s body was interesting to watch, or at least it could have been, but it was accompanied by the sultry sounds of dubstep. Who thought that this was appropriate for those scenes? I understand that the drug is making her insides go crazy and that the sounds we’re hearing are attempting to convey that sense of destruction and chaos, but this kind of music doesn’t belong in a serious movie. There are plenty of other examples of terrible effects in this film, (SPOILER ALERT), the computer generated imagery for the car crashes was really quite dreadful, and the primordial goo which Lucy became at the end of the film was just bizarre. The really shocking thing about that aspect of the movie is that it can’t be blamed on the budget, this movie had more than enough backing to warrant some exciting special effects, so the only people to blame are the filmmakers.
There are so many stupid moments in this film:
1) Norman talks to Lucy through his phone even when Lucy is visibly not holding her phone anymore. He might have been so shocked by what he was seeing that he couldn’t process what he was doing, but it didn’t come across in that way, there was no humour in what was happening.
2) Lucy tapped away on her keyboard to do crazy things that she could clearly have done with her mind alone. She doesn’t need the laptop just like she doesn’t need to drive or get on a plane to get where she’s going, so why does she use them?
3) Lucy kisses Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked), a police detective located in Paris, a man that she barely knows and has no emotional connection with. Her explanation for why she does this is that it acts as a reminder of her humanity, but that just makes no sense! If she is so far from being human (in the normal sense) then why does she want a reminder at all? Why would kissing a complete stranger act as a reminder? Is that all she did with her time on Earth before the drug?
4) The Korean drug lord (Mr. Jang, played by Choi Min-sik) didn’t really react to the fact that Lucy was able to kill half a dozen of his henchman, even though he met her just hours before, and she was a snivelling coward! Moreover, the henchman themselves weren’t fazed by being flung into the air by a flick of Lucy’s wrist, or by being turned into mimes. They just looked angry about it; they should’ve been mesmerised, the nature of their reality has been turned on its head!
This movie should never have been made. Nothing groundbreaking happened, the performances were poor, the effects were appalling and the characters were very underdeveloped. “Lucy” is the worst film of the summer, and one of the worst I’ve ever seen, which is a big statement because I’ve seen some pretty horrible films (I saw “Honey 2” at the cinema for God’s sake). I asked my father (who came to see this film with me on my recommendation – I’ll never live it down) what he thought the film would be out of 10 before it started, and he said 4; how I wish he was correct! This movie is so far from being a 4/10 that it doesn’t even deserve to be in the domain of positive numbers, but if I go any lower than 1 things might get slightly silly in the future. Going into this film I thought that it might just be “Limitless 2.0”, which would’ve at least been watchable, but this isn’t even worthy of that title.