As with most big-budget Hollywood craptaculars, I have mixed feelings about Lucy. It’s not like they hid anything from those who chose to go in. You know what to expect. This is a turn-brain-off type of film even as it teases with turn-brain-on ideas of its plot. That’s a paradox worth mentioning.
And I love Scarlett Johansson. She’s gorgeous and charismatic (call me, SJ!), but perhaps not the best actress who’s ever lived. Hey, I keep it real here.
What I didn’t expect was that the story would turn into Scarlett’s Transcendence, which if you’ve seen the other film may count as a spoiler. Completing the paradox, the first half of Lucy is pretty watchable, while the last half of Transcendence is better. Ponder that, if you care to. Maybe there’s a Supercut to meld the two together into a hyper-Lucy-Transcendence that actually works. Scarlett looks a lot better transcending than Depp by the way.
Lucy doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously though. The movie is okay with being blatantly silly, I think. It’s easy to forgive because it’s so visually well crafted. The imagery is done well, as the director combines stock nature footage with the ongoing crime plot, intercutting at will. It gives a comic sensibility, as if everyone just has to accept they’re going to keep it lighthearted, so don’t take it too seriously. We’re not.
I must admit I was annoyed that Lucy shoots a taxi driver simply because he doesn’t speak English. Frankly I was shocked that they would allow this, a white American woman to just murder an Asian cabby for no more justification than he was the one who didn’t speak her language. Not funny. On any level. What the hell?
Then there’s the 10% question. Do we use only 10% of our brains’ “capacity?” Scientists say no. Others say yes. What the hell does “capacity” mean, and who’s defining it? This percentage stat is used in the plot, whereby Lucy progresses in percentages. This was perhaps the most laughable part of the experience, but it’s front and center.
As I said it’s a mixed bag, something for everyone. Some ideas are sure to induce eye rolling, but there’s not a lot of great cinema coming out of Hollywood these days; you take what you can get.