When Lucy is kidnapped and forced to play drug mule for a Korean mafia with a drug sewn into her abdomen, things go terribly wrong: when the drug accidentally invades the rest of her body, it unlocks the unused percentages of her brain – and with the great power comes great danger.
Lucy’s plot advances incredibly quickly once the painful first minutes, that arguably feel a bit slow, are over – and yet it doesn’t, really, because it becomes quite clear what is actually going to happen to our dear protagonist (Scarlett Johannsson): she’s off to see Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to see what’s up. Or maybe it’s not, because with every new percentage unlocked, she unlocks amazing abilities that will (literally) blow your mind if she so chooses. Luckily, she’s not alone, and with the help of a police officer, she is trying to escape the evil schemes that got her there in the first place…
Timey-wimey, wobbly stuff
First things first: I am not one of those ‘scientific accuracy’ people when it comes to movies – unless I’m watching a documentary, or something that is strictly non-fiction, I do not think that every film should be completely accurate. Fiction would be boring if it was; where would all our science fiction be? So I didn’t mind Transcendence or Her as much as other people did, but Lucy set a stop even to my tolerance. I can easily ignore the fact that the 10% of the brain theory is simply a myth, but what they managed to pull out of that is, quite frankly, silly. And while quite entertaining – even interesting and to some extent plausible at the beginning, the more the film advances, the more ridiculous and preposterous Lucy’s sudden powers get, to the point where, in the final stages, you might just actually feel your brain melting. The ideas are quite interesting and definitely have some value, but to me, at least, the implementation was a little questionable to the point of pretentious. But we’re not here to discuss science, are we?
If there is one thing that I can definitely say in favour of the film, it is the way it uses the potential of its plot and theme visually – and the editing in part makes up for the rather strange experience otherwise. Cross-cutting the main storyline with images from nature and Professor Norman’s lecture, the film attempts to make some statements about human nature as such – and not human nature in a vacuum, but human nature in relation to the animal kingdom, evolution. Lucy’s hidden powers give rise to quite some special effects, and those at the same time save the film and make it a little sillier by the second. All seems somewhat contained, until it’s not anymore.
Human nature – really?
Again a bit on the disappointing side are the characters, which is stunning considering that the film is concerned with human nature so much, and what makes us different from animals. Although there is some powerful acting to be seen, especially, as always, in the case of Morgan Freeman, the character concepts do just not seem to compute – at least not in the extent that the visuals do. Indeed, it seems that the film focuses much more on its special effects than on creating something believable. The plot is executed loosely and carelessly, and the characters just don’t get the chance to have a lot of depth. Although it makes sense that Lucy becomes more detached and uncaring with her growing powers, and there is a heartfelt scene when she accesses her deepest memories, she does it to the point that it became obnoxious, and I’m assuming from the reaction of the rest of the cinema I’m not the only one. Although I may be a bit harsh here, there was not a second in the film where she seemed likeable to me, and while of course she doesn’t have to – many powerful film characters are so effective precisely because they’re not likeable – she just doesn’t make us care enough in either direction. Maybe we’re not supposed to, and maybe that’s the whole point – another powerful statement on humanity – but it takes away quite something. And if it is so clear that the protagonist doesn’t really care, why should you?
Light, casual entertainment
Despite all the drama, and all the potential that it could have, the film just doesn’t realise what it could be, and that’s a real shame. While pleasing from a technical side, the narrative part is just lacking that something extra – the way it was realised, I think I would have had much more potential as a video game than a film. Still, it wasn’t an entirely bad experience, and if you’re willing to ignore and take a step back from your expectations, it can even be quite entertaining and funny – if you let it be. If you’re not expecting the movie of a lifetime, you’ll have fun. I think it’s worth a shot especially to see what all the fuss is about – but I don’t have the urge to re-watch it anytime soon.