lucyUniversal Pictures

“We’ve codified our existence to bring it down to human size, to make it comprehensible, we’ve created a scale so we can forget its unfathomable scale.”

I had such high hopes for Lucy. When I first saw the theatrical trailer, I was rather intrigued–it looked like it had a bit more substance than your usual sci-fi action eye candy, exploring human potential in a kick-but manner. Instead, we got a typical big-budget sci-fi action flick, with a ham-fisted message placed in there in what was probably a desperate attempt to seem deeper than what it really is. It’s like a Twinkee having the cream filling replaced with tuna salad to try and make the thing nutritious.

The core of the story of Lucy involves a college student named Lucy (of course), studying abroad in Taiwan, suddenly finding herself as a drug mule for a Korean crime boss (of course). A significant amount of the illicit pop rocks leak into her system, and instead of dying from the overdose, she gains superhuman powers (of course). Seems this drug is giving Lucy’s brian a massive upgrade, and she’s now on a mission to get the rest of the drug bags, so she can get to 100% of her brain’s potential, so she can become a living computer to give Morgan Freeman a thumbdrive containing the information on Life, the Universe and Everything. Presumably there’s a number 42 with a picture of Douglas Adams looking at you sardonically on there.

You’re probably able to deduce by the level of snarkI’m employing in this review that I wasn’t exactly blown away by Lucy when I got around to watching it. I didn’t do so in the initial theatrical run, nor when it was showing in the El Cheepo second run theaters in the area. I waited for the DVD rental. Because, even without seeing any of the reviews of the movie, something told me, as I was watching the nifty, shiny trailer while I was waiting for X-Men: Days Of Future Past to start, that this would be something I could wait until it was out on DVD to watch. I don’t usually follow my instincts on these things, but in this case, I’m rather glad I did.

On the surface, Lucy is a fairly well-made movie. It’s gorgeous to look at, the cinematography is nicely stylized, the action and story is fairly kinetic throughout, and the effects are used pretty well. Scarlett Johanson is let loose to really employ her style of acting, which is straight from the Keanue Reeves school of wooden and emotionless. Mind you, I have no idea how her acting is like outside of this movie and the three Marvel movies she was in, and I have no desire to actually seek out and watch whatever that movie was she was in with that guy from Ghostbusters (whats-his-face, I love him). The problem that arises with this movie stems from the fact that for the first quarter or so, it seemed like the director decided to splice in various stock clips from the Discovery channel or something, in what I can only assume was an attempt to be “artsy” with the underlying message, here. And that’s the big thing that keeps Lucy from being a completely enjoyable sci-fi popcorn flick: The whole “message” thing was hammered in there with all the subtlety of using an axe to swat a fly. The whole movie just seems like a thinly-veiled biology lecture with shiny action utilized to aleviate the boredom. Add to this the completely flat acting and the confusing character motivation of the lead, and an ending that just flat out tried to out-weird the ending of 2001: A Space Oddity, and there I was, left feeling that there could have been much, much more to the movie, but somehow it fell rather short of what it could have been.

If you’re going into watching Lucy strictly for the visuals, then this is really a treat to watch in that area. Very good effects, and I did enjoy the photography to a certain extent. As for the story, it’s pretty straight forward on a basic level, easy enough to follow and not asking for too much concentration. So, in the end, I would have to say that Lucy is worth a look as a rental, but not really as something to own outright. I’m glad I waited for the rental. Just don’t expect anything too cerebrial.