Lucy

“LUCY”

Yes guys it’s finally true I am reviewing a movie for the site that isn’t based on a comic and it was done as a request when i first started setting up the page.

I must admit I had absolutely no expectations going into this movie all I knew is that it was directed by the same man who directed “The Fifth Element” and “Taken” and that it starred Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman (by the way he is one of my favourite actors of all time). While it feels like this movie is aiming to be a really high conceptual film, it just doesn’t work for me.

When I left the theatre I didn’t think that the film I had seen was bad, but the more I reflected on it on the way home the more I thought maybe I was a bit too generous.

I think Lucy’s biggest problem is in its plot. The plot centers around a young student living in Taiwan being forcibly used in an experiment by a drug lord which somehow causes her to gain super human abilities because she is accessing more of her brain.

Before you click off this review because you realise how stupid that sounds there is at least some explanation given on how this works. It’s not a lot but it’s some. The drug is supposedly developed from a substance that we get when we are a foetus during pregnancy, but I didn’t really cover that when I did a science degree so I can’t really say how true that really is or not. This film really relies on you believing the myth that we only use 10% of our brain in fact it is hammered in quite a lot.

The film constantly cuts back to how much percentage of her brain Lucy has access to at any one time, supposedly she is getting more and more powerful the more she is accessing the brain. Now I can tell you from doing my science degree I can fully establish that that is definitely a myth and we do in fact use quite a lot of our brain, so in reality if this really were happening we probably wouldn’t get the sort of super human abilities that Lucy gets.

This film’s plot’s biggest problem though is the fact that it definitely isn’t long enough to do this kind of story. I entered the theatre to see this at 4.00pm and I was out of the cinema at 5.30 and this included trailers at the beginning. So as a result a lot of things don’t get explained. Yes the scientist played by Morgan Freeman does try to explain a lot of what is going on, but it just feels really rushed. There is also a ton of things to do with the villains that isn’t explained. Yes they want to build a drug empire with this thing, whatever it is that’s been put inside Lucy and three other people from Europe, but it’s never explained what exactly they are going to do with it once these people have been forcibly smuggled across the borders. Are they going to be forcibly met with someone when they get there, and have the drugs removed, are they selling it on, how are people going to get high from this and therefore demand more of a sale. None of this is ever explained.

We see a scene earlier on when they give a small sample of the drug to one man and it appears he is getting some sort of a high from it, but the second he gets high he gets shot in the head. What the hell was the point of that! When I was watching the villains, half the time that is what I was shouting in my head “what the hell are you doing! what is the point of any of this!”

There is also a scene in the middle of the movie where Lucy has the opportunity to kill the main bad guy and she doesn’t do it. Why? You could have solved half of your problems if you had! The only reason she doesn’t kill him is we wouldn’t have had the final act of the film if she did.

The ending of this film is also really confusing. I still have no idea what the hell happened. I am not going to reveal the ending because I want to keep these reviews spoiler free, but lets just say that when I finally saw this thing to its closing credits I did actually say in the middle of the theatre “what the hell was that!”

Right, lets move on. Acting. Scarlett Johannson does play

Lucy pretty well for the first ten to fifteen minutes, but then it just goes all downhill from there. I know there is a line that says as she gets more access to her brain she starts losing what makes her human, but she could have put more life into this character. She just seems bored the entire time she is on screen. I wouldn’t mind so much except for the fact that we are forced to stay with her the majority of the time. I just didn’t enjoy her performance. Morgan Freeman does a pretty good job, as Morgan Freeman would, but he isn’t given much to do. In fact he also looks very disappointed half the time he is on the screen, it’s almost like he’s said to the director before he’s gone on, “are you sure you haven’t got anything else for me to do!”

Other than that the rest of the cast is ‘just there’ really. They don’t really do their jobs that well! The villain is forgettable! The side characters are also just there, they’re basically just cameos. There’s nothing really to talk about. No wonder the posters just highlight Scarlett Johannson and Morgan Freeman. They are the only people acting.

I did go to see this film in IMAX because it had been heavily advertised as the way to see this film and I feel ripped off. Yes some of the shots worked very well with the IMAX but I didn’t think I was getting anything better by doing so! I would have got just as much an interest with the effects and the sequences had I seen it on a regular screen. An IMAX performance is always the same, enjoyable, but I am saying its just not necessary. To anyone who hasn’t seen this film yet on the back of this review and you still want to see it, just get a regular ticket, it’s not worth it. While we are on the subject of the effects, some of them range from pretty good to downright ‘I have no idea what the hell I am looking at’.

Most of the special effects result around Lucy’s brain activity and it took me a while to realise what she was doing.

Lets talk action sequences. They’re are actually pretty good. This is definitely one of the positive points I will give to Lucy. The practical effects work well for when she’s using things like psychokinesis (at least I think that’s what it is) and the action is actually kept to enough of a distance in terms of the positioning of the camera so I can actually feel every movement, but this was definitely one point I did enjoy. The only action sequence I didn’t really like was the car chase in Paris. I know she is trying to get somewhere in a hurry, again I am not going to spoil the plot of this film too much, but there is no reason for the police to be chasing her, and what’s more the sequence is filmed with everything up way too close, even worse was half the cars being CGI, even Need for Speed got right that you should use actual cars for your car chase and that film was rubbish.

This film I would actually say is one of the most pretentiously shot films I have seen all year. They do tons of quasi-philosophical symbolism using footage from wildlife documentaries and it really gets on my nerves. It’s trying to pretend it’s smarter than it is. It makes a lot of references to the first Hominid being called Lucy. But they don’t really touch upon it, it’s just a brief mention at the beginning and a brief mention towards the end – what was the point of that!

The film also stops right in the middle of sequences, just a flash across the screen, what percentage of her brain she now has access to, which got even more annoying. Yes, I am not an idiot, I can tell that she is accessing more and more of her brain as time goes on, you kept hammering it in at the beginning. I thought that in the middle of this film that maybe this was meant to be something I turned off my brain and just enjoy it as a simple picture but the film constantly reminds you that you should keep your brain on and unfortunately it just highlights half the problems.

There are some positive points to this film, like, as I mentioned the action sequences and the fact that Morgan Freeman does a pretty good job, though he’s not given much to do and Paris is shot very well, but it’s just not enough to really ignore a lot of the negative points. I remember when Bennet the Sage for his online show reviewed Twighlight of the Cockroaches and he described the film as being more interesting than it is good and I think that sums up this film in a nutshell.

This review is probably a lot shorter because of the length of the film and the fact that i didn’t really have much to say on it, it didn’t really do anything for me. It tries a lot of these high concepts, but it doesn’t have the intelligence to back it up. Probably it’s length is one of the reasons I don’t hate it because I wasn’t forced to sit thru it too long. I really get the sense that people were trying with this film, but this needed another re-write. This should have not been the final product and it only gets worse the more I think about it.

I’m certain Lucy appeals to someone, I really am. I would say check it out as you’ll probably see something that I didn’t., but for me I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough. This is not how the brain works, this is not how humanity itself works and this is not how evolution works, and for a film that’s trying to report that it knows that! That’s a big sin. I would recommend it if you’re curious, but if you go by my review, I’d say, avoid it. You can spend your money and see a lot better films that are out right now.

Ok guys I hope you have enjoyed seeing one of the films that I have set for this week at the cinema, drop me a comment. I need to know what everyone else thinks to see whether I got it right or wrong. I’m very interested to see whether our opinions match.

I promised in this section I would tell you about the next film review, well I may have metiontion the next film was going to be the direct to DVD Justice League War well that was due to the fact I was meant to be going on holiday and it was the only way I was going to get a review out on time but due to Dr Buchan’s unfortunate injury we are not able to get out there so I have decided since the next film should be a cinema release to make the best of a bad situation (also the film is really difficult to get a copy of without Amazon digital or iTunes). At the request of Dr Buchan on 30 September I’ll be posting my review of the next film which is Pride

Oh and for everyone who was expecting Justice League war I’m sorry and I do intend to review all the DC animated movies that come out next year to make up for it.

Calvin – Nerd Consultant

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4 comments on “Lucy
  1. Sarah says:

    Enjoyed reading the review Calvin. You have confirmed what I suspected when I saw the reviews. Such a shame as it sounds like it could have been good.

  2. Anna says:

    I remember seeing this movie with my boyfriend on a whim after a meal and shopping. Both of us knew it was going to be bad but when we came at out it was just so bad we weren’t quite sure how to describe it!

    The main disappointment for me was seeing Choi Min-shik (Korean star of cult classics such as Oldboy, I saw the Devil and Lady Vengeance) featuring as the main villain. He is a great actor so seeing him in this film was disheartening for me. Also, the film was set in Taiwan so why were the villains Korean?!

    Great review Cal!

  3. David Jarvis says:

    Hi Calvin and anyone reading.
    Sorry to hear you weren’t able to get away on holiday and I hope Dr Buchan is recovering well.
    I enjoyed reading your review. You’re very thorough and you’ve clearly put a lot of thought into it.
    I used to work in a cinema but don’t go much these days. I still retain an interest in films though, and regularly read reviews.
    When I heard about this movie it didn’t really appeal to me so I would probably only watch it on a whim if it was on TV in the future. I’m quite influenced by the reviews I read and generally only go to see something if it really intrigues me and/or has been well-received. As a result, I can’t help out with views of my own on this particular film.
    I seem to remember watching another film called Limitless that used the plot device of a character taking a pill that gave him access to a greater percentage of his brain. I don’t remember much about it other than it being fairly entertaining so I think I must have dismissed it as a bit ‘throw-away’ so to speak.
    That reminds me of one thought that came to mind when reading your review. I wondered whether, given what you say about us actually using a large amount of our brain, is there still a potentially valid query as to whether we are still only using a small percentage of it’s ‘potential’ e.g. some people have photographic memories, or the abilities of Autistic savants. These abilities seem to be the result of different ‘wiring’ in the brain, for want of a better word. Maybe in the future it may be possible to ‘rewire’ our brains somehow, to give us all access to these abilities, although this wouldn’t be the case if the abilities were also the result of brains that were structurally different. Sorry to go on there, I know that isn’t specifically about films but I just found it interesting to contemplate. I don’t know enough about the subject and haven’t looked into it enough to be more definitive though.

    Although I don’t have any more to say about ‘Lucy’ I thought I’d just mention another film I’d seen recently on TV if that’s okay?
    I watched the film ‘Dune’ recently and found it intriguing. It’s an adaptation of the Sci-Fi book and was made in 1984 so the effects are obviously dated. It is also pretty ‘bonkers’, over-acted and hard to understand if you’re not familiar with the book which I’m not. Some people say it’s a terrible adaptation because it changes and misses out parts of the book. Despite all this though, the scope and strange creativity of the world it inhabits kept me involved. I won’t detail the plot as it would take me ages and is essentially a bit formulaic in that it involves the prophecy of a chosen one who rises up and defeats the evil rulers of the galaxy. I think I concentrated more on the visual experience and the music.
    I particularly liked one passage from the script and found it quite stirring. It is a sort of incantation that the hero recites to himself in times of peril and is as follows:
    “I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see it’s path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain “

    • Calvin Atkinson says:

      hey david

      it was really great and interesting reading you’re comments

      i agree on you’re analysis on use of the brain, potential brain growth and the way brains are wired up differently for thing photographic memory and autist servants the reason i didn’t mention them in this way in my review is because the writers either ignore these facts or try to out right pretend they don’t exist so as a result there is no real mention of this in the film. between us we’ve put way more thought into this than the actual writers.

      i have watched limitless and i didn’t really think the whole plot device of the pill that causes a person to get more access to the brain was done much better there but it’s been a while and my thoughts were the film was fairly forgettable

      I also have seen Dune and i agree that some effects have dated and it takes a couple of liberties with the novel but i really found it to be great cheesy fun and i’ll never get tiered of seeing that guy riding that giant worm (insert you’re own joke here). also loved the use of the quote thanks for reminder forgot how much i liked that movie may rent it on DVD soon

      the film society will be on the agenda at the next crewe group get together with time to give people a chance to give there thoughts in the direction it’s going will welcome input hope to see you there Carly should have all details

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