Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Tyler

Lucy (2014)

Recommended Posts

Release date has been moved up from August 8th to July 25th, 2014.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter might like these connections - Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a hyper evolving, possible next link human - Lucy is also the name of the famous Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, that has been described in evolution circles as a key missing link - Lucy was discovered by David (one "s") Johanson.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It took about 20-30 minutes for me to realize just how much I was enjoying Lucy. It's an energetic piece of filmmaking, and the audience laughed several times during the film. I never felt like it was mocking laughter of the what-sort-of-lame-film-is-this-anyway variety, but maybe I misread the audience's reaction. I know only that my own laughter was caused by the pleasure of seeing well-executed action filmmaking -- something I haven't seen from Besson in decades, although admittedly I've skipped much of his output since then. 

 

What holds me back from an attempt at making a more objective case for the film's merits is my friend's experience of watching the film with me. He looked at his watch several times and was clearly put off, if not bored, by the film early on. He never enjoyed himself, and from the reviews I've been seeing, neither did a sizable portion of critics.

 

But there's another group that went along for the ride, and that's the group I side with. I enjoyed far too much of Lucy to spend a lot of time discussing what I didn't care for in it. Wanna hash out the implications of the plot? Go ahead. I'll be standing in the corner, looking for others who didn't take the film all that seriously but enjoyed it on other levels.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the first twenty minutes was fantastic and liked it less and less with each subsequent fifteen minute increment. By end I was ambivalent, but still mildly positive. Podcast here

 

Lucy is a summer popcorn movie, to be sure. But when a movie has this much God symbolism, you can bet The Thin Place is going to ponder what it all is supposed to mean...
 
 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the conclusion of Matt Zoller Seitz's review:

 

The movie is alive. It pops.

 

Yes, and increasingly, that's all I care about. I'm not saying that such a brief summation should be the extent of a film review -- Matt precedes those concluding sentences with hundreds of words -- but it's the dividing line between films worth seeing and the many, many -- endlessly many, it seems -- films that are "dead" on the screen.

 

Joe Morgenstern wrote about this a couple of years ago, and I referenced his take in a review of Hit and Run. We might, of course, have different takes on what constitutes "alive" versus "dead" on a cinematic level; my own definition is rather broad. But I'd definitely put Lucy on the "alive" side of the equation.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the first twenty minutes was fantastic and liked it less and less with each subsequent fifteen minute increment. By end I was ambivalent, but still mildly positive.

Pretty much this, with the enthusiasm down just a click at each stage of the process.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I said on Twitter, I had a dream a couple nights ago (i.e. the night I saw this film) in which I asked Morgan Freeman about the similarities between this film and Transcendence, and he'd forgotten he was even *in* Transcendence.

 

This film made *way* too many leaps in logic (or even just in plot mechanics) for me to really get into it, but I appreciated how wildly out-of-control it got at points, especially when it evoked the creation sequences in Noah and Tree of Life. You don't expect *that* in a Eurotrashy action thriller. (And now I wish even more that I had seen Under the Skin when it passed through Vancouver, as I hear Scarlett Johansson's character here isn't that different from her character in that one. Jeffrey Wells also noted a possible similarity between her character here and her "character" in Her.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Lucy has opened to a $44 million weekend, which is...surprising. For perspective, that's four times what Transcendence managed. I wonder what the key factor was in luring audiences out for this one - maybe the promise of some guilty-pleasure action fun, as opposed to the monochrome po-faced seriousness of Transcendence? (That sort of grandiosity works for Nolan, but Nolan is Nolan...)

 

Either that, or Scarlett Johansson is now a bigger star than Johnny Depp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even given the premise that someone who could use their brain to its full capacity would almost literally become God, this is an extremely nonsensical movie.

 

However, if Her, Under the Skin, and this form the Scarlett Johansson sci-fi trilogy, this is in some ways a fitting conclusion. All three of the films are about men trying to decide if a beautiful woman, i.e. Scarlett, is human (the answer is no in every case). In Her, Scarlett used just her voice, in Under the Skin she primarily used her body, and here she uses both.

 

The trouble is that unlike in Her, Scarlett's character isn't convincingly empathetic before becoming transcendent and super-powerful. She starts off annoyed and bewildered, quickly passes to helpless and terrified, and then with hardly any intermediate phase goes into full-on Terminator mode, where she remains. The only exception is her phone call to her mom, and while I'm glad Matt Zoller Seitz pointed out the "goofy Proustian boldness" of this scene, I found it too generic to be powerful or believable. (Strangely, the mom doesn't even ask whether she's okay, when she sounds for all the world like she thinks her life is about to end.)

 

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy it a lot, even though it doesn't hold up like I'm convinced Her does and Under the Skin might (still haven't decided about that one).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just caught up with Chris Orr's review -- he despised this movie, but had a lot of fun doing so -- and noticed there are 400 comments below the piece. I have to work now, but I have little doubt that the comments will be as much fun as the review itself -- even though I enjoyed Lucy.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It took about 20-30 minutes for me to realize just how much I was enjoying Lucy. It's an energetic piece of filmmaking, and the audience laughed several times during the film. I never felt like it was mocking laughter of the what-sort-of-lame-film-is-this-anyway variety, but maybe I misread the audience's reaction. I know only that my own laughter was caused by the pleasure of seeing well-executed action filmmaking -- something I haven't seen from Besson in decades, although admittedly I've skipped much of his output since then. 

 

 

You really should see The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It took about 20-30 minutes for me to realize just how much I was enjoying Lucy.

Strangely, 20-30 minutes is how long I enjoyed it for. After that it went steadily downhill for me. Strong first act, though.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got back from seeing this silly, silly movie. Two nights ago the family re-watched THE FIFTH ELEMENT. I wanted see that one in order to "prep" myself for LUCY. After ELEMENT I got nervous. It's kinda fun, but so awfully silly that I feared LUCY would be more of the same. LUCY did not disappoint. And then I remembered the family had watched LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL a couple months ago. I remember the first time I saw that film I thought it was really cool and intense. This last time I thought is was okay, but with some really silly moments and formulaic character development wrapped in the appearance of something new. Ah... Luc Besson, why do you torment me so?!

 

...but I can't say I don't recommend LUCY. For it works at a certain level of goofy entertainment that perhaps can be enjoyable at, say, the end of a long, hot day loading a semi-truck with hay bales, and then settling down after dinner with several beers on a comfortable couch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have several stupid questions, which probably arise from my limited 10% mental capacity.*

 

Why does Lucy tell a few police officers to defend her from 25 assassins armed with machine guns, when she could easily disarm and incapacitate them herself in about two seconds, and then she could begin her experiment with the area actually secure?

 

Why does Lucy casually kill civilians and petty criminals, but spares the bad guys who are trying to kill her?

 

If Lucy can control matter, why can't she teleport herself, or at least control the location of the cars during the car chase?

 

If Lucy's telepathic, why doesn't she telepathically control the other drivers during the car chase so she can reach her destination faster?

 

If all of Lucy's cells are sending 1,000 messages back and forth a minute, shouldn't she heal instantly like Wolverine?  After all, she can change her appearance instantaneously.

 

No Jedi mind tricks?  Really?  That should have been easy for Lucy, and it would have been an 100 times simpler solution than the constant shootouts.

 

In short, as she unlocks more of her brain's potential, why does Lucy act more and more like an idiot?

 

If Lucy goes back in time and creates the first woman, does that mean time is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, or does it mean she becomes god and takes over control of the world?

 

The more I think about this film, the more I dislike it.  I'm going to stop before I end up hating it.

 

 

*I actually was fine with the premise, silly as it was.  What irked me was the film's refusal to follow it through with any consistency.


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If Lucy can control matter, why can't she teleport herself, or at least control the location of the cars during the car chase?

 

If Lucy's telepathic, why doesn't she telepathically control the other drivers during the car chase so she can reach her destination faster?

 

If all of Lucy's cells are sending 1,000 messages back and forth a minute, shouldn't she heal instantly like Wolverine?  After all, she can change her appearance instantaneously.

 

No Jedi mind tricks?  Really?  That should have been easy for Lucy, and it would have been an 100 times simpler solution than the constant shootouts.

 

I'm not prepared to go to bat for the film's logical consistency, but Lucy's power steadily increased throughout the film as her percentage went up. For most of the running time, including the climactic action scenes, she didn't have all the abilities she had at the end. Also, I suspect it's quite deliberate that she never directly controls other people's minds (as opposed to passively reading them). Her mission is to help other people make fuller use of their own brains.

 

I have to admit, though, there's a troubling suggestion that Lucy simply doesn't care about individual human lives, which is why she doesn't bother to interfere during the shoot-'em-ups.

Edited by Rushmore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not prepared to go to bat for the film's logical consistency, but Lucy's power steadily increased throughout the film as her percentage went up. For most of the running time, including the climactic action scenes, she didn't have all the abilities she had at the end. Also, I suspect it's quite deliberate that she never directly controls other people's minds (as opposed to passively reading them). Her mission is to help other people make fuller use of their own brains.

But all the examples of Lucy's powers that I listed occur before the final climactic action scene. One of the very first things she does is instantly alter her appearance. She knows the location and color of objects halfway around the world when she calls the police officer, but after that a car chase is practically out of her control. As Jang and his men were approaching, she could have easily repeated what she did in the previous encounter, had the police lock them up, and then unlocked her full potential without interference.

 

I have to admit, though, there's a troubling suggestion that Lucy simply doesn't care about individual human lives, which is why she doesn't bother to interfere during the shoot-'em-ups.

I thought she made that quite clear with her dismissive comment to the police officer during the car chase, "We never really die."

Edited by Evan C

"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the very first things she does is instantly alter her appearance.

 

I remember some hair and eye color changes near the beginning, but nothing to suggest she should have had Wolverine-type instant healing powers. It wasn't until the final interview with Morgan Freeman and the other scientists that she started growing new body parts at will and so on.

 

She knows the location and color of objects halfway around the world when she calls the police officer, but after that a car chase is practically out of her control.

 

I don't see how one should imply the other. Perception and control are two different things.

 

As Jang and his men were approaching, she could have easily repeated what she did in the previous encounter, had the police lock them up, and then unlocked her full potential without interference.

 

That seems to be true, but I think she was in a hurry to get the job done before the drug killed her. Her biological clock, so to speak, was still ticking up until the point when she reached 100% and disappeared while someone attempted to shoot her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Why does Lucy casually kill civilians and petty criminals, but spares the bad guys who are trying to kill her?

 

 

Lucy's self-acknowledged amorality (implied by needing the cop as a "reminder" as well as her attitude towards collateral damage) was the element of the film that my co-host Todd singled out as being most problematic for him, especially given the film's heavy-handed insistence that she is becoming more God-like. It's also what led me to the conclusion that the film is ultimately atheistic, or at the very least, anti-Christian. That there does not appear to be any moral development as Lucy's powers develop is what ultimately keeps the film on the level of maguffin chase rather than interesting exploration of its ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this film is too incoherent to be theistic or atheistic, or much of anything.  Lucy is godlike, because she's using 100% of her brain capacity?  Who, without the aid of chemical enhancements (blue or otherwise), would give credence to such pablum?  (I'm not lobbing these questions at you, Ken; I'm just ranting a bit after having spent $5.75 to see this.)

 

Bad movie danger sign #1:  You can tell Lucy has gotten smarter, because her posture improved.  I knew I should've gone to finishing school.

 

Bad movie danger sign #2:  Morgan Freeman is supposed to be super smart, as he intones pseudoscience and pseudophilosophy such as "humans are more about having than being" and "it's time to go from evolution to revolution"

 

Bad movie danger sign #3:  The pseudoprofundity of repeatedly intoning the word 'time'

 

Bad movie danger sign #4:  When the surgeon tells Lucy that for a baby, CPH4 has "the power of an atomic bomb"

 

Bad movie danger sign #5:  The direct route from the Paris police station to the scientific lab passes by nearly every major Parisian landmark or architectural twitch (though on further reflection, I think they missed Les Invalides; that's in the director's cut).

 

Some of the Big Bangish stuff was cool, but honestly, the Nova program that I watched last night about the first 4 billion years of geological and biological occurrences on Australia was way neater (though the CGI dinosaur in "Lucy" was somewhat less fake looking). 

 

Goodness, I loathed this movie.


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the bright side, when Morgan Freeman said Dolphin's use 20% of their brain, (which IIRC means they can remember everything they've ever experienced and change appearance at will)  I was reminded of this, which is one of my favorite movie openings ever, and for its myriad flaws, is still way better than Lucy.

 


"Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones."

"Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning."

- Pope Francis, August 2013 interview with Antonio Spadaro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andrew wrote:
: Bad movie danger sign #2:  Morgan Freeman is supposed to be super smart, as he intones pseudoscience . . .

 

Kind of casts a different light on March of the Penguins, Through the Wormhole and all his other "scientific" ventures, doesn't it?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...