Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Giving 110%

Just how many SF movies was Scarlett Johansson in in the last few years? Ans: Lots, and we will watch them all. We went into Lucy (2014) knowing only that she was in it and that she uses more than 10% of her brain. We didn't find out that Luc Besson wrote and direct until the credits.

Scarlett Johansson is Lucy, a model or something in Taipei. She gets involved in a drug deal and winds up with a bag of the illegal designer drug CPH4 sewn into her side by some Korean mobsters. By the way, if they are looking for a cool street name, I would go with "cypher". This drug seems to make giigling crackheads into spazzed-out, raving crackheads. So it's too bad that Lucy gets a beating that makes the stash leak into her system.

By the way, did you know that the earliest human was called Lucy? We see shots of this early hominid and some gazelles getting hunted as metaphors for Johansson's situation, but they do pay off later. We also see Morgan Freeman giving a lecture on how humans only use 10% of their brains. At 20%, they could read minds. At 40%, they could control space and time. And at 100%, they could, dare I say it? Rule the world?

Which also pays off, because the CPH4 starts to give Lucy the use of the other 90% of her brain. She starts getting awesome powers, including the ability to predict that it would kill her in about a day. But that's fine, first she has to retrieve all of the drug shipments, so she can do it all. To keep it out of the hands of innocents, I'm sure.

One of the limits of the movie is that Lucy at 20% and up is beyond pain and human emotion, so she's not very relatable. Johansson is great at getting a lot out of a blank, expressionless deadpan, so this works for her. Another limit is that the whole 10% of the brain thing is BS, but so are vampires and faster-than-light space travel, and we swallow that when we have to.

I thought this was a lot of fun, although not Besson's best. If you can ignore the boneheaded attempts at profundity spouted by Prof. Freeman, and approach it as mindless fun, I think you will be entertained.

And the message of the film is, when dosed with a mysterious illegal drug, try to do as much as possible. Drugs are amazing!

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