After last week’s schedule was completely filled up with volunteer teaching gigs at Maven, leading a Women Who Code workshop, pair-programming with friends over Google Hangouts, and continuing to work on the Helpful Hand web app, I really needed a week filled with comic books, dinner with friends, baking, and movies to balance things out.
Have you seen Lucy? I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the online criticism, but the movie was actually really good! Firstly, you have to be a fan of director Luc Besson. Did you like ‘The Fifth Element’? Can you stomach the violence in ‘The Professional’? If not, this might not be for you.
The premise of the movie is that humans only use 10% of their brains and that Lucy, through her accidental involvement with some very bad people and their shiny new drug, manages to unlock the ability to increase her brain use to 100%. Many critics get hung up on the fact that the whole “you use 10% of your brain” thing is just an urban legend. The criticism is valid, if you go into this movie expecting a scientific documentary; however, if you walk into the theater expecting to see a science-fiction film you’re probably willing to suspend disbelief about things like magic, mutant powers, and human brain capacity.
Throughout the movie, Scarlett Johansson shows off her remarkable acting chops. In the beginning, her fear is so raw and real, I could feel my stomach tighten and my breath catch in my throat. As her character “evolves”, ScarJo moves seamlessly into robot-like detachment.
Some critics dislike the movie’s campiness, but I’ve come to expect that in any good science fiction. Look at any ‘Star Trek’ episode or film and it’s 50% science-ish “facts” and 50% goofy hijinx. I know parts of this movie, like the whole Suspiciously Well-Informed Doctor trope and the I Just Got Super Powers And Now Have To Eat All The Things scene, have been done to death but I think that’s okay.
I really like that Besson didn’t try to shoehorn a romantic subplot into the film. It’s all action and sci-fi. At one point Lucy does kiss another character, but it’s a quick peck on the lips (with her eyes open the entire time… weird) and more of a quick thank-you kiss rather than a sexy kiss. There’s no Win The Girl By Saving Her Life trope here (but there is a Crack Your Neck To Show You’re Tough moment and a Matrixy Computer moment where Lucy is using both hands to frantically type on two laptops.)
I will agree with critics that ScarJo wearing stilettos to kick some bad guy butt is pretty absurd. At one point in the film characters mention that a human with 20% brain use would be able to fully control their own body, such as the ability to not feel pain or fear. I guess if I could feel no pain in my feet and ankles I might wear stilettos too, but probably not. (Note to self: If I ever develop superpowers, be sure to blog about choice of footwear. )
There are also a few annoying moments where Lucy changes her appearance in front of people or wanders around in public with a gun in her hand and no one appears to notice or care. Also, sometimes the chroma keying is just awful. My husband says he didn’t notice but I sure did. Nothing as bad as the shitty green screen in ‘Shutter Island’ (during which I was scolding and shouting at Martin Scorsese) but it was still distracting.
And of course during the brief few seconds when there are Native Americans on the screen, they are fully outfitted in war paint and feathered headdresses. Seriously?
Aside from that handful of annoyances, the movie is really good. If ScarJo doesn’t at least get nominated for an Oscar, I’ll be very surprised.
Did you see ‘Lucy’? What did you think?