UK Release: August 22nd 2014
The title of the most bonkers action/Sci-Fi film this year will probably go to ‘LUCY’ with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman. Acting as Luc Besson’s next film after the terrible ‘The Family’, this is his company (Eurocorp’s) biggest budgeted film to date. The film follows Lucy (Johansson), who after going on holiday in China, gets drafted into smuggling a new form of drug. However when the drug bursts in her stomach, it indigents into her system, and in turn develops incredible mental powers, which will allow her to use 100% of her mind.
What you get here is Besson using bonkers Sci-Fi (which isn’t too dissimilar to the likes of this years ‘Transcendence’ and elements of ‘Akira’), to retell the history of human evolution, in a 89 minute running time. As the film opens you see the use of stock footage of nature taking hold, with one form taking out the other form on the chain. Basically he is using this Safari as a metaphor for Darwin evolution (featuring Lucy the chimp), and the point he comes back around to at the end of the film. It clear this is the theme he is wanting for this film, and he is able to keep it running extremely well. While it is clear that the whole ‘’using-you-mind-at-100%’’ idea is bollocks (your body wouldn’t be able to keep up if your brain was to function at 100%, however the film freely admits midway through), Besson is using this as a set up to present a look at the Kantian model of transcendental idealism. The idea of that the human mind imposes order to the world to make sense of it. And questions without it all relations between objects in space and time could cease to exist. This is also very much the discussion in ‘Transcendence’ as well. By the end of the film it all makes metaphorical sense with what he is trying to say.
Besson has always been able to write world important female characters as the central protagonists, from the empowering women of ‘Leon’ and ‘The Fifth Element’, to real life figures like ‘Joan of Arc’. The thing with ‘Lucy’ is he basically creates god, Lucy IS the next step in human evolution. If a caveman was to see us now they would look up in wonder, and if were to look up at Lucy (with her superpowers) we would look up in wonder as well. Johansson really does cap of a wonderful year in cinema, and does bring a wide eye (almost slut like) look, however her transformation into a god and her performance of this, really does power the film on. It is unfortunate Marvel Studios have not given her, her own solo film. What I always like about her, is the old school Hollywood looks of her, and to see her in a film like this certainly brings a artistic side to her image.
There is B-movie moments in this as well, Morgan Freeman’s professor gets called by Lucy, to which she says, she has superhuman powers, only for him to say ‘’Come on over’’, as if it is not out of the ordinary. While not perfect, ‘Lucy’ certainly has more to it then the whole ‘’Crank meets Limitless’’ moniker it got pre-release. With Besson playing with the 100% brain power myth, the actual underlining Sci-Fi point is a very classic one. Besson is able to write it this with some ease and understanding so it is easier to read into, for audiences who perhaps are not initiated in fine genre Sci-Fi arts. He does include his crazy French stereotypes, even if he is able to keep the European sensibility of film, really well.