Saturday, 16 August 2014


My expectations were low on this one. Luc Besson has made some interesting films (and some good ones) and this was a sci-fi film with an interesting premise, so I could not resist, but it’s a good thing my expectations were low.

I will start by saying this was a fun film to watch (apart from the graphic violence throughout, of course). At less than 90 minutes, Lucy zooms along, with lots of short scenes and lots of action. You hardly have time to catch your breath and think before it’s over. That’s a good thing and allows one to enjoy the silliness. But make no mistake: this is one extremely silly film.

Lucy, a rather ditzy blond (played by Scarlett Johansson in the fifth film I have seen her in during the past seven months – wow) gets caught up in a drug mule scheme that, following an injury, results in the release of a powerful new drug into her system, in mega-quantities. Instead of killing Lucy, it gives her the ability to use more than the 10% of her brain capacity that we humans are able to use (supposedly). This means she can learn languages in an instant, defy the laws of gravity and eventually travel in time. What utter nonsense!

When you go into a sci-fi film, as opposed to a typical action film, you hope for at least a minimal level of intelligence. There are some intelligent things in Lucy, but come on, no one still believes we only use 10% of our brains. And no scientist would expect someone using more brain power than others to be able to defy the laws of gravity.

All of this nonsense could be forgiven (especially since most of the acting is passable and the music has its moments) if it were not for one gigantic flaw, namely that the smarter Lucy gets, the less attached she is to her emotions and to compassion in general. In other words, Lucy assumes that if we get smarter (like Mr. Spock), we will cease to bother with emotions and we will cease to care about the lowly lives of human beings. At one point, Lucy says something like: “People never really die” to excuse her cavalier slaughter of bad guys and the occasional collateral damage. This is unconscionable, suggesting that becoming fully human means becoming inhuman. Why wouldn’t someone whose abilities are suddenly limitless (yeah, there’s a similarity to that film) think more about how she could make the world a better place than how she could become immortal while killing baddies? 

Anyway, I’m not sorry I watched it, but can’t imagine being willing to watch it again, so, for the second time in a month, I will leave my mug uncommitted for this **++ film.


  1. Thanks for pointing out the stupidity of the 10% theory (which no scientist believes). Lots of people complained about this in Limitless and it's a shame that another movie freely spouted this nonsense. And kudos for pointing out that the brain is about a lot more than rational intelligence - no reason to think a person optimizing brain power becomes less emotional and compassionate.

  2. Have to add another quick rant - I just found out they used that 10% line on their cover photo!! Insane. It seems like one of those falsehoods that people want to believe for some reason.

  3. So sad... Finally saw this (on 1.2x speed which was all it deserved). The science and the logic is so bad it's impossible to ignore the harm that it does to this movie. Even when a few good ideas accidentally get mixed in, they're hard to appreciate among the mess. The violence is stupid and completely unnecessary. Your (and my) comments about emotions make a little more sense after I read some of Baron-Cohen's book on empathy where he talks about the competition between autistic systemizing and empathy. This would suggest, in the case of the movie, that one essentially becomes autistic when one uses more of one's brain. Interesting, but bad logic because with that much (to join in the foolishness) increase in utilization of the brain would presumably also increase the ability to overcome the competition and appreciate simultaneously the neatness of predictable systems and the unpredictability of human emotion. It's just so bad. *+ is the best I can do, and the + is for one good idea lost in its midst. No mug up from me.