First thing’s first. The whole “we only use 10% of our brain” thing? Entirely false. We use our whole brain. We may not use all of it all the time, but there’s no magical ability sitting in my parietal lobe, waiting to be turned on. I mean, think about it. Why in the world would we evolve this enormous noggin and never use it! It’s patently ridiculous.
So, to enjoy this movie, you have to forget that there is science. I can do that. Because I have enjoyed other movies. And they almost always get the science wrong.
Scarlett Johansson plays the titular character, a student in Taipei with really questionable taste in men. Her boyfriend manages to get her kidnapped, with a bag of experimental drugs sewn into her abdomen. (I won’t spoil the details of that sequence. It’s really quite enjoyable.) Then she’s kidnapped again, and a few swift kicks to her belly breaks open the bag and she starts ramping up that brain power. This makes her instantly brilliant (which is cool) and an exceptional fighter (which I don’t buy, but it’s also cool).
The problem I have with the film is the nature and pacing of her newly acquired abilities. Some of them kind of make sense. She can see frequencies of light way outside human norms. That makes sense. She can read really fast and hack into anything. Sure. But then she starts changing her body? Giving herself extra fingers? At one point she changes her hair color. Even if I buy that she now has conscious control of all of the cells in her body… how does she control the dead ones at the ends of her hair?
Every new stage of her development is accompanied by a self-important black title card with the new percentage of her brain she’s using. Some of these moments are cool. Some are repetitious. Early on in the film, she shows us she can touch someone, access their brain, and read their memories. When she does it again thirty minutes later in the film, it’s supposed to be impressive? Yawn.
The finale of the film includes a trippy sequence that I’m still not sure about. Was it really happening? Or was it all in Lucy’s overcharged head? I don’t know. (I kind of hope the latter, which would be much more in keeping with at least mildly plausible biology.)
Lucy is a fun film, with some remarkable visuals and a headscratcher of an ending. But it’s a long way from great.
Scarlett Johansson was in Lucy. She was also in…