Monday, August 11, 2014

Lucy: A hot mess of intelligent musings

A smart thriller with little identity and poor execution puts Lucy on the road to nowhere.


ARTH VADER (AV): Get some aggressive,action-packed trailers to showcase a sci-fi / fantasy sweetheart Scarlet Johannsen with super-powers and the magic just happens. Doesn’t it? An original (sounding) idea and a big budget sci-fi screenplay with a couple of heavy box office hitters should have been gold but the story of “Lucy” is a solid swing and a miss. and if we are talking about the continuity of the trailer’s promise and the final film, that would be strike two. What do you say, Ponty? Did you have any Continuity thoughts for this movie

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Lucy seems to be an original story Vader…but I was very much reminded of “Transcendence,” even down to the Morgan Freeman appearance. Apparently going “everywhere” is all the rage these days… everybody’s doing it.


AV: Lucy needed a complete screenplay re-write to become a movie that would matter. The pacing was a mess. The tempo was a train wreck and the direction, oh P-Man, the direction. While the concept was VERY good, running complimentary imagery to run in tandem with the  storytelling was a truly unique idea. One that was handled very badly. The fast cuts, the out-of-synch pacing made what could have been movie gold a veritable train wreck. Morgan “Voice of God” Freeman and Scarlet “Black Widow” Johansen are two box office titans who could have almost carried this murky movie idea forward. 

TP: Honestly, I like Scarlett Johansson better when she’s wearing black tights and hanging out with Captain America. This role just didn’t have enough depth for her to shine (except for the very beginning) and her performance seemed somewhat flat as the film progressed. I get that she was becoming something more than human, but she didn’t make me care. It seems these days Morgan Freeman is being used just to fill theater seats. His role was (once again) cursory and didn’t allow for the use of his considerable acting skills. Most of all what was wrong with this film began and ended with the script and not even the best talent can overcome that. 

AV: Expected effects for Lucy I’m afraid old friend. There are a few moments of visual effects brilliance, but for the most part there were the standard, entry level effects that did little more than push the story forward. The ‘super AI ultra computer’ that moved amorphously in black with ominous red back lighting was cool but did little for the film in the end. 

TP: The special effects were good, but nothing we haven’t seen before. I think they made better use of the analogous footage of wildlife than they did with the actual effects. Some of the scenery clips were amazing, but didn’t really advance the story (as if anything could). With no breakthroughs in effects, no really breathtaking effects… I think this part of the film was a missed opportunity to compensate for the story.


AV: Lucy was a movie that just wasn’t finished baking, Pontificator. Yep, director Luc “The Professional” Besson could have had a stellar flick on his hands but this film just felt rushed and thrown together. Hardly Scarlet or Morgan’s finest hour, this movie toyed with some great concepts that were never quite realized. The onscreen countdown to the amount of brain capacity Lucy was able to access throughout the film became predictable and annoying. It would have been better as a running count-up clock that was cycling up at the lower right corner of the screen. 

Whether it was the techinicolor space explosions in Scarlet’s bloodstream or her decomposing cell-restructuring in an airplane lavatory, the movie just seemed like it was a bunch of first or second takes. An excellent story arc in these days of the coming singularity, we get no sense of impending danger of any kind. The poor plot and dialed-in acting made for a movie that was one the summer’s biggest disappointments. Even the film’s end message was cryptically frustrating… “[we were gifted with life a million years ago now you know what to do with it.]” No, Lucy. No, I don’t. Unless, of course, it is to NOT make a poorly written, under performing film. 

TP: I can only imagine the number of people that just didn’t get this film Vader. There were people actually walking out of the theater during the film when I went to see it. The science (or pseudo science) was very heavy and detracted from the overall enjoyment. I mean, if I have to sit and ponder what I’m being told, it’s taking away from the following seen (cause I’m pondering). Some parts of the film just didn’t make sense…like why even leave the drug kingpin alive after you kill all his personal guards, stick knives in both his hands, and rape his mind for information? Increased brain power and intellect makes this a good idea? How about later when you are nearing godhood, and you don’t just wipe put all the bad guys so you can conduct your business unmolested? Instead you leave the task to an ill-equipped and outgunned police force? Speaking of guns…should I take this film as a sign that in Europe you can walk around with guns visible and nobody will even blink at the spectacle? I’m sorry, but there is no amount of explosions or displays of power that can cover up such huge plot holes.


AV: What would be the point? Seriously? Just... no.  

TP: I’m hoping they let this one rest in peace and don’t attempt to clarify this film with another one. Leave us all confused and scratching our heads… so at least that way we are thinking about it instead of it being forgotten as soon as we leave the theater.


ARTH VADER rates Lucy: In the footprint of this movie one can easily see the earmark of greatness. But no one watches a movie for what it could have been. The movie is somewhat entertaining but is a mere shadow of what the movie’s trailers and ad campaign had promised. The bogus screenplay coupled with yawn-inducing dialogue and nothing-new visual effects forces me to use only 10% of my brain’s capacity and give Lucy on 30% (3) of our total capacity of Busted Blocks. 

THE PONTIFICATOR rates Lucy: With plot holes big enough to drive a truck through and a shoddy script, there was no amount of talent available to improve this film. Despite some great scenery shots and interesting use of file footage, this film could only evolve five (5) busted blocks… leaving the other five lost somewhere in the script. 

Lucy: 4 / 10 Busted Blocks

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