Luc Besson’s gonzo sci-fi actioner Lucy largely got lost in the shuffle this weekend. While we were swamped with nerdy breaking news out of San Diego Comic-Con, this Scarlett Johansson-fronted bit of mayhem topped the box office race, earning more than $40 million, and slapping Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Hercules across the face. The film also divided critics and audiences down a sharp line. Some absolutely adored the level of utter insanity, while other dismiss it as nonsensical trash. And to be honest, it somehow manages to fall into both categories, which is part of the magic. If nothing else, there is a great deal in Lucy worth talking about.
Two of us got together to discuss our takes on the wave of chaos Besson and company unleashed on the unsuspecting world, and to figure out what drugs we would most like to be on when we sit down and watch this again. Be warned, there are some SPOILERS if you haven’t seen Lucy, which you should, it’s nuts.
Brent: What are you initial thoughts on Lucy? What did you expect going in, what did you see, and what did you walk away with?
Nick: As with all of Besson’s projects, I went in expecting to be bum-rushed by insanity, and I STILL managed to walk away completely surprised. In part by its stupidity, but mostly because it went for everything all at once all the time. Never has 90 minutes flown by so quickly. I feel I will use this movie when exercising, to make the time zip by.
Brent: I’m in a similar boat, expectations wise. I’ve been watching Besson movies since La Femme Nikita in 1990, and I was expecting his usual fare. Stylized action, maybe not the greatest plot, story, or acting. Essentially a pretty standard action flick with a touch of madness thrown in. And while that’s definitely all there, he introduced some sheer, batshit insanity into the mix, just for the hell of it. I was impressed by the audacity of the film, not to mention the weird, pseudo-intellectual, kind of wants to be 2001: A Space Odyssey moments.
And it may be crazy, but it’s also a ton of fun. In most cases I can see how people either love or hate a movie, but especially with Lucy.
Nick: I didn’t get 2001 vibes, and I feel lucky about that. I agree that it shot for pseudo-intellectual, but the absolute worst kind. It didn’t take me out of the movie, like it would have for a more serious flick, but it was paired with the most phoned-in performance of Morgan Freeman’s career. I think this movie doesn’t just have lunacy, but it NEEDS lunacy.
Brent: The lunacy is definitely what saved Lucy from being generic and probably terrible. Without the mayhem you would have just been like, wait, that brain thing is total bullshit.
Nick: Exactly. I’m pretty sure had I taken a drink every time Freeman said “cerebral capacity,” I’d have been laid out by the second act.
And it wasn’t reassuring in the beginning when Besson began inserting his on-the-nose metaphors into the action, but I actually wanted more of it as the film went on, even though those shots eventually became “watching the Big Bang.” I guess you can’t really top that.