Just How Bizarre Is ‘Lucy’? (And 24 Other Urgent Questions)
This week, Scarlett Johansson (‘We Bought a Zoo’) stars as a character named Lucy in a movie called ‘Lucy.’ The advertising campaign makes Luc Besson’s new film look like a mainstream action film – and there is action! – but it’s not quite what you might think it will be. Is ‘Lucy’ a weird movie? Are you a weird person? Deep down, we’re all kind of weird, right? As a service to you, we answer every question that you could possibly have about ‘Lucy.’
Q: Who is Lucy?
A: When the film opens, Lucy is a normal American living in Taiwan.
Q: Why is Lucy in Taiwan?
A: It’s not specifically mentioned, but she does refer to exams at one point. Also: somewhere along the line she has met a shady guy who she has been dating for a week -- a shady guy who is also trying to coerce Lucy into delivering a briefcase to an office building.
Q: This sounds like a trap. Don’t do it, Lucy!
A: Thankfully, Lucy also thinks this request sounds sinister, so she refuses.
Q: Do the end credits then roll, after we’ve all learned a valuable lesson about not delivering mysterious packages?
A: No. Unfortunately, the shady man chains the briefcase to Lucy, telling her that she has to now deliver the package to get the key.
Q: Why didn’t she just go to the hardware store and buy a saw, or something?
A: Because the movie would end.
Q: Does the delivery go off without a hitch?
A: No, there is a hitch. Actually, there are a lot of hitches.
Q: What happens to Lucy?
A: As it turns out, the briefcase carries some sort of blue super drug, which is surgically inserted into Lucy, forcing her into being an unwilling smuggler. But, after the bag breaks, some of the drug is released into her bloodstream, which effectively gives her super powers.
Q: After ‘Breaking Bad,’ are all fictional super drugs going to be blue?
Q: Is this what I saw in the movie trailer? About her being able to use more than 10 percent of her mind?
A: Sort of, yes.
Q: How much of Lucy’s brain does she now get to use?
A: It keeps increasing as the movie goes on.
Q: Is it scientifically accurate that humans only use 10 percent of their brains?
Q: Is it scientifically accurate that I will hate this movie?
Q: Speaking of Lucy, remember when Lucille Ball hosted ‘The Best of Three’s Company’?
Q: Does this Lucy have an interesting roommate situation?
A: We do meet Lucy’s roommate, but it’s not specifically mentioned if her landlord is Norman Fell.
Q: So does Lucy become super intelligent?
A: Yes, but that seems to be the least remarkable thing about her brain capacity ascent. As her brain capacity increases, she gains control of every aspect of her body, including cell design and nerve endings.
Q: Can Lucy change her appearance?
A: Yes, but other than hey hair color, she doesn’t change her appearance too often. Lucy looks an awful lot like Scarlett Johansson, so I suspect she’s fairly pleased with her appearance as is.
Q: Well, none of this sounds too bad for Lucy.
A: The problem is that Lucy’s body is failing her and she knows that she only has about 24 hours to live. As her mind approaches 100 percent, her essence starts to transcend.
Q: ‘Lucy’ sounds a lot like the movie starring Johnny Depp that came out earlier this year, ‘Transcendence.’
A: ‘Lucy’ could be described as “A Much More Exciting Version of ‘Transcendence,’” though, no one will say that and that won’t inspire anyone to see ‘Lucy.’
Q: What quote will without a doubt not be blurbed on this weekend’s television commercials for ‘Lucy’?
A: “A Much More Exciting Version of ‘Transcendence’!” Mike Ryan, ScreenCrush
Q: Wait, wasn’t Morgan Freeman also in ‘Transcendence’?
Q: Is he playing the same character?
A: No. In ‘Transcendence,’ Freeman played an FBI agent. In ‘Lucy,’ he’s a professor who studies human brain capacity.
Q: What do you think the conversation is like between Freeman and his agent after he reads two scripts with such a similar theme?
A: Something like this:
Freeman: “Isn’t this kind of the same thing as ‘Transcendence’?
Agent: “Well, ‘Transcendence’ filmed in New Mexico. ‘Lucy’ is filming in Paris.”
Freeman: “You’re right, totally different.”
Q: If I think ‘Lucy’ is a straightforward action movie, will I like ‘Lucy’?
A: Probably not. The third act of ‘Lucy’ is extremely bizarre and isn’t quite what the audience for a typical July action movie would be expecting.
Q: That aside, should I see ‘Lucy’?
A: For a movie that’s not a typical action movie, ‘Lucy’ does have its fair share of action. And there’s a nifty car chase through Paris! But ‘Lucy’ is more of a meditation on the future of human existence than it is an action movie.
Q: That didn’t really answer my question.
A: The answer is “yes,” but with a caveat of knowing what you’re getting yourself into. It’s just a tough movie to pinpoint who the audience is (and I suspect Universal is wondering the same thing; it appears they’re leaning toward the “action” crowd), because it’s inherently interesting and has something to say, but it’s also loud.
Mike Ryan has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and GQ. He is the senior editor of ScreenCrush. You can contact him directly on Twitter.