Lucy: It’s All Sciency And Stuff
A few weeks ago I went to the cinema to experience some quality entertainment but the staff gave me a ticket to Luc Besson’s Lucy instead. This is my story.
Besson apparently spent weeks pointing his camera at things hoping to combine bits of footage together into a masterpiece like Francis Ford Coppola did with Apocalypse Now. Unfortunately, all he managed to string together out of the cindered wreckage of his dreams was this slideshow of eye-polyps and mind-cancers, much like Coppola did with One From The Heart.
This film was inspired by the absurd populist notion that we only use 10% of our brains. This is what scientists refer to as “crap.” Besson was aware that this style of Malcolm Gladwell “fact” or “trendy anecdote” or “vague tendentious intellectual scab itching at the very fabric of humanity” is nothing more than a bit of nonsense left over from trivia nights and cat posters, but he still thought it would make a great film. So our hapless director took this discredited bit of flawed and pointless pop-culture and turned it into some flawed and pointless pop-culture. That’s why he’s a genius and you have to pay to watch his films; if you are going to make a movie out of one idea it takes courage to use the stupidest idea around and spend ten years making a second rate bit of crap out of it.
He hired Scarlett Johnannson because she’s attractive and he knew he would need help convincing audiences to look at the screen during this film. Though someone apparently wrote a script with characters and a plot, this film has the unbearable amatuerish tinge of someone who never understood humans. Ironically, that other recent Scarlett Johannson sci-fi film, Under The Skin, really did dispense with a script and is literally about a non-human life form, yet it somehow looks more cohesive, intelligent, and meaningful than this babbling, drugged up retelling of Phenomenon.
Do you remember that film? The one where John Travolta encounters some weird alien light and gains cool powers that make him reevaluate his humanity? Luc Besson saw that film when it came out in 1996, back when he was a credible director of some repute, and by golly he knew how to improve it.
Here are the steps: first, take out that vague, cinematically satisfying alien light business and replace it with long, tedious shots of Morgan Freeman blandly reciting pseudo-scientific gossip. Morgan Freeman giving a TED talk! Pay me now! Then, instead of letting the super-powers develop mysteriously in a way that affords interesting opportunities for character development and conflict, offer an absurd, physical explanation (drugs!) and cut as often as possible to visual effects that show the drugs (blue!) mixing with blood (red!) in exactly the way a child would imagine (woosh! Swish! Raaaar!). Finally, replace the main character’s soul-searching, deep spiritual angst with deadpan monologues of philosophy culled from some undergraduate twat’s adolescent memoir, add in lots of deaths, and make your hero morph into a computer at the end. (It’s a metaphor, you see. If we used more than 10% of our brains, we could be like computers. How the Johannson super computer is able to control objects with her mind is never adequately explained, but never mind that, woosh! Swish! Raaaar! Film!)
And with that, you have made a thing.
Sure, some people might criticise your film by thinking, but others will dispense with that type of caper and lap it all up like it’s some type of trendy French Marvel comic full of Lacanian significance. These valiant cinema-goers will always have an arsenal of pithy arguments at hand like “it’s just a film” and “it doesn’t have to be scientific” without ever realising that 60% of the label “sci-fi” literally means “scientific” and their enthusiastic neolytic tastes are giving mediocrity a bad name.
Besson is reportedly hard at work on his next film. It is about Eskimos, and it’s called “The 51st Word For Snow.”
Our score: 87