Plot: What’s it about?
I was first introduced to the films of Luc Besson by a friend of mine who insisted that I watch La Femme Nikita. The film, about a convicted felon who is trained and given a new identity, is certainly one of the mainstay themes in Besson’s films. The film was remade in the US starring Bridget Fonda in the lead role and called Point of No Return. Skip that one, watch the original. This paved the way for some of Besson’s more mainstream films like Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. Each of these films has a spot on my shelf and I do enjoy Besson’s direction and writing as well has his empowerment with his strong-willed female protagonists. It’s been a while since Besson has had a mainstream film and Lucy marks his return. With Scarlett Johannson in the lead role, we all know that she has what it takes to kick a little tail (her role as Black Widow in the Marvel films proves that). And with critical acclaim from one of the better films of 2014, Under the Skin, Johannson is back to the mainstream.
Lucy (Scarlett Johannson) is a student living in Taipei, Taiwan. Her most recent beau is Richard, a less than desirable man who cons her into delivering a briefcase containing who knows what. Lucy then sees him killed and manages to survive an encounter with crime lord Mr. Jang (Min-sik Choi). Lucy is then “offered” a job working as a drug mule. She’s beaten and nearly raped, but the drugs have been unleashed in her system. Lucy soon learns that she’s able to access parts of her brain she never knew existed and uses her newfound abilities to try and piece together what’s happening. As she single-handedly takes out her enemies, she works in tandem with world renown Neuroscientist Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman). Lucy knows her time is limited and sets out to make right what was once wrong. But will she be able to do it before Mr. Jang and his assassins get her first?
I wouldn’t use this film as a basis for anything scientific as it’s debatable (and even covered in one of the featurettes) as to how much of our brain we actually do use. This is science-fiction and it’s also entertainment, so any and all debate surrounding this movie is a sheer waste of time. That being said I do believe that humans do have untapped potential and Lucy explores what might happen if that potential were unlocked. Johansson does well in her part. It’s physically demanding and seems like a hybrid of her Black Widow character mixed with her seemingly nameless character in Under the Skin. Actually, it’s amazing how similar her performances were in those two films compared to this one. Still, she sells tickets and guys (and most likely, girls) like to look at her. Lucy is pure action mixed with Besson’s visual style and flair. Recommended.
Video: How’s it look?
I’ve always been a big fan of Luc Besson’s films and, truthfully, their dizzying effects leave a lasting impression on me. Nowhere is this more evident than in 1997’s The Fifth Element. While Lucy doesn’t hold up visually, I will say that it as a look and style all its own. The wide 2.40:1 AVC HD image is simply flawless from beginning to end. I really couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it. Dazzling colors, detail so real that you could reach out and touch it and the lack of anything that could be construed as an fault. Universal has done a bang up job with this title and I’ll leave it at that. It’s perfect.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Likewise the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack simply kicks ass. Yes, it kicks ass! The high-energy mix thrills in several sequences, however as Lucy uses more of her brain, it seems that the scenes have more of an operatic effect which plays out perfectly. Vocals are rich and pure, Scarlett Johansson’s soft voice sounds clean and free of distortion and as usual, Morgan Freeman’s deep, narrative voice comes through with the utmost clarity. I’d expected this to be nominated for an Academy Award in sound design, but alas it wasn’t. Still, don’t let that detract you from one of the best-sounding films of the year.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Cerebral Capacity: The True Science of Lucy – Some prominent neuroscientists are interviewed and give us some insight as to how the topic in the film could actually be possible as well as a peek into human evolution.
- The Evolution of Lucy – Writer/Director Luc Besson tells of his initial inspiration for the film, which took ten years to bring to the screen, as well as some other tidbits that make it an entertaining watch.
- Previews – For tons of other Universal titles.
- DVD/Digital HD Copy