The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

‘Lucy’ misses the mark

Film Review Lucy
The title character in “Lucy” is played by Scarlett Johansson. (Courtesy of AP/Universal Pictures)

“Lucy” begins with promise. The title character (Scarlett Johansson) is thrown into an illegal drug ring, forced to smuggle a new compound in her intestines. When the bag containing the drugs rips open, Lucy is heavily dosed – and the fun begins. Or does it?

The film (like “Limitless”) plays on the concept of hyper intelligence. Humans only have access to about 10 percent of their cerebral capacity. “Lucy” answers the question: what would happen if a person had access to 100 percent of her brain?

As a science fiction nerd, this concept alone had me interested. Scarlett Johansson was just a splendid bonus. However, the movie does not fully live up to its potential.

“Lucy” sells itself as an action-packed thriller, but it’s false advertising. While there is some action and plenty of special effect eye candy, the core of the film is highly speculative and introspective. As Lucy increases her brain function, she learns more about her environment. She eventually dismisses everything we know about the world, calling our ideas primitive and even childish. Lucy characterizes the basic human condition as a “distraction.” Humans are too concerned with gaining power and control that they misunderstand what they’re actually supposed to be doing with their lives.

While this idea is interesting, the physical narrative distracts the audience from the film’s overall theme. The tone and pace of the movie does not match the stunning (and sometimes confusing) special effects. At times, it is difficult to separate what Lucy is actually experiencing from what is just in her mind.

The narrative feels too rushed and forgets to explain some details. The supporting characters’ motivations were not fully developed. It felt as if these people were just acting under commands of the script. They were very shallow and hollow. Overall, the plot is scrambled and confusing.

But the film just uses Lucy’s super genius to explain these problems. You might say that the narrative is so fast paced because Lucy thinks and moves much faster than the average human. Her abilities could be accepted as just confusing because no normal person could fathom what Lucy is experiencing. And the other characters might appear underdeveloped because that’s how Lucy sees everyone else – shallow and unfinished.

This is all a mark of bad writing. Yes, to some, all of these pieces might appear to fit into a cohesive whole, contributing to the film’s overall theme and enhancing the story. But really it’s a cheap ploy to get away with bad writing.

Setting aside the overall theme, the plot is an utter train wreck. It begins well, but quickly swerves off the tracks. The concept and theme are both very compelling and intriguing, but the narrative distracts from them. To really sell a concept, the basic plot has to be easy to follow and understand. Otherwise, having a complex theme is pointless. To put it simply: you can’t use the concept to explain lazy writing. Period.

“Lucy” is not a typical summer popcorn movie. For introspective thinkers, it’s a hit. For those seeking a fun ride, don’t waste your time.

More to Discover