Movies to Avoid: Lucy

I know I typically just review things I like. Things I enjoyed. That’s mainly because I don’t have time for anything else. If I’m not enjoying something, I don’t finish it, and if I don’t finish something, I don’t review it. But when I’m sick, those barriers fall down. I have nothing but time, so I’m less picky about what I watch. Anything to take my mind off being sick.

Although sometimes I might wish I’d spent my time differently.

Lucy is one such time.

I hadn’t heard great things about it, but I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Scarlett Johansson. Luc Besson. Morgan Freeman. It couldn’t be all bad, right?


It wasn’t a complete failure of a film. There was enough in it to eke it up from a 0 star experience to a single star experience (out of five). The actors gave the script a solid effort, but the script just kept getting in the way.

My biggest beef with the movie was the loose way it played with the superpowers Lucy gets. The plot is simple. Lucy gets drugs that unlocks the full potential of her brain, and she’s being followed by people who want to kill to get those drugs back. Sure, the science is garbage (people use 100% of their brains all the time), but I’d hoped to get around that by just treating the film as a superhero movie. No one demands to know what kind of radioactive spider bites Peter Parker, after all.

But it doesn’t work even for that. Her powers are conveniently all powerful when they need to be, and then conveniently impotent when that’s called for. With a wave of psychic energy, she can incapacitate a room full of people, and yet when a single person comes to attack her with a gun, there’s not a thing Lucy can do.


It’s a pet peeve, I’ll admit it: people who dive into fantasy with no real understanding of how fantasy actually works. “It’s magic,” they say. “It can do anything we need it to. Just keep blowing stuff up, and people will love it.” Blarg. Without rules, then none of it makes sense. Without rules, I feel no tension for the main characters. Try playing a board game without rules. The pieces might be shiny, but pushing wooden doodads around a cardboard tray gets mighty old mighty quick without rules.

And so Lucy is ultimately a failure. Which is sad. And it made money at the box office, which is even worse. Because it means we’ll be subjected to more approaches like this one.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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