So this morning already, I've made breakfast for my granddaughter, had a braunschweiger with mayo and onion on toast sandwich, made a batch of strawberry jam, the low sugar variety which I don't prefer but is better for me since I am watching my carb intake, cleaned up the kitchen, and had two cups of coffee, all of this while being actively retired from a career of doing stuff that ultimately resulted in one way or another in the manufacture of 32 model years' worth of automobiles -- mostly Toyotas and Fords, but also a tiny percentage of Volkswagens back in the day when Rabbits were made in Pennsylvania, a few Chryslers, and a handful of G. (I spit on the graves of your automotive ancestors) M.'s.
I mention this because I don't want you to think that I am one of those movie critics whose life consists entirely of dark movie theaters and loud, drunken celebrity-filled parties. I am a normal type person. So you might imagine that I would be quite stunned if I was tricked by someone I knew into carrying drugs for some really nasty and illegal persons, and the drugs, which would have been surgically embedded in my belly, spring a leak and get into my system, and have the unintended consequence of suddenly turning me into a total absolute genius capable of using 100% of my brain capacity as opposed to the usual human norm of 10% (and 5% for movie critics), but it also is going to kill me in just a couple of days. In the movie Lucy, writer/director Luc Besson tells exactly that story, except of course that instead of this all happening to me, it happens to a young woman named Lucy.
I know that some of you don't read my reviews because you think I don't know anything about movies, and the rest of you don't read my reviews for a myriad of other reasons, but that's okay -- that's kind of the way life is. There are a lot of critics out there who are not liking this movie very much. Every now and then a movie comes along that's so beyond-the-pale sloppy, so disastrous in both conceit and execution, that it simply defies conventional analysis, is how one critic put it for example. Those are the kind of words I would generally reserve for an Adam Sandler movie. But it just goes to show you that some people just see the world differently.
I happen to like the way Luc Besson sees the world, and I get a kick out of the way he makes movies. Lucy is a fun movie. It is clever, not because it totally novel, but because Besson has a clever and entertaining way of telling it. Besson uses beautiful imagery and clever film editing to add richness to the story, and uses the distinctive music of Eric Serra to add to the visceral feel of the film. Morgan Freeman is in this movie, adding warmth. He does not have a very demanding role, but I always enjoy watching him work. Scarlett Johansson in the starring role of Lucy continues to demonstrate that she is a surprisingly talented and versatile actress. Lucy is the type of character that could have been done very badly by a lot of people, but Johansson pulls a lot of emotion out of her and makes her seem real.
Is this the best picture ever made? No. Is it a contender for best picture of the year? No. Is it fun, entertaining, and a hoot? Yes. Is it a great way to spend a hot summer afternoon? You bet. Is it a must see? Realistically no, but you could do a lot worse with your movie money.
Don't get me wrong, I liked the story, and enjoyed the movie. But I'm not as enthusiastic as Bernie on this one.
For me, there was too much imagery, too much direction, and too much pacing ... of the 1997 Luc Besson film, The Fifth Element. If you had never heard of Luc Besson, but only saw Lucy and The Fifth Element side by side, you would instantly know it was the same director and wonder if those were the only tricks in his repertoire. Probably if I had never seen The Fifth Element, I would have been delighted with this film. As it was, however, I found myself wondering if Besson wasn't just re-working The Fifth Element for a new audience of viewers 17 years younger.