I rarely delve into negative articles about avoiding movies. I usually like to talk about all of the things I love and find interesting about movies, both good and bad. And then movies like Lucy pop up.
The film, starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, is about a woman who is accidentally exposed to a street drug that allows her to “transcend” her brain’s normal limitations. This gives her incredible psychic powers that eventually progress to become capable of bending reality itself.
There are some cool things the movie has going for it. Scarlett Johansson is a fun actor. I won’t say she’s great, because I hesitated when I considered that (which is a sign that an actor probably isn’t that great).
I’ll say that I enjoy her performances for the most part, especially in Woody Allen movies. Seriously, have you seen Match Point?
Another positive for Lucy is that even though the film is yet another superhero movie coming out in a year crowded with superhero movies, it at least seems fresh because it’s a French film directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element). It’s not Marvel. It’s not DC.
But then we get to what the movie is actually about. And it’s terrible. For the millionth time in the history of pop culture, people are trying to tell us that we would gain superpowers if we could just gain access to 100% of our brain’s “potential,” but we’re cursed with only being able to use 10%.
Great TV shows and movies have gone down this road, including Fringe and Limitless. But before we get into it, here’s the trailer (in case you haven’t seen it yet or need a refresher):
The entire premise is a laughably dumb fallacy, and the trailer flaunts it, giving us progress reports of where the main character falls on the brain percentage scale. Johannson at one point actually says something along the lines of, “I just hit blah blah percent” like it’s her Twitter feed.
The worst offense of all? They dared to involve the great Morgan Freeman in this mess. Hearing him give a lecture in a college about this actually caused me emotional pain.
Because no, you don’t only use 10% of your brain. The weird thing is plenty of people know that this is a false concept, but it’s still purported like it’s true, anyway.
To be more accurate, you’re only using around 10% of your brain’s functions at any one time. It’s like how you don’t use the full capacity of all of your muscles at any one time. Because you don’t need to. Using 100% of your brain’s functions goes by another name: a seizure.
But not according to Lucy. It causes you to have wicket hand multiplication powers.
Plenty of people have given a pass to shows and movies that try to shove this misconception down our throats. I’m one of them. I still enjoyed Limitless, mostly because the movie didn’t base its entire story around the idea. Unlike Lucy, it was more about the main character. At least in the trailer.
And even though Limitless was a silly premise, we had a good time watching it.
Movies are about escapism, after all. They don’t have to be scientifically accurate in order for us to enjoy them. But I’m going to point out that there’s a line. When you have a movie that’s being this blatant about its flawed premise, I just can’t get behind it. I’m going to pass on Lucy.
Could I change my mind? Maybe if it looked like a better movie. Maybe if it wasn’t another superhero movie that would push me further to a state of mind in which I’m actually sick of this genre (which I really hope won’t happen).
To be clear, I don’t discourage anyone else from going out and enjoying this film. I’m sure it will make plenty of money and entertain millions. I just know I wouldn’t be one of them. I’d rather watch a movie about talking apes.
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