Lucy Blu-ray Review
How do you tell a story about human’s transcendence from the physical being to something more? If you’re Luc Besson you naturally choose to tell the story from the point of view of a woman is possessed of some sort of extra-human abilities. Besson is the man behind brilliant and dangerous worlds and visions of our future cemented in a semi-reality by his inclusion of tiny universal details (see: THE FIFTH ELEMENT, 1998; LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, 1994). Like these other Besson films, LUCY is outwardly a very different story than you’ll find hiding just beneath the surface.
Let’s get something out of the way – LUCY is a work of fiction. Even though the science presented by the always reputable-sounding Morgan Freeman, who plays brain expert/theorist Professor Norman, the science behind the film is shaky at best. Because of this and because we live in an internet culture where almost anyone can (and probably will) search for an explanation of the science as they are watching the movie, you need to know this and you need to suspend your disbelief. It’s a little bit difficult at times because LUCY can be almost too fantastic, too silly, for its own good. But in the end Besson has delivered such a beautiful and interesting film I think you’ll enjoy it anyway.
Lucy, the title character played by Scarlett Johansson (THE AVENGERS’s Black Widow), is a young woman attending university internationally and generally partying and just having a good time. When a man she’s dating handcuffs her to a mysterious briefcase, her journey to becoming a transcendental being is begun. Inside the case is a drug, and she is soon an unwilling drug-mule carrying a pouch of the substance inside her stomach. But when the bag bursts the drug enters her blood stream and her neurons begin to fire at an incredible rate, allowing her more and more ‘access to her brain’ and its potential.
LUCY’s villain is played by Min-Sik Choi (the original OLDBOY), who delivers another incredible performance while managing something quite difficult – he skirts the line between comicbook evil and believable, authentic, squirm-in-your-seat evil beautifully. He was a masterful choice by filmmaker Besson, who hasn’t delivered such a memorable evil since working with Gary Oldman in both THE FIFTH ELEMENT and LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. This is where Besson really takes off; despite the relative difficulty of playing sometimes silly moments he seems to draw intense and terrifying beautiful performances in these passion projects.
Besson’s writing has become increasingly erratic as he has tried to expand beyond his initial film repetoire but his visual flair has never been stronger and even his writing here seems a bit stronger than in recent films. Perhaps it’s because he’s found a new muse in Johansson but she’s not quite the find that Milla Jovovich was in 1998, being already established with her own incredibly impressive resume. Still, Johansson is surprising in the role and holds her own against both Min-Sik and Morgan Freeman.
My only problem with LUCY is the weird, galactic set-up of the brain and human potential that Besson presents intercut with the main storyline. They’re jarring at first and while they start to feel more natural toward the 2nd and 3rd acts of the film, LUCY still never quite finds its footing in this greater universe Besson tries to establish. Still, LUCY is a fresh take on science fiction and a welcome return to the films that made me love Besson back in the 1990’s. If you enjoy original science fiction and action, you should definitely check it out.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.39:1) LUCY is a visually-stunning and immersive masterpiece as Besson continues to show his visual flair. The transfer is absolutely beautiful, even if the story leaves a little to be desired.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio for LUCY is equally beautifully presented and is an amazing presentation that showcases both the highs and lows.
The Evolution of LUCY (16:14) Johansson and Besson, along with other members of the cast, discuss the story and how the film developed along with some interesting looks at the visual effects that brought LUCY to life.
Cerebral Capacity: The True Science of LUCY (10:04) The filmmakers did a smart thing and presented some real science in support (kind of) the theories presented in LUCY. An incredibly interesting piece it’s a welcome addition to the Blu-ray.
LUCY comes an UltraViolet DigitalHD Digital Copy along with an iTunes Digital Copy and a DVD of the film.