My life

Extremely grumpy movie review: Lucy

I got this movie from Redbox because it was an action movie. It turned out to be a very disturbing story.

Lucy (Scarlett Johanssen) is forced into becoming a drug mule for a Korean cartel. The Koreans implant a packet of some kind of crystal in her abdomen, and she and her fellow mules are to be sent on commercial flights to various destinations in Europe. While she’s being held in captivity by the Koreans, she gets beaten and the bag of drugs bursts in her body. As she absorbs the drug, she discovers that it is opening her mind and giving her new powers.

Meanwhile, the renowned scientist Morgan Freeman is at a conference, babbling nonsense about how humans only use 10% of their brain and speculating about what powers could be unleashed if we could access the remaining 90%.

It turns out that not only does the drug give Lucy super powers, it also gives her an extremely utilitarian set of values. She goes to a hospital to have the drug bag extracted, and shoots a patient whom she determines to be terminal, in order to occupy his bed and hurry up her surgery. She goes back to the leader of the Koreans, wipes out his bodyguards, and spikes his hands to his desk with knives to hold him while she telepathically extracts the information about the location of the other drug packets. She leaves without killing him, even though he is responsible for the slavery and deaths of many people. At some point she shoots a taxi driver for protesting when she said where she needed to go.

She goes to France to meet Morgan Freeman, after reading all his writings on the internet. He tells her the point of life is to pass on knowledge.

As the drug modifies her body and brain, she becomes able to read wireless internet and telephone signals, and use the networks for her own communication. She finds a French cop, tells him who the drug runners are and where they’re landing, and tasks him with collecting the drugs so she can use them. He sees her disable a dozen men without touching them, and is impressed. She commandeers a car and drives him across Paris, mostly going against traffic, leaving a trail of massive (probably fatal) crashes behind her.

As the story winds down, she’s in a lab with a bunch of scientists. They inject her with the remaining drugs, and she starts absorbing computer equipment and converting herself into a supercomputer. Meanwhile the Koreans have figured out where the drugs are, and a couple of dozen of them come to the building and shoot their way through security. The cop and his team are protecting the hall outside the lab. They stop most of the Koreans, but one shoots a rocket through the door, and the leader (with bandaged hands) enters and approaches Lucy to shoot her. Meanwhile she’s exploring time and space with her growing abilities and turning into a computer.

The Korean fires, but as he shoots, her conversion into the supercomputer is complete, and she disappears, leaving the computer and her clothes behind. The French cop shoots the Korean. The computer emits a thumb drive, presumably with Lucy’s answers to Life, the Universe, and Everything, which Morgan takes. The cop asks where Lucy went. His phone drive flashes a text message: “I am everywhere.” Lucy’s voice says, “Life was given to us a billion years ago. Now you know what to do with it.”

So bogus. So very bogus. So arrogant, pompous, twisted, perverse.

Why the assumption that a more advanced human would be completely utilitarian and pragmatic? Nothing matters to Lucy but to get the drugs, achieve her goal of full knowledge, and share her insights. It’s fine to shoot a dying man and an unhelpful taxi driver, crash half the cars on the Paris streets and highways, let the security staff get blown away, let the cops get blown away, all to make her transformation into a computer a few minutes faster. Apparently her project isn’t capable of being paused for half a minute while she projects herself downstairs or even just outside her lab long enough to incapacitate the gangsters before they slaughter everyone. Knowledge for the good of all, as fast as possible, far outweighs the lives of individuals, according to the writers of this movie.

Why does Lucy say, “I feel no emotion and have no desire”? I would assume a “fully evolved” human would have stronger human characteristics, not fewer. Lucy has no compassion, no love, no concern for justice. I would not trust whatever guidance she left behind, because she has made it impossible for me to admire her for anything but her intellect.

Likewise, the assumption that expanded intellect will bring expanded spiritual and philosophical insight is clearly bogus, judging from history. We have more information and processing power available now than all the previous generations of humanity put together, but humans are no more upright, honest, unselfish, or loving than our ancestors. We can heal diseases that a few years ago were terminal. We can also kill people faster and at a greater distance, and have new ways to exploit each other. Criminals have grown in knowledge and technology along with the rest of humankind.

Lucy herself is nothing like the outstanding humans we have admired throughout history. Jesus, for instance, was characterized by everything that Lucy is not: love, compassion, empathy, humor, connection. These traits characterize those we consider the wisest and best. And they are not provided by any kind of drug or physical transformation.


8 thoughts on “Extremely grumpy movie review: Lucy

  1. Good extremely grumpy review, Tim!
    I saw this one in the theater with friends. I found it to be wild, thought-provoking and interesting.
    I like Scarlett Johanssen as an actress, so mostly went to see it because of her.
    HUGS and Happy Whee-kend to you and Alicia! 🙂

  2. So the drugs turned her into a super powered psychopath. Not exactly original. Remember “Lawnmower Man” with Jeff Fahey? Geez, that was many moons ago, but your review brought it to mind.
    Ever notice how often the streets of Paris get trashed in action movies? I suppose it’s actually Budapest or somewhere like that.

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