She has the Power
I remember seeing a trailer for Lucy and going "Hm, that could be fun." I didn't get around to it in theaters though, and the general reception of it that I did hear about was generally negative - complaints about not being hard-fact and a 'hard to follow plot riddled with holes' - which of course only fueled my desire to see it more. I've never been one to much care about the "mass opinion" on things, as it's truthfully hard to find people who can enjoy as broad a range of quality as me sometimes (although, somewhere out there somebody likes Uwe Boll movies, so they certainly beat me). Let's find out what my particular set of synapses firing can make of this movie - whether it's a new horizon or a fatal error in processing.
The story of Lucy is one that starts off with what we all love the most - narration. It's not "epic fantasy story" tiers of narration - mostly rather short and to the point - with a burst of rapid-fire montage of the normal busy-day life of people. You know, cities, food, commute, work. We then get thrown into our main character, whose boyfriend is trying to get her to do his questionable work for him. After some brief arguing and a briefer party-scene flashback, poor Lucy ends up handcuffed to the work her pal would like her to do, and she finds herself heading to reception and asking to see who she was told to ask for. It's at this point the questionable nature comes to the forefront, with tense waiting and her boyfriend getting shot right outside the lobby, followed by an escort - more like kidnapping - to the location of the man with whom she is to deliver the package. Throughout this, we get cuts to animals and the likes as though it's meant to be an artsy metaphor for what's happening on screen, culminating in a tense moment where Lucy needs to open the briefcase while everyone else is prepped for (seemingly) a bomb to go off. The good news is it's just drugs! The bad news is that Lucy just landed herself a (forced) job as drug mule.
As a secondary segment to the movie - but often taking the forefront and scenes attention - is a lecture about the brain capacity of various humans and animals. This sometimes relates to things going on as it's mentioned, and if nothing else ties into the movie as it goes on - but it does tend to break up the action and events going on in the Lucy main story, so just keep that in mind (although none of us needed to see that National Geographic animal sex / birth scene). At her holding cell, Lucy doesn't take kindly to the naughty attention her captor is giving her - to which he rewards her with not just a slap to the face, but some swift kicks to the gut (where her drug-package is being store). This action ends up being a very unintelligent move on her captor's part in a multitude of ways, busting the package of the drugs and allowing some of it to flow out and mix with Lucy's bloodstream - all of which kick-starts a rather crazy process of unlocking latent abilities within the human being which ends up being the start of some rather superhero like abilities. Of course, these start small - like Lucy becoming aware of her entire body, and some rather enhanced cognitive abilities - but help Lucy break out of her current troublesome situation.
So she hijacks a cab and goes to the hospital to get the drugs out of her, which requires a bit of "persuasion" of the surgeons. She then goes back to the hotel with the man who caused her new "job" to be a thing for some information - namely the other packages of the drug and their locations. He has some difficulties thinking through the pain of the knives in his hands, so she uses a new untapped power - basically mind reading. When she gets home, she ends up contacting our Lecturer from before using new-found abilities to tap various electrical and magnetic signals (effectively starting to tie the two stories together) to find out what she should do, and it's decided she needs to 'pass down her knowledge.' In order for this to happen, she enlists the help of a french policeman to capture the other drug mules, while on the other side of the proverbial fence the drug-running ring leader is out for revenge on Lucy for his hands and the trouble she's caused him. Will the bad men catch up to her before she can play out her plot? Will she reach 100%? What happens at 100%?
The plot here does have some "inconsistencies" to it. At times it seems that as soon as Lucy has found a new power of sorts, it pretty much vanishes by the next scene and is replaced by something else - and although I can write this off in my head through simply looking at it as her "structure" is constantly evolving, erasing one thing for a new thing, many people will most likely be rather annoyed when in one scene she puts an entire hall of people to sleep, and in a later scene all she does is make people float. The other largest thing I've heard complaints about is the whole "10% of the brain capacity" thing - wherein people only use 10% of their brain's capacity. "Scientifically inaccurate" they would say - people using 100% of their brains they would say - in which they aren't wrong, but maybe the word capacity is what keeps me from finding this as a problem. For starters, it's science fiction, not a documentary, and as a follow up I look at the word capacity as similar to the word potential. I don't understand metaphysics and nuclear fission and aerodynamics, nor would I ever be able to build a rocket that would get off the ground - but there are people out there that do. To me, they are using more of their potential (as far as brain matter goes) than I am - even if we both are using 100% of our respective brains. All of that aside, I find it an interesting concept, even with a parts of literal matter-restructuring and alteration.
On that note, if there is one thing that I think everyone could agree on, it's that when this movie finally starts kicking in it's distinct acid trip, things start to get really pretty. Seeing life pumping through veins, hearing trees sing, looking at beams of information shooting up from cellphone conversations - I haven't had this much eye candy in the digital world since The Matrix. All of that and the action scenes are well enough, but when you hit the ending you are going to be "tripping balls" to use some outdated lingo - and I promise your eyes are going to love every second of it. It's a special effects spectacle, even if things don't make sense (like cars doing 15 barrel rolls from a simple car crash), but at the same time it is a movie, so it's not like there's going to be a super-hard adherence to real world physics anyways.
Acting is well done, although (through design) our lead character ends up showing less and less emotion as time goes on. The supporting cast does some good jobs as well, and the audio has a nice enough balance that it's all easily heard and understood. The only part I'm a little sad about is all of those non subtitled foreign language parts - it's not important I know what they say, but that doesn't mean I'm not curious anyways, you know? The audio helps back things up, and although largely forgettable in much the same way as most movie scores, has a really nice atmospheric song near the end that had me reminiscing a bit about the many hours I spent playing Mass Effect.
Was all the complaints about this movie justified? To some people, I'm sure - but then again most of these people are complaining about a detail like "brain capacity" in a movie where she can literally see cellphone voice conversations streaming through the air. It's a fun flick, and if i had to point out any one thing that really annoyed me more than others, it would probably be the animal kingdom footage that's used throughout. Although it at times helps break up what would otherwise be a lecture, most of it was just (in my opinion) rather heavy-handed symbolism. I'd wager it's worth checking out through a rental or borrowing first if for nothing else but the beautiful ending sequence. Don't fret the small stuff, and I'd wager you'll find yourself enjoying the movie - even if a few parts may have you a bit confused.