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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Lucy

January 20th, 2015

Lucy - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack

Lucy opened at the end of July and it was expected to do well at the box office, but it was a surprise hit earning more than $40 million opening weekend and $120 million domestically, not to mention over $450 million worldwide. This is an even better result when you compare it to how bad the overall summer box office was. Did this film deserve this success? Or did this film benefit from the lack of strong competition?

The Movie

Lucy stars Scarlett Johansson as the titular Lucy, who is forced into drinking in magic potion by an evil wizard, but thanks to the intervention of God, is able to become a magic genie.

Okay, that's not quite accurate, but trust me, it's better this way. If you watch this movie pretending it is a fantasy movie and not a science fiction movie, then you will likely enjoy it more. If you watch this movie expecting good science, you will go mad.

Scarlett Johansson does star as the titular Lucy, a college student in Taiwan with her new boyfriend, Richard. Richard needs her to to deliver a briefcase to Mr. Jang and he can't deliver it himself, because the pair had a falling out. She refuses a number of times, so Richard handcuffs the briefcase leaving her with no choice.

I'm not going to spoil the details of what happens next, because it is a very tense scene, but the scene ends with Lucy being offered a job. It's an offer she can't refuse because she's knocked unconscious before she can answer.

From this point, we switch to Morgan Freeman as Professor Norman, who is giving a talk about the evolution of animal intelligence. This is where we first hear the 10% myth. I hate this myth so much because it just won't die. His entire talk, which is interspliced with much of the early action, is painful to listen to. This is not because Morgan Freeman is bad in this role, but because the "science" is he forced to say is just so bad.

Next we see Lucy waking up in a hotel room and she's had some form of surgery. She sees Mr. Jang and meets The Limey. She, and a number of other drug mules, are taken to an undisclosed location while they await their planes home. However, while there, one of the guards tries to grope Lucy and she resists; he knocks her to the ground and kicks her in the stomach. At first, she thinks her stitching ruptured, but quickly realizes the bag of drugs in her stomach opened up and the drugs have an immediate effect on her.

At this point, I really need to emphasize the magical nature of the drugs. Pretend it's magic and the movie is worth it.

Lucy is written and directed by Luc Besson, who has made some amazing action films, like Nikita and Leon, as well as some very stylized films, like The Fifth Element and Adèle Blanc-Sec. Lucy is a fun and stylized action film. Perhaps too stylized at times. It's not as stylish as The Fifth Element, for instance, but the style does overwhelm the substance on occasion. I still think the style is a selling point. Speaking of selling points, Scarlett Johansson is amazing in this film. She not only handles the action scenes very well, but the early scenes in Mr. Jang's office allow her to show off her dramatic chops as well.

As for the science, yes it is complete crap. Complete and total crap. However, at least it is pro-science. Too often we see movies where science is portrayed as the villain and that knowledge is a corrupting force. We will call it a draw when it comes to the film's overall treatment of science.

The Extras

Sadly, there are not a lot of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray. The DVD just has Cerebral Capacity: The True Science of Lucy, which is a 10-minute featurette that tries to justify the crap science in the movie. ... Next. The Evolution of Lucy is a 16-minute making of featurette and it is only on the Blu-ray.

While the extras are weak, the technical presentation is simply amazing. The level of details is fantastic and the colors are as vivid as you could want. Contrast, black levels, etc. are all reference level. It goes without saying that there are no compression issues or digital artifacts. Likewise, the audio is outstanding. The dialogue is always clear, while there's plenty of activity in the film's 5.1 surround sound track. This is especially true of the bass.

The DVD costs $15, while the Blu-ray Combo Pack costs $20. Those are both good prices.

The Verdict

Lucy is a great action film that is hampered by some really dumb science. There are not a lot of extras on the DVD or the Blu-ray, but I still think the Blu-ray is worth picking up.


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Filed under: Video Review, Lucy, Morgan Freeman, Luc Besson, Scarlett Johansson, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Choi Min-sik, Pilou Asbaek