Who wasn’t excited when this movie trailer hit the airwaves? Scarlett Johansson exploring what it means to use up to 100% of our brain capacity? Morgan Freeman using his smooth voice to teach us what it all means? Dealing with the question of what it really means to be human?
Ahhhhh….expectations. They can really kill a movie, can’t they?
Lucy is creatively filmed and it does an outstanding job in the first act of asking all the right questions. What does it mean to be human? What separates us from the animal kingdom? What would happen if we could use more of our brain’s capacity? Has humanity become more focused on ‘getting’ than on ‘being’?
As the movie unfolds, it never returns to these questions. There is also this painfully obvious avoidance of all things spiritual. What is particularly disturbing is the complete change of course the film takes once Lucy learns that the drugs inside her are leaking into her bloodstream.
Lucy transforms from an philosophical thriller to a straight action movie about drugs and bad guys. As we watch Lucy race across the globe to kill bad guys, we get very little exploration into the opening questions of what is it that exactly makes us human.
As the special effects impress and the body count rises, what we miss is any kind of philosophical banter or questioning. We don’t get the payoff of a superior being in Lucy becoming more human. We get her becoming less so…almost a monster.
By the end of the film, Lucy has become a stand alone killing machine as well as a universe to herself. She needs nothing else except herself to survive and the very definition of life itself is not dependent upon matter. Much like a computer server that is both everywhere and nowhere, meaningful and meaningless.
Is this the director’s answer as to what it means to be human? It’s meaningless? Is this really what we are to believe that the more of our brain’s capacity that we use, the less human we become? At least human as we have come to understand the word.
It is eerily similar to Neitzsche’s “The Will Beyond”, that to truly be human we must learn to live in a world beyond morality, beyond good and evil. That ultimately life is meaningless. Lucy actually states this at one point in the movie.
The real question is if this was the director’s intent or did he get caught up in making an action movie? Hard to say.
It’s not a horrible movie, it just doesn’t deliver on an intellectual or philosophical level. The Matrix baffled us with its action and special effects then followed that up with characters that pushed us deeper in what is reality and what is truth. Lucy never achieves that. Instead it ends up becoming Lethal Weapon with Scarlet Johansson.