I Love Lucy… but she doesn’t love me

In-between philosophical ruminations regarding evolution and the potential capacity of the human brain, Lucy kills. She shoots and stabs while seeking revenge in a flimsy super heroine flick that, it turns out, is a freakishly weird bit of hyper fiction.

It’s unclear what Luc Besson’s action blitz wants to say. If we are capable of becoming uber smart like Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), we would still carry our primordial tendencies for vengeance and violence. We could not mature or ascend higher as a species. Rather humans could peer into the recesses of the universe… which would then be wasted on a form of existence we cannot understand. And, we can shoot a lot of people on the way. Basically, we’re stupid and simple even if we’re smart – which sums up Lucy.

Lucy features a plausible implausibility. It’s a movie. Humans do not only use 10% of their minds, as if it were so simple to assign such a number. People do not ingest illicit drugs pulled from a young unborn fetus and become unrealistic geniuses in the process either. But, why else go to the movies?

Mostly, it’s Besson who continues his wrath of blitzing action cinema with a touch of originality. Lucy is arguably more inventive than most, even appearing intelligent before slipping away into the guilty pleasure of something like Transporter.

All of this slop science and bickering over super brains is diced into a pithy revenge flick with flimsy, international Korean drug dealers in the lead. Korean or Russian; either suits the current Hollywood flavor needed for a quickie narrative jumping point, intended to reach the car wrecks and bullets. The mayhem comes, but so too do the visual effects. Lucy’s enlarging brain spikes a number of kooky set pieces, eventually defeating the helpless baddies without the martial arts or gun-fu prerequisite.

Morgan Freeman spills the guts of the concept in his rational, calming prose, enough to make it believable.

None of this is an easy transition. Johansson soaks up her starring role, swapping her placid, damsel in distress profile for a woman rapidly engorging on smarts. She flips from pre-calculus to rocket science, crying to no outward emotion, and all in mere minutes of screen time. Lucy has little patience. Pacing, with a slim frame of less than 90 minutes, must jettison anything that could be deemed a leftover.

Morgan Freeman spills the guts of the concept in his rational, calming prose, enough to make it believable. Shots of nature and the instinct which powers it are spliced together to sell humanity’s animalistic side before the inevitable move into the cosmos to better anchor a dandy of a third act – which becomes a touch overstuffed.

When Lucy leaves audiences, it parts ways as a fascinating case study in perpetuating hokum for marketability, but coming away unscathed. The eclectic mix of brainy chatter, low rent gangster schlock, and super human sci-fi is broadly reaching. Johannson becomes the unlikely superstar in front of it all, without anyone needed to carry her. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]

Detail between the reflections @ 31:13

Universal graces Blu-ray fans with outstanding digital work for Lucy, blooming with all major facets of a successful home theater presentation. Clarity, contrast, and detail are phenomenal, the type of top shelf digitally born cinematography that could make hardened film purists relent. Opening shots are doused in vivid daylight, accentuating highlights and punching out facial definition. Lucy never loses that fire.

Color correction rifles off flesh tones and primaries with glee, scattering hues across the frame with almost no reliance on dreary palettes. With an aside for a montage, Lucy does not deviate from its intensely saturated eye candy.

Medium, long, close; the type of shot is no matter. Lucy’s fidelity extravagance is marvelous. The number of showcase moments is ludicrous. Camerawork adores Johannson, narrowing the viewer’s POV to the actresses face to best capture her growing intellect. The benefit is a wealth of resolved hairs, skin textures, and minor detail down to the patterns in her iris – it’s that good.

Forgot about the world of encoding quirks and compression artifacts. Lucy is beyond those. Darker moments (of which there are few) avoid noise, presenting the entire movie with an unbelievable sense of clarity. If there is anything to knock, you can choose to point to the somewhat heavy use of stock footage to depict raw nature. This is hardly anything to be concerned with. Lucy is a premiere disc amongst live action. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Video]

With a throbbing start, Lucy’s 5.1 DTS-HD track will be (sorry) all about that bass. LFE reaches deep enough as to not be heard but simply felt. These are ambient effects or part of the musical score, digging in to give the track some heft. Near Lucy’s end as she universe trots, the use of the sub is brutally aggressive. Be forewarned.

Note almost none of this pertains to the action. During an impossible bit of vehicular stunt work, impact continues to comes from the music. Cars flip and crash through roadside markets with only limited oomph. Effects are flat. A third act shootout will be the first to act more directly, at least in tandem with sonic expectations. Rounds fired have some kick.

The latter gives space for the surrounds to utilize, producing the usual assortment of bullet pings and stereo shots. While not elegant or particularly special, it is a relief to hear the disc break from its otherwise quaint style. Prior, only Morgan Freeman’s soothing voice during a speech has some lift. Ambiance is dull. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]

Lucy’s bonuses will continue fighting on about the science myths which birthed it, including Cerebral Capacity, 10 minutes of pandering to the wonder of the human mind. The Evolution of Lucy does not have the same scientific merit, instead dealing with the production in terms of writing, casting, and concept for 16-minutes. Those are the only bonuses. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.


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