Besson taps into 11% of his brain!
Lucy Movie Review
Although bolder, more imaginative, and more refined than almost anything he's made since The Fifth Element, it struggles to make good on its audacious premise and eventually tails off to an anticlimactic ending.Certainly the film that it is most being compared to - and quite rightly - is the fast-fun-the-first-time-around Bradley Cooper thriller, Limitless, which essentially tried to capitalise on the now-debunked myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. Admittedly Besson comes to the party a little bit late in the day, but thankfully he brings an arsenal with him, punching through all the expected plot silliness with stylish action set-pieces, a sexy, pouting super-powered heroine, and a surprisingly expansive sci-fi slant. Working to an efficient runtime, it's certainly his most competent production in years although, ironically, it's one of the new areas he's dabbling in - superpower territory - which is ultimately his undoing. Johansson capitalises on her relatively recent transition to full-blown ass-kickery (finally hitting her stride third time out in the spectacular Captain America:Winter Soldier).She also injects her character with a couple of things she learnt through being an aloof predatory alien (Under the Skin) and a super-sentient-Siri (Her). We also get a couple of heavy hitters brought in for backup - Morgan Freeman's scientist (furthering the comparisons to Transcendence) and Oldboy himself, Choi Min-Sik as the nasty villain. Besson certainly has all the ingredients to pull off one of his A-game action-thrillers. Unfortunately he loses his grasp towards the end, throwing up a load of effects and relatively refreshing philosophical/existential 'weight', but straining to maintain tension - having crafted an all-but invincible protagonist - or deliver his conclusion with impact. Still, for all its limitations, Besson's 'Limitless' is a pretty fun ride, which certainly shows a bolder side to the writer/producer/director than we've seen in quite some time.
Picture QualityLucy comes to UK Region Free Blu-ray complete with a largely stunning 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen. Besson may have his flaws, but his eye for visual opulence is not one of them, and all of his visual majesty comes to life here on Universal's impressive release.
Whatever you think of Besson's work or worth, his latest directorial vision is visually stunning.
Detail is excellent throughout, with Johansson obviously the focal point of the piece, and looking utterly stunning for it. Every bead of sweat, spatter of blood, or out of place hair goes clearly observed, with fine object work immaculate, and wider shots impressive. The colour scheme is broad and vibrant, particularly so during the imaginative effects shots taking you into the brain and body like CSI on acid. The neon lights on the streets have never looked so good, and black levels are excellent, deep and rich and brimming with shadow detail. Whilst it's hard to call it utterly perfect, it comes damn close - a couple of the digitally shot night street scenes have a smidge of slightly smoothed motion moments, but it barely goes noticed - and, on balance, worthy of a perfect 10 rating.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is just as impressive, a bold and audacious effort which does justice to Besson's aural vision too, bringing the cinematic experience to life within your own living room in all its bombastic glory.
Similarly, Besson knows how to deliver impressive sound design.
Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, dominating the frontal array where necessary. Effects are superbly observed, with plenty of electric special effects tweaks and ramped-up flourishes to help bring these stylish shots to life. Gunshots light up the array, thundering across your living room and thumping into the walls with all of the furore that you would expect from a Besson actioner. Say what you will, he sure as hell knows how to stage an action sequence, with explosions and small arms fire tearing up the landscape. The score, whilst not as memorable as in his classic work, still has punch and presence and that trademark Besson vibe, bringing up the rear and allowing the surrounds further fuel for the fire. With stomping LFE work this is another demo presentation that excels and impresses.
Blu-ray ExtrasJust a couple of Featurettes and some Preview Trailers. The Evolution of Lucy and Cerebral Capacity: The True Science of Lucy are the two Featurettes; the first offering up a little background into the production, whilst the second purports to look at how realistic the whole 10% of our brain capacity thing is. Um, yes, about that...
Lucy Blu-ray VerdictLucy is certainly the most visually and narratively imaginative work we've had from Besson in years and, who knows, maybe it's significant box office success will see him return to big screen old school form. Although the more likely scenario is an unnecessary sequel to this particular film, we can but hope for another classic Leon/Nikita-level Besson flick and, at the very least, this feels like it takes us one step closer to that dream becoming a reality.
He may churn out dime-a-dozen actioners as a producer but films like Lucy prove that he still has some decent ideas and a distinctive style.
This Region Free UK Blu-ray presents the movie as a near-flawless production, with stellar reference video and audio and only a slight shortage on the extras front. Fans shouldn’t hesitate in picking up this impressive release; those intrigued by it should certainly give it a rental. Strangely enough, this completes a nice little Johansson sci-fi trilogy after Under the Skin and Her and, even though they are all completely different films, they certainly prove that she’s got more to offer beyond just seductive pouts.
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