2014-07-25

Lucy – An existential roller coaster

by Yo Snyder

Luc Besson  has
written and directed some of my favorite action movies of all time – Leon, La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, and Taken.  In fact Leon
is probably one of my all-time favorite movies. 
I also enjoy some of his more light hearted action movies such as the Transporter series and 3 Days to Kill.  That introduction is to say, I was really
looking forward to Lucy, Luc Besson’s
latest action thriller.  Previews made
this movie out to be an almost matrix like action flick where our femme fatale
gains special abilities through an accidental ingestion of synthetic
drugs.  Well that is what you would think
the movie is about from previews, but you would be wrong.  Sure there are plenty of Luc Besson action
moments, but the whole women on a rampage really is a secondary story to the
prime story of humanities ability to understand our purpose in the universe and
what the next stage of existence might be. 
Yes, you heard me right, get ready for a somewhat freaky existential
ride when you make your way to the theater to see Lucy this weekend.

Now that you have the proper context in which to view Lucy, you may be wondering if it is a
good movie worth seeing.  My simple
answer is yes.  But let me expand on that
a bit.  Luc uses some great features to
tell his story. First and probably my favorite feature, he uses flash shots to
tell a story or mature a scene.  From old
footage of animals hunting prey to macro evolution of the universe, these flash
shots do a great job of adding depth to the scenes and the overall story.   We also have great shots of Lucy using her
abilities and fun cinematography to show her evolution.  Last, the movie has done a great job of
nailing a time frame for telling its story, 90min and you get a nice tight
package of a story that never leaves you bored or necessarily wanting
more.  So the movie has many of the
necessary elements to tell a great story in film. 

However, it comes up short in what audiences will expect
based on it being a Luc Besson movie and previews leading you to believe you
are in for primarily an action shoot em up movie.  It’s not often a movie goer enters a theater
expecting to turn off reason and enjoy almost sci fi action adventure  and instead be dealt an existential
philosophical story made to leave you thinking. 
And leave you thinking it does. 
And that’s not a bad thing, it’s just an unexpected twist in what movie
goers will expect and this reviewer doubts that a bulk of the audience of the
audience will appreciate that twist.

<Small spoilers ahead> But since its there, it begs
the question, what is the primary story? 
Without giving too much away, you can guess the movie comes from the
typical naturalistic atheism that is so popular in society these days.  When you take this to the natural conclusion
you get a purpose in life as meaningful as reproduce, die, and pass on
information.  Yes, only time marches on
and for humanity the greatest contribution we can give is to grow in knowledge
and reproduce to pass it on.  The movie
poses this as two primary purposes – either reproduce to pass on good
information or fight to become eternal. 
Of course there is no place for God in this world view.  But the same echoes scripture calls God’s
invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature, which are known to us
and leave us desiring the eternal nature of things are corrupted in this
worldview yet still present.  Time
marches on without meaning or purpose, but is the only eternal thing that gives
meaning to existence.  Yes, time, the
only eternal quality…  I personally enjoy
some of the fictional looks at why time exists and especially when asking the
question of why God created time.  Up to
the very last line uttered in the movie, I was on board and enjoying the movie.  But in the last line of the movie you find
yourself going “what on earth was that for”? 
Unfortunately, there is no pretty bow on this philosophical crusade.  Only a sad and depressing worldview that
leaves humanity without hope.  Thankfully
those who know Christ can claim to have the greatest hope in all the
universe.  One that can persevere through
the harshest of circumstances and stand up to the worst of times.  See Romans 5 if you need a pick me up after
this movie and to know where your hope is secure.

One last thought, the movie is rated R for reasons below but
might prove a useful tool for parents or leaders to engage the older
teen/college crowd in fruitful discussion on hope, the meaning of life, and how
a biblical world view compares to a naturalistic world view.

4 out of 7 – The movie is rated R for some intense violence and
a scene of sexuality (no nudity), definitely not a movie for the younger
viewing audience, but in all honesty, probably not as bad as some PG13 movies
these days.