This week I had the pleasure of reading the second volume of Saga, the epic science fiction and fantasy mashup by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. There’s not much to say about this series that hasn’t already been said a hundred times. The writing is sharp, the art is beautiful, and the story simultaneously tugs at your heart strings and repulses you. The series has won plenty of well-deserved awards and is arguably the best comic series in recent memory. Buy into the hype, this book will change your life.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the story is about two soldiers in opposing armies that fall in love and have a child. Now both sides of the war are desperate to capture them and destroy their child. With the galaxy against them and the deadliest hunters pursuing them, the three live on the run and forge alliances with unlikely allies. As vague as that may be, I wouldn’t want to give a single thing away from this book. It’s a genuine delight to learn about the world as you read, and each issue hits harder than the last. If you’re not reading Saga, you should do yourself the favor of picking up the first volume.
And now on the other end of the spectrum, we have the new Luc Besson film Lucy. Lucy is the story of a woman who, through a new designer drug, is given access to her full mental capacities and develops superhuman abilities. The more of her brain she unlocks, the more powerful and inhuman she becomes. It’s not a new plot, but it’s one that still had potential to be interesting. Unfortunately, Lucy did not deliver on that potential.
From the very beginning, the storytelling in Lucy struck me as odd. The beginning shows Lucy, delivering a package to a mysterious man for a different, shady man. She doesn’t want to be there, but she doesn’t have a choice. Then, spliced in the middle of the scene and ruining any sort of organic tension that could have been built by Scarlett Johansson’s acting abilities, there are scenes from a nature documentary. The director beats you over the head with his metaphor of Lucy being a gazelle and these men being cheetahs on the hunt. It’s as bad as it sounds.
From there the storytelling can best be described as erratic. Lucy ends up immediately seeking revenge with her new found powers, but then stops short of killing the main antagonist. Why? I’m not entirely sure, but the only reason that comes to mind is to give Lucy a foe to face down through the rest of the movie. Then she’s contacting a scientist to study her. Then she calls a Parisian police captain to coordinate a multinational drug bust with seven hours’ notice. Then she’s fighting people again. Then she’s kissing the Parisian police captain. It jumps around through tenuously connected events and shoehorns a weird romantic subtext into the film that just doesn’t belong. The only things that flow properly in the film are the action scenes.
The movie did have some cool action sequences, but that’s about all it has going for it. Scarlett Johansson is a talented actress, but her talents are wasted here. Lucy transforms from the scared gazelle to an emotionless machine and remains that way for the rest of the movie. There’s no life in any of her delivery. I understand that she was emotionless because she had progressed beyond trivial emotions, but there has to be somebody to empathize with in your movie. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t provide even the shadow of a relatable character. I’d recommend passing on this one.
So anyway, if you want to heap praise on Saga or tell me why Lucy was a great movie, feel free to message me or tweet me @left4turte.