In films like La Femme Nikita, The Fifth Element, and The Messenger, director Luc Besson presents the mysterious transformation of unthinking, undeveloped, unambitious girls into educated, sophisticated, strong females. He also includes large dollops of action, striking visuals, and sound that deliver boffo home theater.

Box-office smash Lucy is based on two concepts: that humans are more concerned with having than being, and that evolution can take us beyond these limitations. Besson enters the mind of ditzy young Lucy through rapid editing of images. When a Chinese gang kidnaps Lucy and surgically implants a packet of a new synthesized drug in her intestine to smuggle, it breaks open, releasing into her bloodstream. From then, the editing only gets more manic as her cerebral capacity expands from the normal 10 percent to 20 and so on. This airhead gains the ability to fight like James Bond, then levitate objects, read minds, and finally evolve in consciousness, Matrix style, to perceive the universe at work. bright widescreen compositions in this ace transfer puts Lucy at screen center, the many close-ups revealing natural skintones, pores, and freckles. There’s plentiful detail throughout, with weave to wool and texture to textiles. Deep blacks of bad-guy suits are set off by bright white shirts and the rich, vibrant colors of red Chinese décor.

The surrounds really kick in after 30 minutes, when Lucy’s brain starts to change and action begins to erupt in a highly immersive soundtrack. Deep rumbling, tension-inducing electronica music and effects, and the wide-ranging score by Eric Serra are well separated into all channels. There are few effect pans but lots of trippy noises floating effectively all around. The resonating brittle explosion of a gun going off next to your head is followed by booming reports all around in mass shoot-outs. When Professor Morgan Freeman lectures on the theory behind brain evolution and Lucy expounds on the philosophy of expanded existence, every word is clear… if you can follow.

The only extras are two featurettes. One, limp, has directors and stars discussing the production against clips and behind-the-scenes footage; the other, interesting, has neuroscientists theorizing about cerebral capacity. Heady stuff.

Studio: Universal, 2014
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Length: 89 mins.
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Min-sik Choi