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THE ISLAND, 2005
Movie Reviews!

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THE ISLAND MOVIE POSTER
THE ISLAND, 2005
Movie Reviews

Directed by Michael Bay
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Djimon Hounsou, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan
Review by Gemma Eagle



SYNOPSIS:

Lincoln Six-Echo (McGregor) is a resident of a seemingly utopian but contained facility in the mid-21st century. Like all of the inhabitants of this carefully controlled environment, Lincoln hopes to be chosen to go to the 'The Island'-reportedly the last uncontaminated spot on the planet-until he makes a terrible discovery that everything about his existence is a lie and that he is actually more valuable dead than alive. Together with a fellow resident named Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson), Lincoln escapes to the outside world he's never known. Desperately hunted by the facility that once housed them, they make a run for their lives.

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REVIEW:

Firstly, all Bay fans should note that despite the somewhat more ‘complex’ storyline than we may be used to from Bay, he certainly does not relent on the aural bombardment which we have become so accustomed. Visually and aurally alike we are overwhelmed with the signature fast paced and action-packed sequences synonymous with Bay’s previous works such as Pearl Harbour and The Rock. Whilst it is definitely an impressive piece of film-making, and a loud one at that, I must admit I was left wandering dazed and confused as to where the storyline had vanished to, which considering the topic of cloning and corporate exploitation, is impressively disappointing. The debate over the moral implications of cloning humans is addressed but then falls by the wayside as Bay decides to scrap the attempt at semi-intelligence of the first half of the film in lieu of cramming as many stunts into the second half of “The Island” as feasibly possible, saving the film.

Ewan McGregor stars as Lincoln Six-Echo, who tormented with nightmares begins to question the world around him. McGregor moves away from his smaller set Indie films in this sci-fi thriller and is surprisingly ‘ok’ in the movie, though one can’t help feeling this is in-spite of the screenplay not because of it.

Scarlett Johansson joins McGregor as Jordan Two-Delta and whilst it is interesting to see her in an action film, she is utterly wasted in a role that requires her to do nothing more than run behind McGregor and look pretty. Though in her defense she does achieve this flawlessly.

Perhaps it is simply the fact that the two are clad in clinging white jumpsuits that prevent me from taking them seriously, though if their film careers fail they might make some good money in Tampax Commercials. In an interview with Johansson she states herself that she doesn’t necessarily believe that movies have to deliver messages, that she simply hopes people have a great time when they watch it. In her own words ‘It’s a trip’ and I for one was certainly hoping they would throughout the entire film.

Despite the fore-mentioned flaws of the film which mostly have to do with the schizophrenic nature of the screenplay, Bay does not disappoint me in terms of the action sequences. Indeed, the film featured several stylized futuristic chase sequences utilizing his usual tricks to bring us stunning pieces of filming. Over a third of the entire movie was shot on the new Arriflex 235 system which Bay bought directly from the camera company. After filming he called it the smallest and the lightest camera ever used since it allowed fast pans. The camera weighs at 7.7 lbs, exactly half the weight of the 435 series camera. The darkness of the sci-fi element made certain sequences all the more intense. Other disturbing imagery is present, even somewhat similar to how humans were "grown" in The Matrix, but most is not graphic and is merely creepy in a sci-fi nature.

Credit goes to Steve Jablonsky (Hostage, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Transformers to name a few) who did a really great job with this film's score. The soundtrack is what makes the movie seem a bit more special as it's not typically the classic orchestrations that you hear from many soundtracks. Ultimately, The Island gives Bay a new sound for his films and surprisingly it works well.

Verdict:

If you’re looking for a Michael Bay movie with a purpose, this isn’t it. Setting aside the story, if you’re in the mood for an ideal popcorn movie this certainly won’t hurt you, though be sure to check your brain at the door and turn your volume down. The best line from the movie comes from (Steve Buscemi) “McCord: Just cause people wanna eat the burger doesn't mean they wanna meet the cow”.

That’s exactly how I feel about this film. I’m all for an action packed run of the mill shoot em up movie, but let’s not pretend there’s anything substantially deeper with this one.

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