Written by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci
and Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Directed by Michael Bay
Running Time: 2:16
for intense sequences of violence and action,
some sexuality and language
The Island was your typical Michael Bay movie: a lot of explosions and style, but without a lot of substance.
Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta are two of the people living inside what they think is one of only two uncontaminated places left on the planet. Every day one of the people living there is chosen to go to The Island, the only other place left on Earth they can live without fear of dying. But in reality, all of them are perfect clones of people living in the real world. They are there as insurance against their 'owners' getting ill and needing anything from hair and skin, to vital organs. Lincoln figures out the ruse and with Jordan, escapes into the real world. They need to find someone who can believe them so they can shut down the grotesque charade forever. But if they don't succeed in time, all their friends, and all that they've known, could be destroyed forever.
I have now officially learned how to make a Michael Bay action film. First you need a lot of sunlight. This is key for all the shots that involve people glistening with sweat OR for shots that involve glare. You also need at least one really cool person; someone who is obviously cooler than anyone else in the film. In this case, it was Djimon Hounsou. You also need a couple of photogenic stars that look good all the time, whether running or sleeping or making out with their clothes on. Enter Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor. Then, whenever possible, use slow motion. And if you really can, make sure the camera is held at waist level, looking up (into the sun!) and then move the camera from one side of the person (or persons) to the other. Throw in some explosions and maybe a flying car (or bike) and you have a Michael Bay film.
The Island reminded me a lot of movies like, oh, I dunno, Bad Boys and Armageddon. In fact a couple of times I swore I saw Will Smith and Martin Lawrence standing in the middle of the highway with the sun beating down on them and the camera traveling over and around their bodies. It was uncanny. This time however, Bay decided to run with a story that involved human cloning. It's a story that was reasonable but almost unnecessary. It did allow us to see Scarlett Johansson in tight white clothing for a large part of the film, so I did approve of that. But in the end, the story wasn't so strong that it made me care about the rest of the clones. I felt something for Lincoln and Jordan because, well, because they were played by two big stars. Speaking of stars, what in the world was Michael Clarke Duncan doing in this movie? He's a big enough star by now that he doesn't have to show up in a movie for all of five minutes, isn't he? Sorry if I ruined that for all you Michael Clarke Duncan fans, but his role is almost nothing. It was very strange.
I will say though, that story aside, Michael Bay does know how to take the action up a notch. The car chase scene was done rather well, what with the large metal barbell looking things getting thrown into traffic and crashing into a lot of cars. Bay has the ability to make a lot of noise which helps take your mind off the fact that the story is boring. I did enjoy the part when Lincoln meets his owner, and you had dueling McGregor's for a while. Although really, knowing who your audience is for this film, wouldn't it have been better to have dueling Johansson's? I for one would have been willing to go back a second time if Scarlett was on screen twice, maybe in one of the maid's outfits she saw in Steve Buscemi's closet. It was nice to see her in her first real big time action role. She's come a long way very fast and it was about time she did a summer blockbuster before heading back to more artsy fare. I think next for her should be working with an established critical director like say, oh, Woody Allen? Then maybe move into another Academy Award possible film. That's what I would do if I were her agent. Anyway, the special effects were good and the look of the movie was as spotless as you get with Michael Bay movies.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, if you're looking for a summer blockbuster that doesn't involve a lot of thinking, but has a lot of things blowing up, then check out The Island. If not, wait till DVD and watch Scarlett in slow motion. Or, Ewan, whatever floats your boat.
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