going to the Island"
For the survivors of the contamination, life at the facility
was one of order and structure as the few thousand humans that are left
try to help the human race recover. This basic life does have a purpose
however. Every week there is a lottery spin, were everyone gets the chance
to win transportation to the Island, the last uncontaminated habitat on
the planet. For Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) this isn't enough and he wants
much more but as his starts to ask questions, the answers he uncovers reveal
a terrible truth.
When it comes to big action event movies, Hollywood tends
to turn to two men, director Michael Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer
but can Michael Bay deliver without Bruckheimer backing him up?
You know what to expect with a Michael Bay movie, big action,
loads of explosions and larger than life characters and situations. They
are never life changing films or ones that will win Oscars but they do tend
to entertain. 'The Island' is no different but there is something just not
quite right with the film.
The premise is a solid one. The organ harvesting from human
clones is a science fiction plotline that has relevance in the modern scientific
world. Would you like to know that your heart or kidney transplant came
from a living, breathing copy of yourself? What if that clone realised what
was going to happen to them and wanted to live? These are questions that
the film tries to answer but as with all big budget productions, the story
is just an excuse to string together more and more elaborate action sequences
and 'The Island' is filled with them.
When it comes to directing action, Michael Bay is one of the
best. He takes the viewer on a roller coaster ride and has done this successfully
in the 'Bad Boys' movies, 'Armageddon', 'The Rock' and 'Con Air'. 'The Island'
is no different but there is nothing truly original here. When you are watching
the film, you can't help but think that you've seen some of the visuals
before. The big car chase is very similar to 'Bad Boys II', the vision of
the future looks like that represented in 'I, Robot' or 'Minority Report'
and the amount of product placement is also similar to 'I, Robot' or 'Minority
Report'. This last point is probably the thing that most viewers will notice
and what really makes the film suffer. While there are many futuristic designs
and inventions, there are far too many modern items in a movie that supposed
to be set after 2050. Many of the cars in the chase sequences are cars from
the present, standing out next to the ones designed especially for the film.
When you see a futuristic truck smash into a current version of the Volvo
range, you know that the production has cut some corners.
On the acting front, both Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson
are good. Both play the naive clones extremely well but you would expect
this from two accomplished actors as them. Scarlett makes her action debt
and takes the step with ease, showing that quality actors can adapt to any
genre. Of course she looks beautiful but is the honesty and goodness that
she portrays in the role that makes the character of Jordan Two Delta so
watchable. The same can be said of Ewan McGregor's Lincoln Six Echo but
the actor also gets to play the client of the clone, boat designer and adventurer
Tom Lincoln and it is the interaction between the two that make for some
of the more amusing scenes.
On the supporting side, Sean Bean is again asked to play the
villain and he rises to the occasion, even though he might seem to be on
autopilot from now and again. Djimon Hounsou is an impressive and imposing
figure as hired specialist Albert Laurent. He is an actor that can play
type of role and he excels in the action genre. Michael Bay stalwarts Steve
Buscemi and Michael Clarke Duncan also noticeable make appearances in smaller
'The Island' is an entertaining but flawed Sci-Fi romp. The
good performances from the cast make this a lot more watchable however and
as with all Michael Bay films, the action is first rate. It is just a shame
that the commercial product placement of the film make the film not that
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen
2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1, the movie is presented well, highlighting
the excellent visual effects.
Making of The Island (14.56 mins)
Director Michael Bay, production designer Nigel Phelps, set decorator
Rosemary Branden, producer Walter F. Parkes, 2nd Unit director Kenny Bates,
special effects supervisor John Frazier and stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett
Johansson, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi take you behind the scenes of the
production of the 'The Island'. The featurette looks at the huge sets
for the Clone village, the lab and birthing centres and the foundation
room. It also looks at the huge stunt sequences of the film, including
the armoured car smash, the lorry/car chase and the sign fall.
With only a short Making of…
featurette, the DVD package for 'The Island' is very disappointing. Michael
Bay movies are usually feature packed but moving to a new studio and the
lacklustre performance of the movie at the box office may have contributed
to this poor DVD treatment. Fans will not be impressed.
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