The Island (2005)
My last few posts have been bloated, so it's time to redress the balance. I don't really have much to say about The Island in any case (Warning! There be spoilers below).
Directed by Michael (The Rock, Bad Boys) Bay, The Island is a mediocre sci-fi film populated by the frenetic action sequences for which Bay is renowned. Drawing from films like THX 1138 and Logan's Run, the story is about Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson), two individuals from a dystopian society who discover that they are actually clones created by a company as spare parts for rich people. They are held within an artificial environment and fed a story (to keep them docile and oblivious to reality) about how they are the last survivors of a deadly disease that wiped out most of the planet's population. Lincoln and Jordan escape and attempt to track down and confront their 'owners' - i.e. the people from whom they were cloned.
If you can swallow the basic premise - it's as outrageous as the Matrix, but they don't sell it nearly as well as in that film - this is a passable action film with a few simplistic ideas bolted on about the ethics of... I'm not sure what, since no one has ever seriously proposed cloning entire people, and the crux of this story is that these are real people and not mere body parts. I suppose it's also a critique of totalitarianism, but again it's all superficial. The Island is a essentially an action / chase movie with lots of explosions and shootouts as our heroes are pursued by a mercenary (Djimon Hounsou) at the behest of the company director (Sean Bean). The acting is fine, but the writing is sketchy. McGregor is a charismatic fellow, and Johansson is easy on the eyes (are those lips for real?). The action sequences are fairly forgettable, but as with most Bay movies, the film is well shot and looks good. One final complaint, there's quite a bit of product placement in the film that is incongruous to the point of distraction.
So basically, it's mediocre and forgettable but is entertaining enough to be inoffensive. It's not as thoughtful as THX 1138, and not as fun and whimsical as Logan's Run, and I would recommend either of those films over this. Having said that, I'm still looking forward to Michael Bay's next film - Transformers - which plays to his strengths and looks like it could be fun.
*Edited to say the post isn't much shorter than usual! Hmm, but I don't think it's too long either.