Analog Thoughts on a Digital Age

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Movie Review: "The Island" (2005)

You are never lost until you find the nearest Starbucks

Mr. "USA is Number 1" himself, Michael Bay has once again struck us with another camera-panning fortified, explosion powered, landscape shot enriched summer blockbuster The Island. The story of a clone Lincoln 6 Echo (Ewan McGregor) isolated from society along with thousands like him in an underground containment facility and his quest to know the truth of his existence. He is conditioned from the very start, as is everyone else, to believe that he was saved from a contaminated outside world and 'chosen' to become the propagator of a new generation of human beings to repopulate the earth in a place called "The Island". Every day, each person in the facility looks forward with excitement , the day they are picked and sent to The Island. This is the end-all of their mundane routinary existence composed of chores and white jogging suits. With co-inhabitor Jordan 2 Delta (Scarlett Johannsen) they escape the facility and discover the nature of their existence...that they are mere 'insurance policies', paid forand owned by their clone sponsors.

The movie boasts of the usual Bay staple of wide-angle shots, spin-around-the-actor shots and helicopter-cam landscape pans. It also has one of the most elaborate car chases ever caught on film. The highway scene with the train wheels crashing into the well-conceptualized futuristic cop cars is amazing. The jet-cycle chase was also a great adddition the the mind-blowing 20 minute action sequence, which, I wish, I could say for the rest of the movie.

Here's the rundown. The Island sucks. Here's why.

The movie was marketed heavily with extreme spoilers in its trailers and previews. I went to the theater thinking that the story behind the "cloning" angle was given out upfront in the beginning. Turns out, the revalation of the truth of what the company was laid out by Steve Buscemi's character right in the middle of the movie. And it held it with so much suspense as if the audience was clueless of what was happening.

The dialogue, not surprisingly, was so lame it could have been written by a 12 year old. Considering Michael Bay was never good with dialogue anyway, I think they dumbed it down a notch because they wanted the teenagers to understand it considering that they had to clean it up with a PG 13 rating. One such example is in the final moments of the movie where Sean Bean calls out Mc Gregor's character with "Come here 6 Echo!", to which he replies, "My name is Lincoln!". Gee, I wonder which summer action flick about discovering one's self after a liftime of mental slavery they got that line from?

And aside from the script being dumbed down, Mc Gregor's Lincoln carries himself as if he knew what was happening in key moments of the film, whereas he was supposed to only have the knowledge of a 15 year old, minus the social skills and the general pop culture knowledge. the novice Johannsen did a far better job in that department.

I took this stupi role for two reasons, 1. I get to hold a gun. 2. I don't get to show my crack all the time

Djimon Honsou was a miscast. He charisma is more effective in period flicks as either an emancipated slave or an arena warrior, but not as a leader of a high end private army. My suggestion? They should have put Michael Clarke Duncan in that role instead.

Lets face it, movie protagonists in action movies ARE supposed to be superhuman and should be able to survive long falls and powerful blows to the head. The director's job, is to make it a tad more convincing so that the audience won't go "That's bull@#$t." In this case, Bay threw everything out the window and had the leads go against (and eventually beat) trained mercenaries (ex Navy SEALS , at that), survive 300 foot falls from dangling building signs and survive what looked like a terribly fatal car crash . It would have been more convincing if they just kept running, at least they had the exercise.

I am appaled at how Michael Bay treats his audience. It's as if he was making this movie with the thought that the audience in the cinemas would be a bunch of Game Boy-toting pre pubescent boys. As before, he continues to insult his audience by turmning a good script into total preach fest for human rights where the main leads aren't even human in the first place. This makes me very, very pessimistic about him helming the next Transformers movie.

The confused morality of the movie is apparent when early on, it preaches that the clones, although artificially produced, deserve to live freely just like us. And then later on as referred in the dialogue between Bean and Honsou that the practice of cloning was akin playing God. One says they deserve to live, the other says they don't.

Am I exaggerrating Michael Bay's lack of cerebral matter? Maybe. Am I over analyzing the movie? Maybe. But the burning question remains. Is this movie FUN?

Let me put it this way. I could have had more fun in the cinema if I had seen it with somebone else instead of watching it alone, so that I could at least have some one bash and make fun of the stupid scenes in the movie along with me.

Hello, I'm Catcher Block

Rocketboy's Rating; * (1 out of 5)


Anonymous cristi said...

*groans* Michael Bay's only achievement is being able to reach a whole new level of tackiness with his filmmaking. The guy might as well have his leads walk around in Uncle Sam top hats. Stinker!!

7:42 PM

Blogger drei said...

i must say, i really really enjoyed the movie! it's far better than his sucky films pearl harbor bad company and quasi-sucky armageddon. i really wanna make a long review but i have no time. tsk. :)

11:39 PM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

cristi: Yeah, I was surprised that Bay used the white and black striped design for their tracksuits instead of the stars and stripes. Heheheh...

Drei: Long time, no hear. I'd have to agree that Pearl Harbor and Armageddon suck. Armageddon especially. It has a premium level of suckage that transcends just being a bad movie.

5:16 AM

Anonymous franchster said...

you must admit though, that chase scene with the hovercraft-motorbike-thingie looked nice. And he's good at blowing things up big time! Good signs for the Transformer Movie as far as effects are concerned.

2:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

meeennnn, i enjoyed the movie!!! know why? hehehe.. got to watch it on a lazy boy..deng. for 300 bucks worth, ayos na ayos..u get to have unlimited free popcorn and drinks..and don't forget the lazy boy.. ehehhe...At syempre..u have to find someone na manlilibre sau. bwahahahhaa!

7:40 PM

Blogger Sedricke said...

finally, was able to see it. i actually enjoyed the first few moments of it, i loved the new world that bay created. however it then suddenly became so Hollywood that it hurt. i mean, enough with the prolonged car chase scenes.

but i did not notice the bad script, surprisingly. sith made me oblivious to any other script flaws in the movies.

9:29 PM

Blogger the rocketboy said...

Anonymous: I would have enjoyed The movei too If I were an Eazyboy. Heck I would have enjoyed a Kris Aquino movie If I had free popcorn!

Sedricke: True. The action scenes were groundbreaking, albeit extended. I just found it a little too 'preachy' and presumptious on the cloning issue. Heck. Its just a popcorn movie.

5:16 AM

Anonymous free movie said...

I found The Island to be highly enjoyable - a great Summer blockbuster that isn't quite mindless. It raises a number of very interesting questions...Plenty of eye candy in every form, the two leads, the scenery, explosions, action sequences, cinematography, everything you would expect from Michael Bay and Co.

7:16 PM


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