The Island (2005)
USA / English
"They don't want you to know what you are. "A man goes on the run after he discovers that he is actually a "harvested being", and is being kept along with others in a utopian facility.
Just a little better than pretty good, but also just a little unoriginal
Michael Bay has had his directoral ups and downs, but here in the big
budget action realm, the director of the excellent The Rock seems right
at home. This time, Bay welds the action to a solid, if somewhat
unoriginal sci fi plot - which blends elements of Logan's Run, THX-1138
Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johanson are an attractive couple living in
a completely medically regulated community designed to repopulate a
world decimated by a mass extinction. Ethan Phillips, Djimon Hounsou
and Sean Beam all provide excellent support. Beam is miraculously
transformed into his clever, arrogant and suspect character. Phillips
is also particularly memorable as their slightly unhinged pal.
Life in an enclosed, sterile environment, with all of their needs taken
careof - including neatly arranged and identical uniforms, jobs, and
three square can be a great bore, so - once a week or so - the
sponsoring corporation gives away a one way ticket to the only place in
the outside world which isn't lethal - The Island.
McGregor's Licoln Six Echo and a number of his cohorts are becoming
increasingly agitated and curious about their home. All the while, his
platonic relationship with Jordan Two Delta (Johanson) grows. But then,
she wins her ticket to the island.
I have described the basic set up, and sci-fi fans will probably
understand that this film actually sits among Logan's Run, gattaca,
THX-1138 and other intelligent dystopian sci films. What may be a
little harder to visualize is how stylistically indebted to Gattaca and
THX-1138 this film is. Ewan McGregor doesn't really look like Ethan
Hawke, and Scarlett Johanson is certainly not easily mistaken for Uma
Thurmond, but between the cinematography, the themes, and the overall
prettiness of the cast, the homage is obvious. The camera work is
excellent, and the pace is spot-on, though it does become a little
breathless toward the end.
Nevertheless, The Island stands on its own as a nice example of big
budget sci fi which does not insult its audience's intelligence and
uses its budget to tell an interesting story - not just to show off a
lot of special effects and highly improbable action (though there is
quite a lot of both here anyway). Recommended for serious and
semi-serious sci fi fans.
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