Latest Movie News Headlines

Face-Off: The Island vs. Transformers

04.25.2013by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face-Off we put together a match up between two of the men dominating the sci-fi scene in 2013 in Tom Cruise and Will Smith. Mr. Cruise ended up taking the official verdict with you our readers agreeing with that particular opinion. Smith wasn't without his supporters though, with one of the opinion that being the Fresh Prince alone earned him the victory.

As of late Michael Bay has reminded us all that he's very outspoken with a controversial "apology" about what I think to be one of his best films Armageddon. Interesting publicity for his new film Pain and Gain, a film which took our own JimmyO by surprise (read his review here). He has most recently said those remarks were taken out of context. Bay has had an interesting track record as far as his films go, he has a few gems to his name (Bad Boys, The Rock) but he is usually blasted by many critics and fans alike. So we've put together a match between two of his films that bring the action he's been known for his entire career in The Island and Transformers. Let's discuss.
Story
A group of people live in an isolated compound in fear of belief that the outside world is too contaminated for mankind to inhabit, save for one island. When "Lincoln Six Echo" stumbles onto something that reveals the truth about the whole set up, and with Jordan Two Delta escapes the facility to find the world isn't as dangerous as he's been led to assume. We then are treated to a game of cat and mouse between Lincoln, Jordan, and the facilities head honcho Dr. Merrick. I love flicks that are set in a dystopian future and before this film goes all out action we see the great concepts that can stem from a film with those themes. I dug it.
What should have ended with Sam Witwicky simply getting his first car, turns out to land him smack in the middle of a war that's raged on for years between giant robots known respectively as Autobots and Decepticons. Pretty simple set up right? We have the good guys, we have the bad guys, we have the middle men in the form of the insects that we humans are to those robots. The deepest we go here is how early these beings were found and the area-51 type cover-up the government has enforced. Other than that...let sh*t blow up.
Cast
Ewan McGreggor. Scarlett Johansson. Sean Bean. Djimon Hounsou. Steve Buscemi. The late Michael Clarke Duncan. This is a pretty sweet line up and I'm a huge fan of everyone I've listed. Ewan surprisingly made for a great leading man, and I can look at dear Scarlett 24/7. No need to explain the awesomeness that is Sean Bean is there? Especially when he's put his bad boy pants on for the show, and Djimon is an amazing actor who was great as the head mercenary for hire to bring our heroes down.
Shia LaBeouf. Megan Fox. Josh Duhamel. Tyrese Gibson. John Turturro. Rachael Taylor. Anthony Anderson. John Voight. The always amazing voices of Peter Cullen and Hugo Weaving. We get more of a packed house here, and part of the criticism this film has received is the focus on the human characters while sacrificing screen time for the Transformers. I can see where that argument comes from, but at least for this film I was entertained enough by said human characters not to completely dub the movie a piece of sh*t.
Action
The Island shifted from being an intriguing science fiction film to being an all out action picture, not to say that shift is necessarily bad. Fight scenes, chases, we got all of the toys Bay likes to play with. I have to say the chase scene in this film was the shining moment when it comes to this particular category. Bay loves to throw dangerous metal off the back of vehicles doesn't he? I had serious Bad Boys II deja-vu here. We got all we come to expect, everything gets decimated and we even get great moments that take advantage of the futuristic settings the film takes place in.
We get brilliant teases of the balls-to-the-wall climax of the film sprinkled throughout the first two acts. The attack of the base in the beginning, the clash in the desert. Teases I would have liked to see more of, a small chase scene on a freeway that ends with Optimus Prime disposing of a foe in bad ass fashion, and a glimpse of a war being waged on Cybertron the native planet of the Transformers that I thought we deserved more of (seriously more of that and less of a dog pissing on a Transformers leg). Still, that final battle in the city shows Bay excelling at what he does best...putting a kick ass action scene on film. I can give the man that much credit.
Overall
The Island sported a great premise and took some time to explore it, some good performances from its cast, and action scenes that are as good as any that you're likely to see. This film obviously took cues from other science fiction films, but you'd be hard pressed to find a modern sci-fi film that hasn't. There is very little that truly breaks new ground it is all in how you execute a familiar idea these days and The Island did a serviceable job. I'm a sucker for films that confront us about what our future could possibly bring, and I'm a sucker for films with a vision of what the future can bring us in terms of technology. The Island supplied us with both.
The first Transformers film, turned out to be toned down version of its sequels and this fact did it justice. There was ridiculousness here to be sure, but not nearly on the level that we got in Revenge of the Fallen and Dark of the Moon. It did a good job in introducing us to all the players, Shia was less annoying here, the comedy satisfying, the eye candy plentiful, and the action served its purpose. It's all a matter of if you can stomach Bay's particular brand of storytelling these days I suppose. Me? While I thought this first journey into the world of Autobots and Decepticons was decent enough, the intriguing premise of the Island hooked me a bit more.
The Island
So there you have it, folks. I wouldn't necessarily count out the first Transformers flick but as I stated, it's all about what you prefer. In this case, I preferred The Island's more serious approach to the material while providing us with some great action scenes to boot. But what do you say? Do you think The Island borrowed from too many pre-existing concepts for you to bring yourself to care about it? Did you have enough of a blast with the first Transformers to give it the edge? Time to strike back!

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which Michael Bay film is your favorite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

MORE FUN FROM AROUND THE WEB

Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

9:51PM on 04/25/2013

Transformers

I only saw the Island once, thought it was ok but maybe I need to give it another chance. I agree Island had the better cast, but transformers is a great summer popcorn film that has more re-watchability for me.
I only saw the Island once, thought it was ok but maybe I need to give it another chance. I agree Island had the better cast, but transformers is a great summer popcorn film that has more re-watchability for me.
Your Reply:



3:59PM on 04/25/2013

The Island

The Island is Bay's most underrated film on his resume, the first hour is great & has you hooked from the getgo & then once they leave it becomes a typical Bay film & keeps you into the film.the chase scene alone was great it's a shame it wasn't a bigger hit.

I do also enjoy the first Transformers movie because it was a big deal about finally bringing Transformers to the big screen, the scene where Optimus Prime first transforms made me geek out big time. It's a fun movie & typical Bay
The Island is Bay's most underrated film on his resume, the first hour is great & has you hooked from the getgo & then once they leave it becomes a typical Bay film & keeps you into the film.the chase scene alone was great it's a shame it wasn't a bigger hit.

I do also enjoy the first Transformers movie because it was a big deal about finally bringing Transformers to the big screen, the scene where Optimus Prime first transforms made me geek out big time. It's a fun movie & typical Bay action & yes I even like the sequels, part 3 more than 2.

Don't really get the Bay haters, he is definitely no Ratner or even McG, the guy is consistant & really doesn't care what people think of his films, sure he can be very vocal at times about other director's works, but most of the time it's true.
Your Reply:



3:28PM on 04/25/2013
I've always enjoyed The Island. I mean for all intents and purposes it's just a rip off of Logan's Run, but it's so entertainingly over the top that I always love watching it. The bit where they fall off the building's lettering takes it a bit too far, but any film this fun is fine by me. Plus extra points for Steve Buscemi, because he's Steve Buscemi.
I've not been especially fond of any of the Transformers films, mostly because they never came close to matching the character dynamics of the
I've always enjoyed The Island. I mean for all intents and purposes it's just a rip off of Logan's Run, but it's so entertainingly over the top that I always love watching it. The bit where they fall off the building's lettering takes it a bit too far, but any film this fun is fine by me. Plus extra points for Steve Buscemi, because he's Steve Buscemi.
I've not been especially fond of any of the Transformers films, mostly because they never came close to matching the character dynamics of the original Decepticons. The last one had some impressive action sequences, especially the bits with Shockwave, but so far Bay hasn't got Transformers right.
Your Reply:



+0
12:52PM on 04/25/2013
The island wins for having ScaJo. Fox is hot but ScaJo is a freaking goddess.
The island wins for having ScaJo. Fox is hot but ScaJo is a freaking goddess.
Your Reply:



12:41PM on 04/25/2013
I enjoy both films, but I think The Island is better.
I enjoy both films, but I think The Island is better.
Your Reply:



9:42AM on 04/25/2013
This is actually a harder one to pick than one might initially imagine for me. The Island is two movies, one a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, the other a Michael Bay pyrotechnic extravaganza. And to me they don't exactly fit. Transformers is a much dumber, messier movie, but it never pretends to be anything more than exactly that.

But The Island gets the edge because at least in that one Bay tried something thematically different. Everything up until Steve Buscemi exits the movie, and
This is actually a harder one to pick than one might initially imagine for me. The Island is two movies, one a thought-provoking sci-fi thriller, the other a Michael Bay pyrotechnic extravaganza. And to me they don't exactly fit. Transformers is a much dumber, messier movie, but it never pretends to be anything more than exactly that.

But The Island gets the edge because at least in that one Bay tried something thematically different. Everything up until Steve Buscemi exits the movie, and then later when they're hiding out at Tom Lincoln's, was expertly done and I hadn't seen Bay do that before (or since). The action sequences were all pretty exciting, too, but felt like they belonged in a different movie. Also, Scarlett Johansson stayed way too pretty throughout (and her part was paper-thin to begin with).
Your Reply:



8:50AM on 04/25/2013

THE ISLAND ripped off a couple of other properties,

namely the 1979 movie PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR and Michael Marshall Smith's novel SPARES, which was adapted into a script by DreamWorks.
But yes, I'll take Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson over Shia Lebeouf and Megan Fox any day of the week.
namely the 1979 movie PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR and Michael Marshall Smith's novel SPARES, which was adapted into a script by DreamWorks.
But yes, I'll take Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson over Shia Lebeouf and Megan Fox any day of the week.
Your Reply:



8:44AM on 04/25/2013
I hate the Island SO SO much. The storytelling is NOT good, it just happens to have a really good theme (clone civil rights, basically) which is definitely an interesting topic but completely wasted on The Island that feels like an amateur trying to rip off a Michael Bay movie. It does the absolute bare minimum of exploration to stand out in a career marked by explosions. I like explosions. I like action movies. But if the Island REALLY wanted to be more than just explosions, it failed
I hate the Island SO SO much. The storytelling is NOT good, it just happens to have a really good theme (clone civil rights, basically) which is definitely an interesting topic but completely wasted on The Island that feels like an amateur trying to rip off a Michael Bay movie. It does the absolute bare minimum of exploration to stand out in a career marked by explosions. I like explosions. I like action movies. But if the Island REALLY wanted to be more than just explosions, it failed miserably. Transformers is big and dumb, but at least it doesn't try to be anything but that. I'll still throw it on from time to time while I'm cleaning my house or something and I don't have to pay too much attention to it.
Your Reply:



7:43AM on 04/25/2013

Transformers

That first Transformers movie was great. The Island suffers from Michael Bay's horrible story telling. The first Transformers was different, in that he had Spielberg help him out. I liked parts of The Island, but it falls flat to me.
That first Transformers movie was great. The Island suffers from Michael Bay's horrible story telling. The first Transformers was different, in that he had Spielberg help him out. I liked parts of The Island, but it falls flat to me.
Your Reply:



8:21AM on 05/02/2013
That's news to me. Just because Dreamworks owns the movie, doesn't mean he helped make it.
That's news to me. Just because Dreamworks owns the movie, doesn't mean he helped make it.
9:31AM on 04/25/2013
Spielberg produced The Island, too. His first non-Bruckheimer movie.
Spielberg produced The Island, too. His first non-Bruckheimer movie.
6:25AM on 04/25/2013
One has Scarlett Johannson and Sean Bean. One does not. Debate closed.
One has Scarlett Johannson and Sean Bean. One does not. Debate closed.
Your Reply:



7:03AM on 05/30/2013
For a moment there, I honestly thought you were going w/ the immortal Sean Bean: ONE DOES NOT [simply] meme. Haha!
For a moment there, I honestly thought you were going w/ the immortal Sean Bean: ONE DOES NOT [simply] meme. Haha!
5:39AM on 04/25/2013
The Island is such a great movie with one of those great movie scores. [link]
The Island is such a great movie with one of those great movie scores. [link]
Your Reply:



5:22AM on 04/25/2013

The Island is Bay's best work..

..by some considerable margin.
..by some considerable margin.
Your Reply:



4:00AM on 04/25/2013
I think Transformers delivered in terms of large-scale spectacle, the ILM-produced visual effects were and still are absolutely astounding. There was just a lot of fat to trim in terms of extraneous subplots and characters, a problem which only got worse as the Transformers film series progressed. I think The Island takes a lot of its cues from Minority Report in addition to Logan's Run and Parts: The Clonus Horror. It's somewhat entertaining, but really derivative.
I think Transformers delivered in terms of large-scale spectacle, the ILM-produced visual effects were and still are absolutely astounding. There was just a lot of fat to trim in terms of extraneous subplots and characters, a problem which only got worse as the Transformers film series progressed. I think The Island takes a lot of its cues from Minority Report in addition to Logan's Run and Parts: The Clonus Horror. It's somewhat entertaining, but really derivative.
Your Reply:



2:42AM on 04/25/2013
I love Bay's ball's to the wall, batshit crazy action, but I still think The Island is his best film
I love Bay's ball's to the wall, batshit crazy action, but I still think The Island is his best film
Your Reply:



2:30AM on 04/25/2013
The Island is much more superior to Transformers in terms of story telling and how poignant it was. However, Transformers has such a high eye-candy factor.
The Island is much more superior to Transformers in terms of story telling and how poignant it was. However, Transformers has such a high eye-candy factor.
Your Reply:



+1
2:17AM on 04/25/2013
Bad Boys, Armageddon, The Rock and The Island were all fun, entertaining blockbusters but now his new ones feel bloated and empty. Pain and Gain seems be going to his roots.

Pearl Harbor just plain sucked and embarrassing
Bad Boys, Armageddon, The Rock and The Island were all fun, entertaining blockbusters but now his new ones feel bloated and empty. Pain and Gain seems be going to his roots.

Pearl Harbor just plain sucked and embarrassing
Your Reply:



1:20AM on 04/25/2013

Old Bay >> New Bay

Surprised by the choice but I agree, I never understood the positive reviews of the first Transformers, I actually enjoyed all of Bays work up until Transformers. I haven't seen it in years and that might be doing it a favor but I even liked Pearl Harbour.
Surprised by the choice but I agree, I never understood the positive reviews of the first Transformers, I actually enjoyed all of Bays work up until Transformers. I haven't seen it in years and that might be doing it a favor but I even liked Pearl Harbour.
Your Reply:



-16
1:05AM on 04/25/2013
Is this contest to determine which movie is the bigger pile of festering garbage? If so, it's a tie!
Is this contest to determine which movie is the bigger pile of festering garbage? If so, it's a tie!
Your Reply:



Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting