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The Island (2005)
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Review Date: December 07, 2005
Director: Michael Bay
Writer: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Caspian Tredwell-Owen
Producers: Michael Bay, Ian Bryce, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes
Actors:
Ewan McGregor as Lincoln
Scarlett Johansson as Jordan
Sean Bean as Merrick
Plot:
Set in the year 2019, a man consistently dressed in white and living in a facility among a bunch of other “humans” draped in whiteness, starts to question his existence, as the only hope and ambition that any of them seem to have – day-to-day – is to one day be chosen to go to “The Island”. As he slowly discovers, the Island isn’t really a happy place and whoever is chosen to go there, is generally “done away” with. So what does he do? He grabs his best friend’s hand (who also happens to be a hottie) and runs, runs, runs far away (with no Flock of Seagulls in sight). Lots of sci-fi stuff and a wicked-long chase ensues.
Critique:
Over the past few years, I’ve complained about a handful of things about Hollywood, but mostly I’ve laid my rants down on its despicable manner of rehashing, remaking and rebooting anything from the past, simply to avoid “taking a chance” on a new idea, a new writer or a new director, and instead, giving us little more than recycled garbage that costs a lot of money but doesn’t raise the bar much. It’s the new world of major corporations running the studios and caring only about ROI (Return on Investment) and for that matter, BIG return on their BIG investment! If you try to explain that making a dozen smaller movies at a quarter of the price of one blockbuster might also be worth a shot, they’ll rustle you off like an ignorant punkass, but the truth is that the industry now works quarter to quarter, and doesn’t have time to wait for those long-term returns. But why this long-ass epilogue before my review of THE ISLAND?

Well, this film is a perfect example of a movie that actually does take some chances on story, deals with an engaging and morally demanding concept (cloning), doesn’t have a number stapled to the end of its title and didn’t once appear as a cartoon on MTV before turning into a big-time movie. Sure, this is a sci-fi “popcorn action” movie at its core, but when it delivers most of what it promises across the board, why shouldn’t I prop its success and at the same time, question its unfortunate failure at the box-office? Now maybe I’m just a bigger fan of science-fiction than most folk out there, but even without the futuristic stuff, this movie delivers with a intriguing basis in plot, a number of cool twists and turns, a gaggle of action sequences (once it gets going and into the “real world”), two good looking leads and a number of fun secondary characters (Steve Buscemi, as per usual, comes through as the quirky, funny guy). Granted, the film takes a little time to get going, I would have appreciated bigger parts for folks like Michael Clarke Duncan and the aforementioned Buscemi, and the ending was a little too “pat” for my taste, but if you enjoyed films like MINORITY REPORT, TOTAL RECALL and even Michael Bay’s junkyard corn fests before this one (including ARMAGEDDON and the BAD BOYS movies), I’m sure you’ll get a sweet kick out of this ditty, which doesn’t mind going a little overboard on the sauce at times, but always keeps things interesting via its stylized directing, fun storyline and zippy action sequences.

It also tosses a whole bunch of cool futuristic goodies into the mix like floating Black Wasp motorcycles, operations that you’d probably rather not know about and a slew of interesting ideas behind the whole prospect of cloning (some of which make sense!). There are some other bits that I enjoyed about the film as well, but I don’t want to give too much away, as some of that joy comes from those surprises. In the end, I guess my opening rant was to point out how people might just go see crap like MISS CONGENIALITY 2 and THE HONEYMOONERS simply because they recognize the brand names, and skip cooler, more inventive flicks like THE ISLAND, when in reality, we (I speak for movie nerds like myself) should be supporting more of this stuff, simply because you’d want to believe that studios will ultimately feel that sting at the box-office and attempt to return to the days of 1999, when movies were still being allowed to take chances and be original. Oh, and even though I recommend this film quite highly, particularly to sci-fi/action fans, I’m still a little miffed at director Bay who apparently turned down Scarlett Johansson’s proposal to toss a nude scene into the film. Scarlett…from your mouth to God’s ears, my love. Bay, you lost me a little at “PG-13”, but the rest was fun times.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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2:13PM on 12/29/2005

Good Effects, Funny, All Around a Winner

I'll have to agree with Joe on this one as this movie deserves an 8 rating. The premise is totally original, the special effects are outstanding, and Ewen McGregor and Johannsen are up to par and then some. Even though I mostly dislike Mike Bay, I did enjoy this movie immensely.
I'll have to agree with Joe on this one as this movie deserves an 8 rating. The premise is totally original, the special effects are outstanding, and Ewen McGregor and Johannsen are up to par and then some. Even though I mostly dislike Mike Bay, I did enjoy this movie immensely.
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5:29PM on 12/22/2005
I only regret not seeing this one on the big screen. It was an awsomer experience and I feel stupid I believed the anti-hype and waited for DVD. Engaging story, awsome action scenes and two excellent leads in McGregor and Johansson. It is visually stunning and it has something to say after all. A first-class Sci-Fi thriller with lots of action and some believable emotions.
I only regret not seeing this one on the big screen. It was an awsomer experience and I feel stupid I believed the anti-hype and waited for DVD. Engaging story, awsome action scenes and two excellent leads in McGregor and Johansson. It is visually stunning and it has something to say after all. A first-class Sci-Fi thriller with lots of action and some believable emotions.
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4:13PM on 12/15/2005
I thought The Island was a well made, impressive sci-fi action. Obviously with Michael Bay at the helm the action scenes are spectacular and way over the top, therefore it's definately worth seeing.
I thought The Island was a well made, impressive sci-fi action. Obviously with Michael Bay at the helm the action scenes are spectacular and way over the top, therefore it's definately worth seeing.
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5:53PM on 12/08/2005

Right on...

I'm glad to see that Joblo liked The Island. I thought I was the only one who recognized it as a thoughtful, high quality, sci-fi action film. It's proof positive that Bay isn't so bad when he's working with a good script.
I'm glad to see that Joblo liked The Island. I thought I was the only one who recognized it as a thoughtful, high quality, sci-fi action film. It's proof positive that Bay isn't so bad when he's working with a good script.
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9:17AM on 12/08/2005
I'm surprised you say this movie takes a chance since it is pretty much a rehash/remake/reboot of The Clonus Horror with a little Michael Bay thrown in for the short-attention span crowd. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
I'm surprised you say this movie takes a chance since it is pretty much a rehash/remake/reboot of The Clonus Horror with a little Michael Bay thrown in for the short-attention span crowd. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
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5:53AM on 12/08/2005
Saw this a while back - here's the review I wrote in one of the threads:

I'll tell you one thing - Michael Bay knows how to shoot a chase sequence. The spectacular pursuit that involves huge dumbbells, police trucks, and a flying scooter of some kind really blew me away in this futuristic thriller. It was very cool to watch it. And the chase is one of the many highlights of the movie that also include an escape scene, a jailbreak of sorts, and Djimon Hounsou debating on which Ewan McGregor
Saw this a while back - here's the review I wrote in one of the threads:

I'll tell you one thing - Michael Bay knows how to shoot a chase sequence. The spectacular pursuit that involves huge dumbbells, police trucks, and a flying scooter of some kind really blew me away in this futuristic thriller. It was very cool to watch it. And the chase is one of the many highlights of the movie that also include an escape scene, a jailbreak of sorts, and Djimon Hounsou debating on which Ewan McGregor to kill. Exciting stuff.

The story also was interesting to think about - in the future you'll be able to be cloned so that if something with you goes horribly wrong, you have the clone to donate body parts. Now all the ethical and moral questions to this concept are not really explored in the movie; it is talked about, but not in length. No, the movie limits itself to the action, the story, and the fact that Scarlett Johannson is unbelievably hot.

I was impressed with McGregor's and Johannson's performance as two "people" who discover that their world and expectations are not what they seem. McGregor also gets to do a little more in the movie; he doesn't disappoint either. And Sean Bean plays such a good villain - in any movie. In this one, he doesn't play that asshole bad guy who wants to rule the world or get rich by stealing, etc. He plays somebody with a lot of power and enjoys his status in life and would like to keep it that way. Djimon Hounsou is the guy hired to fix Bean's problem. It all plays out well.

The biggest problem I had with the flick was that I thought some of the storylines ended too fast or too easily - I wanted to know a little more about what happened to some of these people, but no. But other than that, it's all good.

This isn't much different that your basic Michael Bay movie: the visuals and soundtracks are spectacular, a lot of the action is farfetched, and the movie is basically a great popcorn movie. It's a good time and a good summer movie.
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5:12AM on 12/08/2005
The problem with this film at the box office is very simple. It looked too intelligent for Michael Bay's fans, and too "Michael Bay" for "intelligent" fans. The first get nothing but an headache for the first hour while the others, once intrugued, cannot resist the shockingly dumb characters (Djimon Hounsou), the dumber twists and the "joy to the world" ending.
The problem with this film at the box office is very simple. It looked too intelligent for Michael Bay's fans, and too "Michael Bay" for "intelligent" fans. The first get nothing but an headache for the first hour while the others, once intrugued, cannot resist the shockingly dumb characters (Djimon Hounsou), the dumber twists and the "joy to the world" ending.
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12:03AM on 12/08/2005
Oh word on the Johansson nudity.
Good review, I thought the film was pretty good but would have been alot better with said "R" rating. We can pray for an unrated cut in the meantime.
Oh word on the Johansson nudity.
Good review, I thought the film was pretty good but would have been alot better with said "R" rating. We can pray for an unrated cut in the meantime.
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