Review: The Island

The Island

A film about the dangers and ethics of human cloning, or advertising space for today’s technology corporations?

The Island is a sci-fi action thriller staring Ewan McGregor and the stunning Scarlett Johansson. The story revolves around ‘Lincoln Six Echo’ (McGregor) who with friend ‘Jordan Two Delta’ (Johansson), are residents of a utopian society which is seemingly home to remaining survivors of a contamination outbreak that wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Whilst their recovery has reversed their mental age, what keeps them going is the hope that one day, they will win ‘the lottery’ and be selected to live on ‘The Island’ - the last inhabitable place on earth, where they will help re-colonise the planet. It soon transpires that something more sinister is at play under the control of Doctor Merrick (a type cast Sean Bean).

I tended to think certain parts of the film shared aspects of 1982s Blade Runner, but I could be wrong.

When we join Lincoln, he is already starting to question his existence, has become friends with an (human) engineer (played by the excellent Steve Busemi) and his friendship with Jordan has become increasingly more intimate. Upon his discovery of what really happens to those who are sent to the Island, he escapes, rescuing Jordan in the process.

It’s at this point the action starts, one car/bike/truck chase after another. Whilst the effects are indeed effective, the relentless chase scenes start to bore. Given this also sees the pair involved in massive car pile ups, shootings and falling from the top of 200 storey high office block, they both remain remarkable unscathed.

What really started to annoy me though was the relentless brand-placement, alongside the usual product placement (i.e. the Nokia phones, the GM motorcars etc.) Every half hour the film would seemingly stop to promote a Microsoft brand - first we have an X-Box sponsored virtual fighting sequence, before later we see Lincoln and Jordan in a heavily branded MSN Search internet telephone kiosk. To top it all of, to tell the world about the island they need to visit MSNBC. And why not.

In typical Michael Bays style, this film promises much, but delivers little. Much like Pearl harbour, the film drags on far too long (136 minutes), whilst managing to gloss over the more challenging aspects of the movies central themes, instead ploughing head first into the action sequences at every turn. What saves the film is its casting - Busemi and McGregor stand out. Conclusion: an average film ruined by it’s sponsorship.


4 responses so far. Go on, add yours!

 Gravatar#1 On August 12, 2005 2:04 PM, Jon Roobottom said...

I knew you couldn't resist a virtual rant to accompany the actual live rant we experienced last night (not one of your best by the way). I am, surprisingly, inclined to agree with you: The ms branding in the film did cheapen it somewhat.

I think if you discount the last hour and a half of this film it actually becomes quite interesting. The whole human cloning thing is an issue we've seen in many films, but not shown in quite this way. The treatment of the clones as nonentities, without souls is perhaps quite true to the way we would react. Suffice to say if we did create a living, breathing and thinking copy of another person what would that say about the existence of God? Would that clone have a soul?

Anyway, perhaps a little deep. In closing. Film = average.

 Gravatar#2 On November 4, 2005 3:35 AM, Mike Chau said...

This is a great website...I think I'm going to add pictures on my blog...This Blog looks soooo great...

 Gravatar#3 On January 11, 2006 1:20 PM, Mark Lloyd said...

i really liked this film, it shares common themes with brave new world and 'Aldous Huxley'- Brave New World' it had a good balance of comendy and action.

i would have given it 8/10, but its your review :D

 Gravatar#4 On September 6, 2006 3:26 PM, Mark said...

Two word review. It's cack.

Film Details

Directed by:
Michael Bay
Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean and Steve Buscemi
DreamWorks SKG/Warner Bros.

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This entry was written on 12 Aug 2005, 12:00 PM and is filled under , .