The Island

Dan Goldwasser Movie Reviews

After the wretched piece of donkey-poo that was Bad Boys II, I wasn’t really expecting much from The Island. After attending the scoring session for the film last month, my attitude softened – I liked what I saw during the playbacks. Still I wasn’t quite sure – until tonight.

The 138-minute long feature starts off with a simple premise: Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) has been having bad dreams lately. He is a resident in an isolated facility where the survivors of a contaminated earth have been living. There is a lottery which picks people to go to “the island”, the last place on earth that is a paradise and contamination free. Meanwhile, he has a secret crush on Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson), one which is forbidden by the rulers of the place. (No close contact, you see.) He starts to think that maybe “the island” isn’t real, and the lottery is faked. Soon enough, he discovers the horrible truth (no spoiler here): they’re all clones, and “the island” is where they go when their body parts are harvested for use by their sponsors (the original DNA source).

And so, when Jordan Two Delta “wins” the lottery and is picked to go to “the island”, Lincoln makes his move and the two escape the facility. Except that they’re now out in the real world, and trying to reach their sponsors to let them (and the world) know about the facility – it seems that the clients think that their clones are in vegetative states, not living and interacting! Meanwhile, a special-ops team has been assembled to capture the two “products” that have escaped. Let the action begin!

And oh, if there were any doubt of the action-skills of Michael Bay, they should be put to rest. I mean, even while Bad Boys II was crap, it still at least had a killer highway chase! The adrenaline kicks in, from the downtown Los Angeles highway chase, to the drop from 70-stories up, and oh so much more. What makes the action work is a combination of clever choreography, impressive practical destruction, and the use of miniatures for the visual effects. The limited use of CGI is a blessing here – because you can really feel the destruction!

The story, overall, is engaging, and even the pseudo-science is interesting at times. There was never a boring moment, and even the gratuitous love-scene was tastefully done, and injected with a dash of humor. The music was good, and provided the right amount of emotion when necessary, and supplemented the action quite well. There was a cue that was not used in the film that I had seen scored, so I’m curious if it will end up on the soundtrack – but it was still well done.

The Island is really the first big popcorn action film of the summer – one that is just a fun ride from start to finish, and I definitely recommend seeing it on the big screen.