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Island, The (2005)
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by EricDSnider

"Nice work, Michael Bay, but we still hate you."
4 stars

In the year 2019, most of the Earth is uninhabitable, having been choked to death by a newly toxic atmosphere. Everyone must live indoors, in a city-sized underground bunker where the air is clean and where everyone yearns to win the weekly lottery, where the prize is a one-way ticket to The Island, "nature's last remaining pathogen-free zone." As I say, this is 2019, only 14 years from now. So we'd better get crackin' on that toxic atmosphere thing unless we want to make Michael Bay a liar.

Bay is the director of "The Island," his sixth film and without question his best. Of course, coming after "Armageddon," "Bad Boys II" and "The Rock," "best" is not a superlative with a great deal of impact. But despite all of Bay's best efforts, which he recently outlined in Entertainment Weekly -- firing the screenwriter immediately and bringing on two action-oriented re-writers; openly renting out the film for product placement; re-shooting endings based on test screenings -- despite all that sabotage, he still managed, through sheer dumb luck, to wind up with a cracking good sci-fi adventure that doesn't falter until the second half. (Ironically, the second half of his "Pearl Harbor" was the GOOD half.)

In this great subterranean safehouse, made of futuristic glass-and-steel, everyone dresses alike and is carefully monitored for health and fitness deficiencies. They remember the great disaster that precipitated their coming here, and the "decontamination" process that rendered them fit for society. Occasionally new survivors are found, brought in, decontaminated, and slowly introduced into the general population. Everyone lives in contentment, not questioning the way things are done.

Everyone except for Lincoln 6 Echo (Ewan McGregor), that is. He starts to wonder why everyone dresses the same, and why he has the particular job he does, pouring nutrients into tubes. Where do the tubes go? What are the nutrients for? What's the world like on the outside? Is it really uninhabitable? He is friends with Jordan 2 Delta (Scarlett Johansson), and she shares some of his curiosity. But curiosity, as you might expect, is frowned upon in this environment. Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean), who runs the facility, subtly urges Lincoln to direct his energies elsewhere.

The truth, which the film's trailer reveals and which I will tiptoe around, is that Lincoln, Jordan and the others are not exactly who they think they are. Cloning is involved, and The Island is a bit of a misnomer insofar as "going to The Island" really means "being killed," and the outside world isn't nearly as toxic as they've been led to believe (though parts of L.A. are still pretty bad).

With help from an outsider named McCord (Steve Buscemi, funny as always), Lincoln and Jordan wind up on the run, fleeing Merrick's bounty hunter (Djimon Hounsou) while searching for answers. The film up to this point is solid future-paranoia "Soylent Green"-style hi-jinks, full of intelligent discourse and other surprises. But then Bay's baser instincts kick in, as do the contributions of re-writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orco (both of TV's "Alias"), who revised Caspian Tredwell-Owen's original script, and we get not one but two car chases, explosions aplenty and, earlier declarations that clones have no sex drive notwithstanding, a sex scene.

But the film's rather pedestrian latter scenes merely tarnish, rather than ruin, the finished product. Sleek and stylish as if made by a real filmmaker, "The Island" is good summertime fare. Never mind if it seems to have been cloned from the DNA of countless previous sci-fi flicks; did "Logan's Run" have not one but TWO Ewan McGregors? I didn't think so.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12591&reviewer=247
originally posted: 07/22/05 06:44:38
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell decent no more no less 3 stars
12/28/12 Man Out Six Bucks Libertarian Logan's Run vs. a really, really big fan blade 4 stars
12/16/09 Philip It was okay, I agree completely that the first half was awesome.. 4 stars
3/05/09 Elaine My favorite movie!! I love everything about it. Cast is amazing and the story is fantastic! 5 stars
12/01/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
7/10/08 Mr. Christian Notable for its viewpoint.Hardcore sci-fi coated in action.Good attention to detail. 4 stars
2/07/08 Anthony Feor Bay delivers his estounding visual effects. If only more time was spent on the script. 3 stars
9/16/07 David Graham probably bays best film yet 5 stars
5/27/07 kitfo plot premiseundeveloped, the chase scene made me laugh, Buscemi phoned it in: a total waste 2 stars
5/26/07 Jim Better than I expected 4 stars
5/19/07 fools♫gold Has too many funny and even clever moments for me to give italowerrating. AT LEAST an 8/10. 4 stars
4/21/07 Jamie Jones I love the movie. The set is amazing and the cars are sweet. 4 stars
4/17/07 David Pollastrini Scarlett Looks hot in this! 3 stars
3/19/07 Stanley Thai Such a great popcorn film. It even has a great mysterious story. 4 stars
2/08/07 The chode Not bad, worth the rental. 4 stars
2/05/07 Matt Okay at times, but overall thoroughly ho-hum. 3 stars
1/05/07 jerg Not bad, but too flawed and familiar, Bay bullshit etc. 3 stars
11/05/06 Anne I enjoyed it. Great if you don't analyse it too much 4 stars
10/15/06 Steve Newman Great plot, not bad acting, film was 20 minutes too long 4 stars
10/03/06 annoymous whoever Lybarger is no offence but you obviously don't see many movies. your a dick!!! 4 stars
8/22/06 Anastasia Beaverhausen Entertaining, if you don't think about it too much 4 stars
8/21/06 Jill Great - not properly marketed as the fun sci-fi it is 4 stars
5/10/06 Yusuf Cassim Great plot with unlimited suspence! 5 stars
5/07/06 Doxiegal Utterly dull, derivative and brainless. 2 stars
4/25/06 Mer Hathaway i enjoyed it 5 stars
4/10/06 Blair Luvs it 5 stars
4/03/06 Mike great,loved it,good action packed film. 5 stars
3/31/06 island it rules 5 stars
3/31/06 Nobody Exciting with great FX (especially truck scene!) 4 stars
3/14/06 Eileen a little bit fun, not great 3 stars
3/09/06 Dk Bay has finely grown up and made a good movie 4 stars
3/07/06 Quigley the action was good, but it was nothing new. what killed it was the mood and the LENGTH! 3 stars
2/26/06 Doug Good, but action sequences were over the top 4 stars
2/26/06 Steven Lewis It's like Equilibrium + THX1138 + 6th Day. 3 stars
2/05/06 Anthony Feor Very good movie 4 stars
1/16/06 Indrid Cold Looks great + some good action + a passable script = above average 4 stars
1/05/06 me nothing great or terrible 4 stars
1/01/06 baba booey das a good movie. 5 stars
12/28/05 tony Done well with extremly styalized action! This ones a keeper! 4 stars
12/27/05 Taylor Fladgate worth a rental...makes you think! 3 stars
12/25/05 zhivago interesting take on future society, LOTS of prod. placement 5 stars
12/16/05 Caiphn A movie that tapers off into something simply awful. 2 stars
12/14/05 Jeff Anderson More entertaining & better than you would expect from Michael Bay! Buscemi STANDS OUT! 5 stars
12/04/05 Zigga Product Placement like a mother fucka!...good lord! 4 stars
11/23/05 noops some unbeleivable scenes... still ok 4 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Acting is weak - w/ exception to Buscemi. Story is all too familiar. Bay sucks! 2 stars
11/15/05 Sam sucks 1 stars
10/26/05 Michael Kondo this movie was not even close to good, my friend found it bearable though 2 stars
10/26/05 deadwiz Fun action, tipical Micheal Bay film. 3 stars
10/22/05 Aksentiy Gula I think this is the greatest movie aver espesialy that scarlet johansson in the movie 5 stars
9/20/05 Eric Fortune This movie was bad. I'm glad I saw it at the cheap theater. 2 stars
9/18/05 Jonathon Holmes please, for the love of God, somebody kill off Micheal Bay!!! 1 stars
9/08/05 Clayton A bit trying at times, but Ewan and Scarlett made it all worth while. 4 stars
9/06/05 y2mckay a mish mash of better sci fi movies, but some good chases. Drags on 30 minutes too long. 3 stars
8/29/05 ES Surprise, this movie had much more thought & detail in it than first assumed = pretty good 4 stars
8/25/05 JamesBorges pretty entertaining, dont know why it did so bad 4 stars
8/22/05 Alyson This movie was great. No idea why it flopped. Two Ewans<3<3<3<3 5 stars
8/20/05 malcolm MC Duncan wasted. not enough space to list movies borrowed from-matrix,coma,blade runner 4 stars
8/15/05 Quigley ewan and scarlett are great. cliqued, but entertaining. scarlett was drop-dead hot, man! 4 stars
8/14/05 Frenzy Realy not bad 4 stars
8/13/05 John Bale With references to 1984, Brazil, and The Matrix. Good chase sequences keep you from boredom 4 stars
8/08/05 Bubba Fish The best action-packed sci-fi thriller since Minority Report 5 stars
8/06/05 Aaron McGraw Not too shabby 4 stars
8/05/05 Greg Ursic I must have seen a different movie as I really enjoyed this one 4 stars
8/05/05 Kurt Birusingh Good idea squandered. 3 stars
8/04/05 carl no brainer fun 5 stars
8/02/05 DARRYL LAMBERT, SR a great movie from start to finish. I will definitely be willing to see this again. 5 stars
8/01/05 Maalstrom Somewhat bland. Failed to excite me at all. 2 stars
7/29/05 Green Gremlin An updated version of "Logan's Run" with elements of "The Truman Show" and "Coma" 4 stars
7/27/05 jcjs so entertaining, fun, fast, a delight..Johansson, wow...fast too 5 stars
7/25/05 Naka Booo. Great idea, typical shitcan Michael Bay execution. Skip it. 1 stars
7/25/05 Spednik Drlathlan A movie set in 2019 and the hottest cars they have are trickedout Mercedes and Chyslers?? 3 stars
7/25/05 Suke Rehashed plot, pretty uninspired attempt. Sci-Fi is in deep space right now. 3 stars
7/25/05 Mike Madryga An entertaining and, at times, thought-provoking movie. Decent. 4 stars
7/25/05 Balls MacGee Bay should be severely chastized for not letting Scarlet show her boobs. 1 stars
7/24/05 Frank Newhouse It was...ok..too much hype and advertisment for a shallow popcorn movie..tight effects tho. 3 stars
7/24/05 Bill Pryor MTV science fiction. I wasn't expecting much and didn't get much. 2 stars
7/23/05 KingNeutron Damn, I was looking fwd to this; but: SLOPPY STORYTELLING!! Some good parts tho. 3 stars
7/23/05 Josh Loved the first half, enjoyed the second half, gawked at the stitches holding on the ending 4 stars
7/23/05 Bobby The Squid Fun, but way too much product placement. Why are all cars in the future 2005-6 models? 3 stars
7/22/05 Kristina Williams it was ok 4 stars
7/21/05 Emily Damn you Michael Bay!!! I should have known! 1 stars
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  22-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Dec-2005



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