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Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Island

Looking for a midsummer beautiful people fix?

The Island, as science fiction, is crap. It borrows stylistically from Minority Report and it steals it's plot from I, Robot. Every time there ought to be an extended exploration of a morally complicated issue instead we get an over-the-top car chase with really expensive looking stunts and explosions. Steve and I counted at least 7 major product placements... which was probably required in order to finance the demolition of that many cars, helicopters, buildings, etc. Of course, that's what you expect from a Michael Bay film... so Steve and I enjoyed every minute of it. Bay has mastered the art of rediculously intense chase scenes and there's plenty of that in The Island. He also has a knack for finding a good mix of actors to play with. Believe it or not, Bad Boys 2 (the last Bay film I saw,) was actually enjoyable because of the charismatic rapport between Martin Lawrence and Will Smith. This time out, Scarlett (OMG she's a goddess) Johansson and Ewan McGregor have the chemistry. They don't exactly smolder the whole time, as that wouldn't work with the plot, but they have their moments. Then there's the sexy threat of Djimon Hounsou's bounty hunter character (a French accent goes a long way) to spice things up. Throw in a symathetic sleezeball in Steve Buschemi and a menacing villain with a god complex in Sean Bean (still trying to top his magnificent performance as Boromir,) and you have a good formulaic romp with all the stylistic trappings of sci-fi without any of the heavy political or moral musings. Also worth noting is that this movie is quite long at 127 minutes... and sometimes feels longer as you launch into the 2nd or 3rd extended chase sequence. It is however, nicely parsed up with moments of romantic intrigue and comedic moments. Having a panicked (and gigantic) Michael Clarke Duncan careen wildly though a hospital wing smashing people through glass doorways is actually pretty funny. And having Ewan McGregor play opposite himself as his clone meets his creator, one with a Scottish accent and one with an American accent, is another rich touch. _Cinema



At 7/24/2005 06:37:00 PM, Blogger wheylona said...

So I guess no Ewan willy in this one, eh? ;-)

Scarlett--did she actually act this time around? I can't say that I find her compelling in any way. But, excepting her, the cast overall is appealing and I sort of want to see this after your review. [But I also have that anti-Michael Bay song from Team America in my head--I assume, however, that this one does not suck as much as Pearl Harbor?]

At 7/27/2005 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Jimbo said...

Saw it Saturday night. It's the only Michael Bay film that, after five minutes, I didn't cross my arms tight to my chest, lower my head into full "glower" mode, and wish for the screen to go into flames.

There were compelling ideas, a fine design sense, and, on occassion, a collaboration of mise-en-scene and montage that gave you an idea of where his little snippets of film were placed in the Universe--that may be a Michael Bay "first." He was never one for "Montage." More like "Hodge-Podge."

But as far as influences, us older guys got the "pitch" immediately. "It's 'Logan's Run' meets 'Coma,' with a little 'THX' thrown, except (and this is the good part!) he gets out after 30 minutes!"

The one place where it strayed from SCI-FI to Fantasy was to imagine "Amtrak" in 2019. That's a bit like having "Pan Am" in "2001."


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