Friday, May 2, 2014

Film Review--The Island


THE ISLAND
starring Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ethan Philips, and The Beav wouldn't even be seen in this thing.

A man (McGregor) feels like something is amiss about the utopian future he calls home.  He should.  He is a clone who will be harvested for his organs.

We just read Brave New World in class.  One of my students told me, "You should see The Island.  It's a lot like this book." I didn't recognize the title but I learned that almost ten years have elapsed since its release date.  The cast seemed solid and it features the ever-so-delectable Scarlett, so why not screen it?  Maybe I could use it in class?

Good God was this thing awful.  I mean it was awful on so many appalling levels.

But it's really my fault.  I failed to notice who the director was: Michael Bay.  Yeah, that guy again.  I think he must have read a one paragraph description of Brave New World and then decided to make an action movie out of it. Also thrown into this cinematic blender of yuck are THX-1138, Logan's Run, The Matrix ("What if I told you..."), and Blade Runner.  In fact, the scene where Ewan McGregor learns he's a clone (I could care less if I spoiled it for you) from Steve Buscemi (playing a stereotypical gearhead techie who's got the low down) is eerily reminiscent of the similar but infinitely better executed sequence between Harrison Ford and Sean Young in Blade Runner.

Yes by all means, let's roll as many science fiction movies from the past few decades as we can into one and then turn it all into a video game.

Bay would no doubt spout aphorisms such as "It's a film about the human spirit" or "about the dangers of corporate greed."  Normally I'd be down for that sort of thing.  Questions such as "do clones have the same rights as human beings?" are part and parcel of what we're all about at ESE.  

Except they never really get around to those concepts.

It's all about the 'splodey action with chases down highways, car crashes, and improbable physics with the sign for a corporate logo on the side of a building.  That's another matter.  As stated previously, the nefarious villains of this picture are a corporation that will stop at nothing to make cash, up to and especially including growing human beings just to be gutted for their organs.

But cash is exactly what this thing is after.  This is no commentary on the human condition and any pretenses to are just that.  This is an MTV-styled piece of CGI candyfloss (Bay at his best...or worst, depending on your view) with so many product placements that it borders on laughable.

Who am I kidding?  It crossed the border a good 20 miles back.

This is just so bad.




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