Written by: Paula Haifley, CC2K Horror Chick
Yes, I actually liked it. And I’m not lying. Much. Just Kidding.
I know what you’re thinking: Michael Bay, sci- fi film … Paula, why are you lying? You didn’t really like this movie, did you? Well I’m not, and I did. The Island took Clonus, a shitty ’70s film with a kick-ass premise and made it entertaining, despite overly shaky camera work and too much product placement (though not as much as the drunk guy at that party led me to believe).
Let’s talk plot. Ewan McGregor lives in a Logan’s Run-type facility, where everything’s white and clean and a computer tests your urine every day to make sure you’re eating correctly. Scarlett Johansson is his best friend. They don’t know about sex, or God, or the Red Sox because they’re clones living in a contained society, thinking that the outside world has been contaminated by war or pestilence or something else really bad. These clones are pulled out of their society by being told they’re going to "the island," the last remaining uncontaminated space on earth. Through a mix of curiosity and coincidence, Ewan discovers that he’s a clone, destined to be used for spare parts whenever his real world double needs them. And surprise surprise, he rescues Scarlett from her impending organ harvest and they escape into the real world. They don’t know how anything there works, which provides a few wan laughs between car chases, explosions, and lots and lots of running.
Let’s talk casting. Yes, Scarlett Johansson is dreamy. So are Ewan McGregor, Djimon Hounsou and Sean Bean, who puts in a great performance as a fairly stereotypical English villain/mad science guy. The best thing in the film however, is Steve Buscemi, a real-worlder working in the clone facility that befriends Ewan and helps him in his quest to be free. Let me pause and wipe a tear from my eye.
Well, the real best part of the film is Mark Christopher Lawrence as a beefy construction worker with a handfull of lines, but Steve comes in a very close second.
Let’s talk cinematography. Why does every action director think that by making a camera shaky, it pulls you into the action? I can’t tell what’s going on. I think that Ewan McGregor just punched that guy, but I’m not really sure. Maybe it was him punching himself. I go to the movies because I like to watch a story, not to see if I have any latent epileptic genes lurking in my DNA. The repeated use of lines like "Run!" and "Hold on!" doesn’t help me keep my popcorn down, although watching Ewan McGregor act with himself (as the real-worlder and his clone) is pretty awesome. He has chemistry with himself. Damn, that’s acting. Even though I’m generally against any McGregor film where he doesn’t get naked, I still liked this one.
While the sci-fi set up is pretty kick-ass, this is really just an enjoyable car chase, explosion and running around a lot movie. On the scale of Michael Bay movies, 1 being Armageddon/Pearl Harbor, and 10 being his role as "goon" on Miami Vice, I’d give this one a solid 11. If you can get past the uncontrollable giggle fit that will seize you when you see Scarlett’s character staring at her counterpart’s modeling gig, AKA the actual ads Scarlett did for Calvin Klein (and the fact that she learns what a kiss is by watching herself kiss a hunky CK model), chances are you’ll make it through this movie pleasantly entertained.