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Landlocked Action Movie!
The Island  (DVD)
Member Name: T4imbo3107
The Island  (DVD)
Advantages: It raises a lot of ethical questions.
Disadvantages: Its far too long.
The films by Michael Bay can usually fall into two categories, either very good like the first Transformers film or going to the opposite extreme like the second Transformers movie, I find he does tend to go all out on the action sequences with little substance in-between that slows the film down immensely to such an extent that the film has a number of peaks and troughs throughout. One film of his that I did enjoy was The Island; the story is fresh with a twist that Bay takes to the logical extreme.
Set in the future, The Island sees the human race surviving on the brink of extinction due to a catastrophe taking place some years earlier which means the human race is living inside a singular complex. Life seems easy for the population which easily totals a 1000 in size, they are well looked after with their heath being the key focal point in their lives, although they seem to live day to day and have little recollection of life anywhere else. It's quite a strange environment that is sterile in nature, the main thing that is promised is relocation to The Island, and this is done by a lottery being held where a certain person is chosen to take the revered journey. The population gather in the an area that acts like a Town Square with the names chosen, however when the chosen ones are never seen again one of the population begins to suspect that something is a foot and begins his own investigation that leads him to discover a dark secret and a quite horrifying revelation as to who he is and what his destiny actually is.
The lead of the film is Ewan McGregor and he plays a character called Lincoln Six Echo, when you get over the fact that he is speaking with the limpest of American accents the actor does genuinely become part of the story. With the background that the population is kept in tip top condition McGregor does fit the part well. It's just strange to see him in a film of this type that in parts could be considered part horror for what is discovered throughout the film as it progresses. Co starring with McGregor is Scarlett Johannsen, I love this actress, in the film she plays McGregor's female companion, Jordan Two Delta. With her looks and her stature Johannsen has that screen presence that works well with McGregor. Due to the background of the characters they play both have that childish curiosity and ambience to them that is a vital characterisation in the story and therefore is an important part of the plot.
Backing up the lead actors are Sean Bean, who plays his character in his usual menacing style, that evokes a dangerous personality. Although given his role in the proceedings it does warranty a question as to what he is doing is ethical in nature. Also starring in the film is Steve Buscemi, a character who acts as a conduit and a guide as well as a confident to Lincoln. The film is split into two parts, the first being set inside the utopian society and the second being the consequences of Lincoln's investigations that see's him taking a journey of epic proportions that every step is epiphyses in nature with new discoveries taking place at nearly every turn. What surprised me was that the film started out at such a slow pace and yet managed to build up in tension and suspense till your literally on the edge of your seat siding with the right team to go the distance. Again I'm not felling happy saying much about the plot as the "discovery" made in the first third really does change the gravity of the film and turns the story on its head. I personally found the story to take on a greater scope and go up a gear with the early stages being the foundation, and it does answer all the questions as to why the population is being wrapped in cotton wool as well. The manner in which the questions are answered are spectacularly done in slow motion and yet quite gruesome to watch on-screen given who the witnesses are at the time it occurs.
Even though the film is set less than 10 years in the future, the future is depeicted in a rather positive manner that suits the story very well. Things do look different and they are more stylized than what we have at the moment, although its interesting to note that the product placement that is obvious at various parts of the film still relate to modern day products. Although this doesn't detract from the film itself, you do find that your eyes are led away at various points in the film and I tended to just catch a glimpse of some form of advertising. In some cases its done subtly, in other its completely full on and I suppose this depends on what that brand has paid to be included in the film and as you go through the film there are quite a few brands that get a mention or a visual tag, on the credits list at the end I was surprised to see as many as I did. However I think this is simply just a facet of modern cinema.
There are a number of action sequences that as Michael Bay is directing comes as an obligatory exercise involving high rise building and vast explosions. As the film proceeds these get bigger and bigger in nature and thankfully the climax that happens is a rather low key event, yet this is suspenseful to the extent that some old fashioned principals have been aired to bring the story back down to earth in quite a fascinating manner, although this has been done in everything from The Man From Uncle to Star Trek, its refreshingly presented given the different angles that Bay uses to project the tension. Bay has used a significant amount of lighting to make a bright film that seems to capture a lot of detail, especially in the close up where you see the reflection of the lights in the leads eyes. In fact this is a generic thing throughout the film as the colours are bright and stand out; it may seem a silly thing to say but the film does genuinely benefit from this. Especially with the soundtrack that has been added that compliments all parts of the story to emphasis the various pace of the respective scenes. The purists could easily compare this to the seventies release of Logan's Run, fair play as it does tend to have a rather large amount of comparisons and coincidental plot lines. However the film is taken to another level with the twist that has been placed in the second third of the film. However with this being a film by Michael Bay, reality has to be held back at the door and you just have to simply sit back and enjoy the ride and watch the story that is playing out in front of you. As I said earlier it does make you think as to where the Human Race may be going to elongate our lifetime.
Extras wise the disc has a lot less than I would have expected to have been made available. A singular documentary about the production of the film with sound bytes from the director and members of the cast talking about exactly why the film interested them and so on. This is the kind of stuff that you see on the TV and it's simply something that doesn't back the film up as much as I would expect it have. Although the film is the main thing that I bought it for anyway and just seeing the effort made to get the film looking very polished in nature of the presentation and is just a pleasure to watch, funnt thing is this is the same for extras on Blu-ray as well!
Overall the story is quite horrific in nature and by the end of the film you'll be asking yourself questions over the ethical points of whether the film is depicting a future where the services that have been shown in the film are science fiction or just the way the future is panned out to happen. Either way this is an ultimate pop corn movie that needs to be watched in one viewing rather than the elongated manner that this film is shown on ITV2 with commercial breaks every 20 minutes, and in a film that is 136 minutes in length means that a mandatory 40 minutes of adverts will be broadcast taking the running time up to nearly 3 hours!!
Summary: Brain in neutral... and away you go!