Newest Review: ... The biggest problem with the plot from my point of view is that there are some scenes where in reality nobody would survive but they e... more
Is The Island Too Good to Be True? [Film-Only review]
The Island  (DVD)
Member Name: tinkerbell18
The Island  (DVD)
Advantages: Good basic plot, great lead roles
Disadvantages: Pads itself out with far too much action
The film is set in an isolated, futuristic compound, where everything in the community is closely monitored - from communication with the other sex, down to nutrient content in their urine. Everything is very clean and very ordered, and there are strict rules to follow. The inhabitants of the facility have been told that they are survivors of a global contamination, meaning that life outside the facility is impossible. Impossible, except for a little island that has managed to escape the contamination - and where the facility inmates can win a place through a weekly random lottery. Too good to be true? Perhaps. The story focus' on Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor), who seems to be a bit of a non-conformist from the start, who begins to experience dreams that don't match his memory. This leads him to question his life in the facility - and even the existence of the fabled Island. Along for the ride is Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson), who gets picked to go to the Island - until Lincoln decides to intervene. The pair soon discover the real purpose of the facility they are in, and set out to try and expose it. All the while, they are dodging henchman sent by the head of the facility, Dr Merrick (Sean Bean). Will they be able to escape the facility and expose the truth? Or will they get sent to the Island?
Now I must admit, I only really wanted to see this film because it has two of my favourite actors in it (Ewan McGregor and Sean Bean). From the trailers, it seemed like your typical action movie - lots of running and lots of explosions. I don't mind that too much, but at one point it seemed that all that was going on was a great big chase, a heck of a lot of explosions and shooting - and a lot of marking from me. I perhaps should have expected it, but it felt like a little too much and a little pointless in the end. What I did enjoy (which I'm sure a few people would agree with me on this) is the twist in the story. It does occur relatively early on, but there are a few smaller twists to keep you guessing throughout the film. If you've heard anything about the film, like I had, you may roughly know what part of the twist is - but you will still get a bit of a surprise, which is good. It almost makes up for the overload in action, but not quite.
The casting is pretty typical. A beautiful woman (Scarlett Johansson), who isn't bad at the action, and an equally good-looking Scotsman in the other lead (okay, the Scottish part may not be as typical). There is some good chemistry between them, but for most of the film the boundaries of a strong friendship stay in place, and the chemistry just seems like part of their friendship, rather than an attraction (which will make more sense when you watch the film and understand why it is like that). Sean Bean is (unfortunately - sob) the 'bad guy' of the film. I always find myself hoping he may be a good guy, but 9 times out of 10 (unless watching Sharpe), he isn't all that wonderful. His role is a lot less action, and a lot more administrative and calm. He plays it awfully well, and it was a refreshing change to the rest of the film - he preferred to get hired guns do the work than him. And it's nice to see that the Yorkshire accent survives the end of the world!
The acting from the lead characters is as I expected really - well portrayed, and your a-typical heroine, hero and bad guy. There is some incredible acting from Ewan McGregor that goes beyond the usual lead in a movie - but unfortunately I can't say more about it without spoiling it! The only thing I will say is that his lovely Scottish accent makes an appearance (as you may be able to tell from this, I have a thing for certain accents!).
Overall, I think that the initial plot of this film is really clever. There are twists and turns, some perhaps expected, some not so much. Also, the underlying plot to the film is quite relevant to today and progressions in science, and could raise some really interesting questions and debates. It is just a big shame that it is padded with so much action - I don't mind action, but like I said, it felt like padding. It wasn't really necessary, and the first half of the film (almost) was much more of a thriller; this worked so much better in my opinion. If the film had stuck to this theme, I'd happily include it in a science lesson on ethics (oh yes), but it just gets too carried away and off the topic it seemed to start with. I'll give a warning that there are some gruesome parts, which probably gives it its classification of 12. I would recommend watching it before showing it to a 12 year old, just because I feel some of the themes or scenes may be a little too disturbing.
Summary: A good idea in principle, but is spoilt