Reel Reviews

Film Reviews by a Real Person, Not a Critic

The Island

Title: The Island
Year: 2005
Director: Michael Bay
Starring Cast: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean
Rated: R

Reel Reviews Rating:

Every time I hear the name of this movie I think of that one weird Simpsons episode where Homer creates a website and finds out information that lands him on a mysterious island (with tropical animals and pandas with harlequinn masks) that he can’t escape. From then on, every time I say the name of this movie, I have to say with a Lisa Simpson voice, “The Island”.

But I digress.

The Island is your classic, typical summer blockbuster directed by that guy who loves to blow stuff up, Michael Bay. There are explosions, shoot outs, car chases, fistfights, love scenes- all the trappings of an action film. Yet strangely when it came out this past summer, it bombed. How come? Is it deserving of such harsh treatment by people?
Let’s find out.

The story is set in the seemingly distant future. You can always tell it’s the future when everyone is wearing identical white jumpsuits. Apparently, something catastrophic happened on Earth, forcing its survivors to live underground. At the same time however, folks can get the chance to live on the last habitable place above ground, simply known as “The Island”. By winning some sort of lottery, a person can pack his bags, leave the bowels of the earth, and spend the rest of his life on some sunny beach and swim in the clear, blue sea.

Of course, as anyone who has ever seen ANY science fiction film will tell you, there is a lot more to this island than these citizens think.

Ewan McGregor plays Lincoln Six Echo, a guy who grows bored of the monotony of his life under the earth. He questions why he has to wear the same white jumpsuit every day, why he can’t eat certain foods, and what his job is really about. Naturally, every hero needs a heroine on his side. This case, it’s Jordan Two Delta, played by the glowing and gorgeous Scarlett Johansson. Together, they uncover the secrets behind the island, but at their own peril.

Ya know, I actually liked The Island. Sure, it’s got a predictable plot. Hell, it rips off elements from The Matrix and about a million other sci fi movies. At the same time, there’s a slight twist to it. Somehow, the plot becomes a social commentary that makes you question biotechnology in the real world. Sure it’s a typical Michael Bay movie with the car chases and explosions. And yes, it was really long. What’s up with Bay making these long ass movies nowadays? But the thing is that this movie was fun to watch.

There was nothing wrong with the acting. Ok, it was pretty clear that Ewan McGregor struggled a lot with maintaining an American accent. Unlike most of his fellow UK actors, McGregor just can’t get it right*. Still, I have always thought of him as a great actor and liked his performance in The Island. Johansson was pretty good too, but like most heroine sidekicks, she wasn’t really given a lot to work with in her role. She gets to shoot a gun once or twice, but really- most of the time she’s just running alongside Ewan’s character as they try to escape the bad guys.

So, I don’t really know why The Island tanked at the box office. The plot was predictable but still had enough of a twist to keep you interested, the acting was good, and it was an action packed movie that came out in the summer. I think one of the reasons was the confusing marketing. When I first started seeing posters for this, I didn’t understand what the hell it was for. I didn’t even know it was for a sci fi movie. Perhaps people stayed away when they found out it was a Michael Bay movie. I don’t know. It’s a shame really, because I thought it was pretty good. Not nearly as good as the awesome Batman Begins, but nowhere near as bad as the supreme suckfest that was The Fantastic Four.

If you didn’t catch The Island in theaters this summer, go rent it.

*For other Ewan McGregor films in which he attempts an American accent, check out Nightwatch, Down With Love, Big Fish, and Robots.

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December 31, 2005 - Posted by | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi


  1. 3.5.. i guess thats about it.. it was interesting at start but then it got boring. the concept seems to far fetched but guess its not that bad. not for someone who’s not into the whole future thing.

    Comment by Fashion Guru | August 18, 2006 | Reply

  2. Now I love Scarlett Johanssen, and I think she is pretty hot, but being named sexiest woman alive by Esquire is going a little overboard. She’s a more normal average looking girl, and that is what I love about her.

    Comment by mr skin | October 14, 2006 | Reply

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