ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Chris Bond

Island, The

Movie Poster reviewer: Chris Bond
directed by: Michael Bay
written by: Caspian Tredwell-Owen and Alex Kurtzman
starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean
genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
released: 12th August 2005

By now you will have read many a review of Michael Bay’s latest. A large number of these reviews have spent time condemning him for crimes against movies. Certainly Pearl Harbor and Bad Boys 2 are pretty convincing evidence (although, despite its short-comings, Pearl Harbor was beautifully shot), but The Rock, Armageddon and Bad Boys show that he knows how to excite an audience looking for undemanding action. For critics, The Island won't change any opinions of this style of film making. For everyone else, this is Bay’s best film since The Rock.

The Island is a typical Michael Bay movie; loud, full of action and beautiful to look at (especially the gorgeous Scarlett Johansson). The first 30 or so minutes appear to shows sign of a more ‘mature’ Bay as we look at the highly regulated and controlled lives of Ewan McGregor and Johansson. However, the film quickly leavs any idea of delving too far into the intellectual world, abandoning any real examination of the ethics of cloning or the lives of the close, and throws everything into the action.

In some ways this is a shame. Cloning is not a new subject matter for films but it is a highly contemporary and contentious issue, and with a great cast Bay probably could have spent more time delving and less time on the action (which does drag on for too long). Instead, he sticks to what he knows and, McGregor and Johansson are left just having to look dumb, confused and pretty (although both are allowed to offer some subtlety to their acting when the action takes a rest).

If you watch The Island expecting Bay to have drastically changed his directing then you will be left disappointed. Critics will complain that it is too dumb (although most of it just sounds horribly whiny now), whilst everyone else looking for good action will feel leaving satisfied. When it comes to beautiful and entertaining Hollywood action, this is as good as it gets.