August 8, 2022

Michael Bay is a director whose filmography is divisive to say the least. On the one hand, his early efforts resembling The Rock, Armageddon, and Dangerous Boys had been extraordinarily profitable on the field workplace. His Transformers movies, although nonetheless renown for his or her field workplace successes, have been critically panned. But there’s one movie that not often comes up when discussing Bay’s filmography: the 2005 science fiction thriller The Island.

The Island appears to be your customary post-apocalyptic science fiction setup. Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor) lives with a collective of different people in a secluded compound; he is instructed that the skin world has been rendered inhabitable aside from a mysterious island, and each day one of many collective’s member wins a lottery to journey to the island. Nonetheless, Lincoln and one other member Jordan Two-Echo (Scarlett Johansson) study a horrifying secret: there is no such thing as a island. They’re clones of the rich elite, and the “lottery” sees the clones spirited off to be organ donors for his or her doubles. Lincoln and Jordan go on the run, forcing the compound director Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean) to ship bounty hunter Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) after them.


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the island
Picture by way of DreamWorks Photos

The Island boasts one of many strongest ensembles Bay has ever labored with; it is solely dwarfed by Armageddon by way of dimension and star energy. (Armageddon alums Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi even have roles in The Island.) Most spectacular is the truth that almost each member of The Island’s forged was both part of or went to star in different style movies and TV exhibits. McGregor was coming off of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and is ready to reprise his function as Obi-Wan Kenobi subsequent month within the Disney+ restricted sequence named after the Jedi Grasp; he additionally starred because the villainous Black Masks in Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn. Johansson would go on to star as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow within the Marvel Cinematic Universe; Hounsou would be a part of her together with his function as Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel, in addition to the titular wizard in Shazam! Lastly, Bean had starred in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and would later go on to star as Ned Stark in Sport of Thrones. Eagle-eyed followers may also have the ability to spot Star Trek: Voyager alum Ethan Phillips as one of many clones.

The forged additionally will get to deliver their A-game, particularly since a few of them are actually enjoying two individuals. McGregor is the movie’s MVP; he performs Lincoln as rebellious and snarky – maybe to offer a deliberate distinction to his Obi-Wan efficiency. He additionally performs rich car producer Tom Lincoln; the scene the place each Lincolns meet one another is without doubt one of the few scenes the place Bay retains the digicam nonetheless, letting the gravity of the state of affairs settle in. Johansson’s flip as Jordan is basically a teen; she has no thought how the world works and is trusting of just about everybody – which ends up in some hectic chase scenes all through the movie. Honsou’s Laurent is terrifying at first since he pursues each clones with the dogged willpower of a bloodhound, however in time he involves sympathize with their plight – having gone by one thing related himself. And Bean’s flip as Dr. Merrick is the proper epitome of a god advanced. “I give life,” Merrick explains in a long-winded speech to Laurent, his depth rising as he dismisses the clones as little greater than merchandise on an meeting line.

the-island movie image
Picture by way of DreamWorks Photos

The Island can be Bay’s most cerebral movie; whereas “cerebral” and “Michael Bay” do not even sound like they belong in the identical sentence, the movie discusses themes of identification all through its run. Lincoln is stricken by what looks as if a sequence of unconnected goals; it is revealed that there was a defect in his cloning that permits him to retain his DNA donor’s reminiscences and explains his rebellious nature. And whereas Merrick may see the clones as little greater than merchandise, Jordan and Lincoln return to free their fellow clones from being euthanized – resulting in a climax the place your entire clone collective emerges into the skin world for the primary time. Whether or not intentional or unintentional, the Biblical symmetry to the story of Moses main his individuals out of Egypt cannot be denied.

Regardless of an excellent forged, a very good hook, and a confirmed director, The Island wound up being a field workplace bomb. A big a part of that was as a result of advertising and marketing, which did not point out the concept of clones and as an alternative relied on the standard “Bayhem” to try to draw moviegoers. Add in the truth that it was going through off in opposition to movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing facility and Marriage ceremony Crashers, and the writing was on the wall. And as if there wasn’t sufficient salt rubbed within the wound, Dreamworks and Warner Bros. discovered themselves slapped with a lawsuit by the producers of the 1979 movie Elements: The Clonus Horror on the grounds that Bay had roughly remade their movie with out permission. The case in the end ended up being settled out of court docket.

Regardless of its less-than-stellar theatrical run and authorized woes, The Island is price a watch. Its forged rises to the event, Bay truly leans into the extra horrific parts of the cloning revelation within the first half of the movie, and the motion is tempered by a narrative with heavy philosophical tones. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, who helped co-write the screenplay for The Island, would finally go on to write down Bay’s first two Transformers movies in addition to different sci-fi blockbusters together with J.J. Abrams‘s Star Trek and Mission: Inconceivable III. I hope that Bay can return to this type of movie at some point, because it’s proof that he would not have to limit himself to senseless motion.


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