First, it must be said that The Island is not, repeat NOT a sequel to Leonardo DiCaprio's The Beach. Okay, now that that's out of the way, on to the review!
The place; a small, seemingly utopian society. The time; the near future. All aspects of life are carefully controlled by the system. Having survived a global contamination, those left now work inside an environmentally controlled community. They all await transport to "The Island", an uncontaminated paradise awarded through televised lottery drawing, where they can retire from their hard work within the system. The populace is happy, healthy, and peaceful... that is, as long as they follow the rules and don't ask complicated questions for which there are no simple answers. One such inquisitive citizen is Lincoln Six Echo, played by Ewan McGregor. Lincoln 6 E soon discovers that curiosity can do much more than kill the cat.
The set-up should sound familiar to most sci-fi fans. The plotline of The Island is derived from many other futuristic movies. There are shades of THX-1138, Gattaca, Metropolis, 1984 and especially Logan's Run. In fact, The Island is essentially an updated remake of Logan's Run. (Don't tell X-Men's Bryan Singer, who is currently working on a proper, literal remake, due in theatres next year!)
The one thing that The Island has over similar films is an incredible amount of breathtaking cliffhanger-style action, courtesy of director Michael Bay. Say what you will about his body of work, but when it comes to staging exciting chase sequences, few directors do it better than Bay. Bay was a brilliantly inspired choice to direct, mainly because The Island actually includes some thought provoking, though simplistic ideas behind the action. Taken together, they produce a lot of fun moments.
Aside from its resemblance to Logan's Run, other plot twists and turns in the story are best left undivulged here. Without giving anything more away, I will say that The Island does feature fine acting from Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, and the always entertaining Steve Buscemi. The visual effects are also very well done, never appearing unrealistic or overly futuristic. I applaud Bay for his surprising restraint in this regard!
So, don't let its non-descriptive title or confusing trailers fool you. (In fact, if you can, avoid seeing the trailers altogether.) If you're a fan of science fiction, The Island should prove to be a solid thrill ride.
Directed By: Michael Bay
Written By: Caspian Tredwell-Owen (story)
Caspian Tredwell-Owen and Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (screenplay)
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean,
Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ethan Phillips
MPAA: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexuality and language.
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