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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look42.36%
Average: 15.97%
Pretty Bad: 18.06%
Total Crap: 12.5%

10 reviews, 84 user ratings

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Island, The (2005)
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by brianorndorf

"Michael Bay doing what he does best: ruining cinema"
1 stars

While the talk around the sewing circle has been that Michael Bay is taking a bold creative leap forward with “The Island,” don’t believe a word of it. A rotten slice of summer movie entertainment, “The Island” is the same old Bay, blowing up random objects, and photographing everything like a deodorant commercial. Without the light touch of Ewan McGregor, I dare not think how awful this film might’ve been.

Living in a pristine, tightly monitored future world underground, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor, eagerly giving his all to a fruitless cause) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson, looking justifiably confused most of the time) are close friends looking forward to their chance to leave their claustrophobic home and head to an unidentified island where they will find peace and joy. As the years go by, Lincoln becomes curious as to just how far his world goes, and when he probes deep enough, he learns a terrifying secret about his society. This revelation about the real purpose of the island forces him to quickly mount an escape with Jordan, finding hitmen (lead by Djimon Hounsou and featuring lots of bearded stuntmen) and his questionably loyal counselor (Sean Bean, who else?) hot on their trail.

By now, my distaste for Michael Bay has been well established. Ever since his debut with 1995’s “Bad Boys” (a reasonable movie only because he had a small budget), Bay has been on a mission to anesthetize his audience with action movie overkill. Sure, there’s an appetite for his nonsense, and he would be the first person to remind you of his box office totals, but the damage he’s inflicted on the modern action movie aesthetic is criminal.

“The Island” is Bay’s attempt to broaden his horizons, for it features, on the glistening outside at least, a snazzy script stuffed with sci-fi intrigue and paranoia (think “Parts: the Clonus Horror” meets “THX 1138”), a cast featuring beloved dramatic actors, and a break from his usual partner-in-crime, producer Jerry Bruckheimer. These are great ingredients, but you could give Bay Shakespeare, or even a simple Kool-Aid commercial, and the man would mess it up. Contrary to how it appears, “The Island” is the same overdirected mess that Bay has been serving up for 10 years now, only this time disguised as a creative leap forward.

For the opening 40 minutes, “Island” stays remarkably calm. Bay is looking to construct the crystalline, ordered world of Lincoln and Jordan with wide open sets, crisp cinematography (by Mauro Fiore), and the always game McGregor and Johansson, and he almost gets it right. But Bay being Bay, too much of this “future” looks like a Labor Day party at the Playboy Mansion, complete with neon lighting, bikini babes and designer drinks. The opening act sets up Lincoln’s revelation about his home, and I’ll admit, I was gripped, if only because nothing in this area of the film required me to watch glass shatter or plug my ears from all the explosions. Unfortunately, that peaceful feeling doesn’t last for long.

Once Lincoln and Jordan make a break for it, and escape their underground campus, Bay tosses away his mask of cinematic growth, affixes his horns and tail, and lets rip with the most extravagant and disturbingly frantic action sequences he’s come up with to date (and that’s saying something after the free-for-all mentality of the icky “Bad Boys II”). Taking to the streets, the skies, and the skyscrapers of future Los Angeles, Bay wants to decimate everything is his path. He almost succeeds too, with roaring special effects making sure not one frame is left untouched with debris. We watch as a calm freeway becomes a bowling alley for construction gear, the skies turn into a roller coaster as Lincoln tries to master controls of a flying motorcycle, and buildings tall as the eye can see come crashing to the ground, taking every conceivable item in the area down with it. And in traditional Bay fashion, all this is captured with a violently shaky camera and hyper-editing, never allowing the audience a chance to fully see what they are expected to swallow. I’ve never seen a filmmaker so maniacally delighted with chaos and confusion in my life.

Now that Bay has shot his wad with this mid-movie excursion into stunts and glass-shattering, “The Island” settles down and gets back to the plot, but what’s there waiting for the audience isn’t worth the carnage or endless noise. While conceptually fun, what awaits Lincoln and Jordan isn’t all that noteworthy. “Island” ends just like any episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” with the good guy vs. the bad guy in a fight to the death, and a bad guy becoming a good guy because he has a moral problem with how the bad guys do business. Heck, “The Island” could’ve used Chuck Norris at this point, because watching actor Djimon Hounsou try to emote anything except jaw-clenching concentration is brutal.

Often photographed like a car commercial (Bay loves his fast toys), and featuring an appalling amount of not-hidden-in-the-least-bit product placement (taking the title away from “Goldmember”), “The Island” ends up looking like every other Bay motion picture, which is to say that it’s almost completely unredeemable.

Given this grand opportunity to prove himself outside of flipping cars, deals with the local glass merchants, and casting his Playmate girlfriends, Bay just blindly goes through the summer extravaganza motions once again. Maybe this time the audience won’t be so eager to follow him down his ludicrously bombastic path.

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originally posted: 07/22/05 14:19:35
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User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell decent no more no less 3 stars
12/29/12 Man Out Six Bucks Libertarian Logan's Run vs. a really, really big fan blade 4 stars
12/17/09 Philip It was okay, I agree completely that the first half was awesome.. 4 stars
3/06/09 Elaine My favorite movie!! I love everything about it. Cast is amazing and the story is fantastic! 5 stars
12/02/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
7/11/08 Mr. Christian Notable for its viewpoint.Hardcore sci-fi coated in action.Good attention to detail. 4 stars
2/08/08 Anthony Feor Bay delivers his estounding visual effects. If only more time was spent on the script. 3 stars
9/17/07 David Graham probably bays best film yet 5 stars
5/27/07 kitfo plot premiseundeveloped, the chase scene made me laugh, Buscemi phoned it in: a total waste 2 stars
5/26/07 Jim Better than I expected 4 stars
5/20/07 fools♫gold Has too many funny and even clever moments for me to give italowerrating. AT LEAST an 8/10. 4 stars
4/22/07 Jamie Jones I love the movie. The set is amazing and the cars are sweet. 4 stars
4/18/07 David Pollastrini Scarlett Looks hot in this! 3 stars
3/20/07 Stanley Thai Such a great popcorn film. It even has a great mysterious story. 4 stars
2/09/07 The chode Not bad, worth the rental. 4 stars
2/06/07 Matt Okay at times, but overall thoroughly ho-hum. 3 stars
1/05/07 jerg Not bad, but too flawed and familiar, Bay bullshit etc. 3 stars
11/06/06 Anne I enjoyed it. Great if you don't analyse it too much 4 stars
10/16/06 Steve Newman Great plot, not bad acting, film was 20 minutes too long 4 stars
10/03/06 annoymous whoever Lybarger is no offence but you obviously don't see many movies. your a dick!!! 4 stars
8/23/06 Anastasia Beaverhausen Entertaining, if you don't think about it too much 4 stars
8/22/06 Jill Great - not properly marketed as the fun sci-fi it is 4 stars
5/11/06 Yusuf Cassim Great plot with unlimited suspence! 5 stars
5/08/06 Doxiegal Utterly dull, derivative and brainless. 2 stars
4/25/06 Mer Hathaway i enjoyed it 5 stars
4/10/06 Blair Luvs it 5 stars
4/04/06 Mike great,loved it,good action packed film. 5 stars
4/01/06 island it rules 5 stars
4/01/06 Nobody Exciting with great FX (especially truck scene!) 4 stars
3/14/06 Eileen a little bit fun, not great 3 stars
3/09/06 Dk Bay has finely grown up and made a good movie 4 stars
3/08/06 Quigley the action was good, but it was nothing new. what killed it was the mood and the LENGTH! 3 stars
2/27/06 Doug Good, but action sequences were over the top 4 stars
2/27/06 Steven Lewis It's like Equilibrium + THX1138 + 6th Day. 3 stars
2/06/06 Anthony Feor Very good movie 4 stars
1/17/06 Indrid Cold Looks great + some good action + a passable script = above average 4 stars
1/05/06 me nothing great or terrible 4 stars
1/01/06 baba booey das a good movie. 5 stars
12/29/05 tony Done well with extremly styalized action! This ones a keeper! 4 stars
12/28/05 Taylor Fladgate worth a rental...makes you think! 3 stars
12/26/05 zhivago interesting take on future society, LOTS of prod. placement 5 stars
12/17/05 Caiphn A movie that tapers off into something simply awful. 2 stars
12/14/05 Jeff Anderson More entertaining & better than you would expect from Michael Bay! Buscemi STANDS OUT! 5 stars
12/04/05 Zigga Product Placement like a mother fucka!...good lord! 4 stars
11/24/05 noops some unbeleivable scenes... still ok 4 stars
11/22/05 Kurtis J. Beard Acting is weak - w/ exception to Buscemi. Story is all too familiar. Bay sucks! 2 stars
11/16/05 Sam sucks 1 stars
10/27/05 Michael Kondo this movie was not even close to good, my friend found it bearable though 2 stars
10/27/05 deadwiz Fun action, tipical Micheal Bay film. 3 stars
10/23/05 Aksentiy Gula I think this is the greatest movie aver espesialy that scarlet johansson in the movie 5 stars
9/21/05 Eric Fortune This movie was bad. I'm glad I saw it at the cheap theater. 2 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes please, for the love of God, somebody kill off Micheal Bay!!! 1 stars
9/09/05 Clayton A bit trying at times, but Ewan and Scarlett made it all worth while. 4 stars
9/07/05 y2mckay a mish mash of better sci fi movies, but some good chases. Drags on 30 minutes too long. 3 stars
8/29/05 ES Surprise, this movie had much more thought & detail in it than first assumed = pretty good 4 stars
8/26/05 JamesBorges pretty entertaining, dont know why it did so bad 4 stars
8/23/05 Alyson This movie was great. No idea why it flopped. Two Ewans<3<3<3<3 5 stars
8/20/05 malcolm MC Duncan wasted. not enough space to list movies borrowed from-matrix,coma,blade runner 4 stars
8/16/05 Quigley ewan and scarlett are great. cliqued, but entertaining. scarlett was drop-dead hot, man! 4 stars
8/15/05 Frenzy Realy not bad 4 stars
8/13/05 John Bale With references to 1984, Brazil, and The Matrix. Good chase sequences keep you from boredom 4 stars
8/09/05 Bubba Fish The best action-packed sci-fi thriller since Minority Report 5 stars
8/07/05 Aaron McGraw Not too shabby 4 stars
8/06/05 Greg Ursic I must have seen a different movie as I really enjoyed this one 4 stars
8/06/05 Kurt Birusingh Good idea squandered. 3 stars
8/05/05 carl no brainer fun 5 stars
8/03/05 DARRYL LAMBERT, SR a great movie from start to finish. I will definitely be willing to see this again. 5 stars
8/01/05 Maalstrom Somewhat bland. Failed to excite me at all. 2 stars
7/29/05 Green Gremlin An updated version of "Logan's Run" with elements of "The Truman Show" and "Coma" 4 stars
7/27/05 jcjs so entertaining, fun, fast, a delight..Johansson, too 5 stars
7/26/05 Naka Booo. Great idea, typical shitcan Michael Bay execution. Skip it. 1 stars
7/26/05 Spednik Drlathlan A movie set in 2019 and the hottest cars they have are trickedout Mercedes and Chyslers?? 3 stars
7/25/05 Suke Rehashed plot, pretty uninspired attempt. Sci-Fi is in deep space right now. 3 stars
7/25/05 Mike Madryga An entertaining and, at times, thought-provoking movie. Decent. 4 stars
7/25/05 Balls MacGee Bay should be severely chastized for not letting Scarlet show her boobs. 1 stars
7/25/05 Frank Newhouse It was...ok..too much hype and advertisment for a shallow popcorn movie..tight effects tho. 3 stars
7/25/05 Bill Pryor MTV science fiction. I wasn't expecting much and didn't get much. 2 stars
7/24/05 KingNeutron Damn, I was looking fwd to this; but: SLOPPY STORYTELLING!! Some good parts tho. 3 stars
7/24/05 Josh Loved the first half, enjoyed the second half, gawked at the stitches holding on the ending 4 stars
7/24/05 Bobby The Squid Fun, but way too much product placement. Why are all cars in the future 2005-6 models? 3 stars
7/23/05 Kristina Williams it was ok 4 stars
7/21/05 Emily Damn you Michael Bay!!! I should have known! 1 stars
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  22-Jul-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Dec-2005



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