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The Island Reviews

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July 20, 2014
I was disappointed I could not remember ever hearing about this movie. It was a good solid movie with an interesting twist.
July 17, 2014
Great entertainment. A loud scary frighteningly plausible masterpiece of explosive harrowing entertainment. One of Michael's best movies, this one was pure guts and brawn and lots of fun all the way around, it rocked my world and I look forward to watching it again.
July 15, 2014
As with his later effort pain and gain, The Island is Michael Bay's most profound movie, but doesn't know if it want to be a cerebral sci fi film or a dumb action film.
April 24, 2013
Outside of THE ROCK, this is probably the best film that Michael Bay has done to date. Is it a great movie? Not especially, but it's about the best you can ask for when all of the typical Michael Bay elements are mixed together with a concept and story that, while borrowing heavily from previous sci-fi films, is still somewhat intelligent and thought-provoking. The story is about a man (Ewan McGregor) who lives inside a utopian facility when, one day, he figures out that he and the other inhabitants are just being used to harvest organs. He also escapes with a woman (Scarlett Johansson) who is about to be sent to "The Island." The whole movie is basically set up to be a series of chase sequences, but it works because the concept is interesting enough and you care enough to want to find out what is going on, and why. For the most part, Michael Bay was on his best behavior here when it came to his sense of "humor." There were some stereotype characters here and there, but nothing as pervasive as what would follow in his Transformers series. By now, his visual style was well-established, but it still wasn't so chaotic that you couldn't tell what was going on in any given frame. The performances were decent, and nobody stuck out as being really bad. I thought Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson did good work as the two leads, and Sean Bean made for a nice villain. Djimon Hounsou also did a good job as a bounty hunter on the trail of the two lead characters, and who also has a nice character arc. Returning back to the visuals, there was more CGI than in past Michael Bay films, but nothing too over-the-top or excessive. There was also a fair amount of practical effects work and plenty of well-done explosions (for those are into that sort of thing). Granted, these type of movies often push the bounds of suspension of disbelief when it comes to the relationship with physical reality, but it was still entertaining on a visceral level. The score by Steve Jablonsky and Hans Zimmer was also pretty good, and accentuated the visuals and action quite nicely. However, one thing that became much more clear to me while watching this is that Michael Bay is basically an assembly-line director. There are certain elements which always be in movies that he makes. Some of them, like his chaotic camerawork and penchant for explosions are fine in moderation while others, like his voyeuristic obsession with the female form and juvenile sense of humor, would be better if left out entirely. Thankfully, there's not too much here in terms of the latter two. Also, like a lot of summer blockbusters, there's an obligatory romantic subplot. Yes, I lament that nearly all action movies have to shoehorn this element in, but I thought it was handled tastefully here, and not just there for the sake of being there. Overall, this is most fun I've had watching a Michael Bay movie, outside of THE ROCK. In fact, I'd say that those two are tied for my favorite. The story is engaging, even if derivative, and the action keeps things moving along at a good clip such that I didn't feel the 135 minute run time as much. There's something here, even for people who don't quite take to Michael Bay's style, and it's a pretty good sci-fi/action movie to boot.
V.J. Dax
July 12, 2014
This film is chiefly notable for two things: it was the last (somewhat) thoughtful film Bay's done before he settled into his Transformers career path (though Pain and Gain might signify a comeback) and it was a complete rip-off of a 1980's Clonus Horror, the studio losing 13 million when the latter's creators proved 90+ similarities in a lawsuit. The film tanked even before the lawsuit, though: to me, very deservedly.

The dialogue here is a marked step-down from Pearl Harbor (which wasn't that great either). If Affleck and Beckinsale's lines in that film were rather unpredictable, if not always good, here the dialogue is bland and lacks impact. The supposed moral ambiguity is weak: Lincoln's buyer is an unsympathetic, materialistic jerk, the daughter of Delta's client appears too briefly to have much impact. Sean Bean gives it his best as Merrick, but his character is obviously in it for the money and for the power trip, lacking any redeeming characteristics.

Death of a clone used as a surrogate mother is the only well-shot death in the film: it is hard to watch poison course through the drip, her ankles held by the nurse as she helplessly expires. All other deaths are quick, clinical and predictable. At the climax, Merrick literally pulls a Disney and falls down the shaft; apparently, Bay thought main characters shouldn't get their hands dirty at all. Plus, for a supposedly "thoughtful" blockbuster, all deaths are forgotten after the act. Black sportsman's clone is the exception: we are reminded of him when a poster of his client is shown once in the city, but the actual death is clichéd and unbelievable: he actually wakes up during surgery and manages to run off into the corridor before getting dragged in, which just looks stupid.

Product placement is not too frequent, but immediately obvious: during a virtual boxing scene, Xbox's logo is in sight for at least 5 minutes. Early on, an ally of our heroes is shot on train station in plain sight by hired mercs, yet the police don't care at all. In the film's biggest action scene, a truck, several cars and a flying jetbike thing are blown up in a true Bay fashion (another jetbike gets hijacked by protagonists) on an open highway in front of hundreds of witnesses, again with no consequences. Finally, an emergency ladder to the hospital leads to a hatch underneath a tile in the midst of a corridor, with the people who built the place apparently oblivious to it.

The film does impress with its high production values and the leads act well too, but overall, it's hardly worth a watch.
Tommy Wiseau
July 11, 2014
Surprisingly a pretty decent effort from Michael Bay. The script and dialogue didn't make me want bash my head in; so that's a plus!
July 9, 2014
A man living in a facility that houses the last of the earths population discovers that all is not as it seems and that he and the rest of his fellow man may be clones. Great, edge of your seat action with a story and cast that is hardly contained in this thriller that will keep you on edge until the closing credits. Thumbs up.
June 29, 2014
Logan's Run meets In Time meets The Sixth Day. Dumb as hell.
July 22, 2010
This was an interesting movie. It was a cool sci-fi adventure film that I had fun watching. now this isn't perfect but I liked the concept and the action was just bad ass. I loved the action part more than the beginning. I felt very confused until they unraveled everything in the end. It was pretty cool. Not bad but I was expecting a bit more from it, but what I did get was entertaining. This was also a long movie! It felt like it was never going to end! But oh well.
June 28, 2014
Before I have everyone storming my house, let me say this: THE ISLAND is the closest Michael Bay has EVER come to directing a film that has not only a strong narrative but a very intelligent and admittedly thought-provoking science fiction film. Now, it's not really any of that but oh, how it could have been. I understand the hate most audiences have towards nearly all of Bay's films but with this one (and ARMAGEDDON) is where I gotta take the offensive side and argue FOR this film. Yes, it ultimately falls short on what it wanted to deliver on but it still managed to deliver on some unexpected moments of true entertainment and seeds of interesting, possibly great sci-fi.
The performances by the core group of actors are surprisingly impressive as Ewan McGregor really does well with his character and makes the slightly underwritten characters soar just enough but the real scene stealer is Michael Clarke Duncan who not only has the most emotionally resonating character but also adds a great element of true horror in the very limited number of scenes he's in.
Why this film was so lambasted, as believed by Michael bay (and myself I will gladly admit) is because of the piss-poor marketing campaign this film was given. If you haven't seen the film I implore you to not see a single trailer or look up a synopsis because they all give away the core twist/conflict in the film. By the time the movie was completed, the studio was unsure of how to market it as it felt like two very different films, so they decided to lure people not with suspense of what could be wrong with the "Island" in question but instead entice them by telling them flat out what exactly is wrong with that island. It ruined the film's sense of mystery and overall flow that when it ultimately shifts from sci-fi thinker to mindless actioner the entire audience doesn't feel it's warranted to switch in such a manner. As the film is, I felt the ideas although to fully developed really show that Bay was interested in creating a different type of film in the beginning. Unfortunately the second part was just regular Bayhem but that first half was more than impressive for me as I saw what Bay could do when he's slowing down. It's not the greatest film and it's not even Bay's best but it is definitely an unjustly hated film which deserves a second chance. RATING: B-
June 25, 2014
Good story, no logical inconsistencies. A thrilling ride for any movie buff. Could have been predictable at times. For example, in one of the opening scenes, Michael Bay shows Michael Clarke Duncan winning the "Lottery" or a "trip to the island." Anytime a black person is winning something, clearly the game is rigged or he's not really winning at all, lol (yeah i went there, cry about it). This was apparent, even before Ewan McGregor's escape/revelation scene. I did like Djimon Hounsou's character development from a mindless paid-gun, to a passionate, empathetic soldier. Scarlett Johansson played a perfect clone, so daft to the actual plight in which she and her fellow clones faced (not to mention beautiful as always). At least in this movie Sean Bean makes it to the end. All the actors eerily fit the roles perfectly, so good job to the casting director as well.
June 17, 2014
One of the better films to come from explosion enthusiast Michael Bay, The Island is a film of two halves, the first one just about grasping similar ideas from before, the second blowing everything up and going overboard on shaky cam and lens flare. It bares traits that every single Bay film has, but it just about manages to quell the explosions and provide a smidgen of human drama.
June 16, 2014

A surprisingly smart and inventive dystopian drama with good performances and superb action, The Island perfectly blends legitimately thought-provoking themes and ideas with the nonstop thrills of a Michael Bay action flick.
June 9, 2014
I really liked this movie - it was exciting, touching, full of breath-taking action scenes and great special effects! :)
June 7, 2014
Horribly stupid. Too bad, too, since the art direction, cast, and concept had promise. The movie must've made millions in product placement.
October 22, 2008
This was described somewhere as "a Michael Bay movie that isn't horrible." I was curious what that would be like, plus: Scarjo. It delivered on not being horrible. Though it got very Michael Bay-y in the second half, and some details annoyed me, as details tend to do if not done properly.
Not safe for Liz in the first act due to eye stuff and a moth. I think the rest is clear other than, you know. . . it's this movie.
Jeff L

Super Reviewer

June 3, 2014
There is nothing redeeming about The Island. Does anyone actually need all the hand holding that Bay tries to breast feed us? Isn't there a more subtle way to carry the plot along than what we get here? And for goodness sake, I'm all for willing suspension of disbelief, but can't we get movies where every second of survival doesn't depend on some lucky twist of fate? How does this stuff sell?
Neo A.
June 1, 2014
I know this is an old movie but just happened to see it now. Don't know how I passed this up because it was surprisingly good science fiction movie!! Compared to Michael Bay's recent Transformers movies which are mainly about explosions and action with little story involved, this one is tamer but still has good action and story. Even though it's set in 2019, and it's 2014 now, we are nowhere close to looking like the world that's portrayed in the movie. We do have the vehicles that start with just a press of the thumbprint but the flying motorcycles are still pretty far off even though it's cool! I'm a sci-fi fan and think this movie was underrated and deserves a higher rating than it has here. There hasn't been much quality sci-fi movies in recent years and this one is high on my list with well done effects and Ewan/Scarlett worked great together. My other top sci-fi films are Equilibrium, first 3 Aliens, Stargate, Matrix movies except the last one, Blade Runner, Species, Star Wars episode IV, V, and VI, Pitch Black, etc. So it's safe to say that I know which sci-fi movies are the great ones that you would watch over and over.
May 31, 2014
I actually missed the end of this movie! The last 10-20 minutes, woops.
But the rest, that I did watch, was great!
Angel Luvs Dogs
May 27, 2014
Intriguing plot, definitely held attention and interest. Great plot and acting. Generally, I'm not too fond of action type movies or things of a sci-fi, this was an exception. Definitely leaves you things to ponder...
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