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The Island

Starring Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johannson, Djimon Hounsou
Screenplay by Caspian Tredwell-Owen and Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci
Based on a story by Tredwell-Owen
Directed by Michael Bay

The Island is:
Perfect SF
  Perfect Romance
  Perfect Action
Better than perfect. [Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some sexuality and language. 127 minutes]

SF, by our definition, can mean two things: Science Fantasy, in which worlds we won't see for centuries, but are seemingly routed in science fact and Science Fiction, in which the "reality" isn't that far off the mark from what is accomplishable in a foreseeable future. The future for The Island may be a hundred years off, but it's close enough for rock and roll and we never, not once, found our self thinking we were watching fantasy.

Considering the root of the story is the cloning of the human body -- a process already beginning to occur piecemeal -- the flying motorcycles you'll see (and so forth) are just the icing on the cake of a perfect [two hours] at the movies. We'll try not to use that "p" word again.

The world has been contaminated. The lucky live in a sterile environment in which every need is provided except for intimate connections which, think about it, will always contaminate something. As each resident of the city is decontaminated, and their memories restored, they take their place in the newly perfected civilization. In the case of Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor), who spends his time injecting nutrients into long strings of plastic tubing, Life is filled with Questions. Lots of Questions, all directed at the head of the Merrick Institute; city Founder, Merrick (Sean Bean). Merrick shows a special interest in Lincoln, the first of the most up-to-date "decontaminated survivors" labeled Echo-Level. Not only does Lincoln have questions, he's been having nightmares, which is why Merrick is paying more than the average attention.

The Biggest Question of Them All, and one which has to do with the only surviving outdoor Paradise left, called The Island, is "How fast can I get there if I win the Lottery?" Said Lottery runs throughout the film, with delirious winners like Virgil Starkweather (Michael Clarke Duncan) [and] packed off here and there and anxious inhabitants wishing on their own personal stars that they should be so lucky. Still, life is good, even as Lincoln sneaks into areas that he isn't allowed to enter -- in one is his friend McCord (Steve Buscemi), for want of better description call him a lower level techie -- and engineers forbidden meetings to talk with members of the opposite sex, specifically Jordan Two-Delta (Scarlett Johannson). Meetings can only lead to trouble. Trouble leads to Lincoln being declared contaminated. Fleeing the authorities kicks off a rest-of-the-movie chase that is as much fun as it is able to add important details to the background story.

That chase team is led by Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) throughout, and then outside, The City. Yep, outside. Any SF geek has seen this many times before but this time reality swings in a different direction for Lincoln and Jordan and we've already hinted at too much that you to figure out, so we'll leave it at that.

Eleven years ago we started this Site with the single premise that a movie was ultimately worth only what (you'd) pay for it. As the dollar scale moved up from $6 to $7 to $8 to . . . well you know the rest of that line of thinking . . . nothing has changed much about it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Island, he would have paid . . .


Loved it. Some SF geek will, inevitably, send us a list of errors of some kind or another. Don't care.

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.