Lincoln Six Echo is just like everyone else - he's waiting to go to the Island, the only place left in the world to actually live a life. Thousands of people stay at a facility waiting to go to the Island. It all sounds like paradise, but Lincoln Six Echo soon discovers that there's actually a sinister purpose going on at that facility and that he must escape - but not before stopping the sinister plan.
Just a little better than pretty good, but also just a little unoriginal
Michael Bay has had his directoral ups and downs, but here in the big budget action realm, the director of the excellent The Rock seems right at home. This time, Bay welds the action to a solid, if somewhat unoriginal sci fi plot - which blends elements of Logan's Run, THX-1138 and Gattaca.
Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johanson are an attractive couple living in a completely medically regulated community designed to repopulate a world decimated by a mass extinction. Ethan Phillips, Djimon Hounsou and Sean Beam all provide excellent support. Beam is miraculously transformed into his clever, arrogant and suspect character. Phillips is also particularly memorable as their slightly unhinged pal.
Life in an enclosed, sterile environment, with all of their needs taken careof - including neatly arranged and identical uniforms, jobs, and three square can be a great bore, so - once a week or so - the sponsoring corporation gives away a one way ticket to the only place in the outside world which isn't lethal - The Island.
McGregor's Licoln Six Echo and a number of his cohorts are becoming increasingly agitated and curious about their home. All the while, his platonic relationship with Jordan Two Delta (Johanson) grows. But then, she wins her ticket to the island.
I have described the basic set up, and sci-fi fans will probably understand that this film actually sits among Logan's Run, gattaca, THX-1138 and other intelligent dystopian sci films. What may be a little harder to visualize is how stylistically indebted to Gattaca and THX-1138 this film is. Ewan McGregor doesn't really look like Ethan Hawke, and Scarlett Johanson is certainly not easily mistaken for Uma Thurmond, but between the cinematography, the themes, and the overall prettiness of the cast, the homage is obvious. The camera work is excellent, and the pace is spot-on, though it does become a little breathless toward the end.
Nevertheless, The Island stands on its own as a nice example of big budget sci fi which does not insult its audience's intelligence and uses its budget to tell an interesting story - not just to show off a lot of special effects and highly improbable action (though there is quite a lot of both here anyway). Recommended for serious and semi-serious sci fi fans.
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