Friday, July 29, 2005

she said/he said

She said:

At some point during the beginning part of The Island, the character that Ewan Macgregor plays (Delta delta delta or some stupid fucking name like that) yells at Scarlett Johanssen, "There is no Island!" At that moment, I fervently wished that was true. That should be my whole review right there.

But last time DB's analysis was so much better than mine, so I have to try to concentrate and write a real S. Jo sure looked hot...that rack, those lips...I could give her something to wrap those lips around...wait, I don't even have one of those...well if it's just a fantasy it doesn't really matter...should I have a big one?...Oh! Hey! You're still there. OK, back to my penetrating analysis of The Island.

The reason I wanted to see this movie in the first place is because I thought it was directed by Michael Mann, director of movies such as Heat and the Insider. Heat wasn't even that good but it did have one bad ass shootout scene, so I thought this movie might be exciting. Well, turns out this movie was directed by Michael Bay, director of such dreck (yiddish word meaning dirt, filth,excrement) as Armageddon and Pearl Harbor. Oops.

This movie is a combo of Logan's run and The Matrix, without the cool shit. Fuck! This deep analysis thing isn't working. This movie was not very memorable and it's already fading for me. The most notable thing about it besides S. Jo is the insane amount of product placement. They should have called it "The Island of Product Placement". Oh that joke is weak and I still haven't really said anything yet.

Best line in the movie: "infections can't teach you Latin". And I only remember that because I wrote it down the next day after I saw the movie. I should have written the whole review right then. Next week, I vow to do just that. Maybe we can review Hustle and Flow.

He said:

Although Michael Bay is responsible for the most egregious cinematic atrocities of our generation, I was actually looking forward to seeing "The Island", his new clones-on-the-run explosion factory about a couple of childlike copies bred for harvesting who begin to exhibit human-like behavior. Since there had never been anything even resembling human-like behavior in a Michael Bay film before, this promised to be something of a novelty.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bay is still a bit sketchy on the details of humanity, and the film is the usual assortment of elephantine set pieces, sledgehammer humor, and idiot posturing, mostly inexplicable and permanently set on overkill.

The film takes place in 2015, when human clones have become readily available for organ donations and in vitro fertilization. The clones live in a cloistered indoor community, shelter from what they are lead to believe is a contaminated environment, where behavior is closely monitored and intimacy is strictly forbidden. Daily lottery drawings for a spot on The Island, the last pollution-free zone in the world, are the only things that keep hope alive for the clone inmates.

Ewan McGregor plays an unnaturally intelligent clone who starts asking difficult questions, and Scarlet Johannsen plays the clone of a supermodel that McGregor falls in love with. Both stars look great as always, and Johanssen's hey-heys are especially appealing in a skin-tight Logan's Run-esque white jumpsuit, but their line readings feel more dutiful than anything else, and they're forced to recite so much pablum dialogue that you start to feel like a parent at a school play, proud of them for simply getting through it. McGregor at least has a character to play -- Johanssen spends most of the film looking windblown and flummoxed, and she's also starting to look like Tara Reid, not a good sign.

Of course, witty repartee is not Bay's strong suit -- but if you need cars to flip over in balletic unison, he's your go-to guy. "The Island" is set at Bay's usual assaultive pace, and he is still unmatched in his ability to make every scene look like a Gatorade commercial. He continues to overdirect to a phenomenal degree -- a simple sequence of Johanssen buying ice cream for children is shot like its the Odessa Steps sequence in "Potemkin".

There were times I was titilated -- a car chase with McGregor rolling giant axles off a truck is classic Bay, and there are a handful of impressively bizarro moments, such as a dream sequence of McGregor water-wrestling a gang of bald automaton thugs, and an unsettling scene of Michael Clarke Duncan escaping from the operating table -- but these are brief moments sprinkled throughout the film's gratuitous 138-minute running time.

For the rest of the time, you'll be either shaking your head in revulsion, disbelief, or admiration for the filmmakers' chutzpah. "The Island" begets so many fascinating questions, it could be the source of much heated debate. For example, why is the clone colony generator destroyed as soon as it is turned off? Isn't this an option they probably should've refused in the escrow phase?

Product placement also has a stranglehold on the future, and for some reason Aquafina appears to have signed an exclusive contract to provide the unwitting clones with bottled water in the subterranean complex that even the government is unaware it because they're evil or what? However, my favorite product placement occurred when Johanssen attempts to call her human double by speaking the name into a Yahoo search engine speaker phone. She is connected immediately to the house of Sarah Jordan, apparently the only woman with that name on the planet.

Grade: C-


Anonymous said...

a simple sequence of Johanssen buying ice cream for children is shot like its the Odessa Steps sequence in "Potemkin".

I can't stop laughing at this!


beckler said...

I know. Dan's review is spot-on. It really all does look like a Gatorade commercial.

Unknown said...

thank you two for suffering so we won't have to.

now, go see a movie you'll love.....Hustle and Flow!

DB said...

Not for nothing, but "The Island" bombed big time last weekend, opening at $12 million, about 1/10th of the film's budget.

Anonymous said...

This is the highlight of my Friday. I give these reviews an A+