Quick Hit: This fever dream of a Michael Bay film has tons of highlights despite being messy and having nonsense throughout.
There seems to be a large portion of the population that hates Michael Bay. I’m not going to say that he’s the devil incarnate, but I haven’t particularly enjoyed his movies of late (I say of late because I loved The Rock) – TMNT and TMNT2 were a bit of a mess, and the continued amount of Transformer films fills me with dread (despite the fact I can’t help but be intrigued by the involvement of those like Anthony Hopkins). (Yes in case you’re wondering I do have two sets of parentheses in the same sentence – my bad for not following the traditional grammar rules – let’s just say I have more thoughts than I can get out like a normal person).
So, naturally, with my recent knowledge of his films, when I saw Directed by Michael Bay pop up on my television screen, I may or may not have let out a small groan. But sometimes, (ok, quite often) my initial thoughts or groans turn into a rapid excitement. Despite writing about movies daily, I never quite seem to be entirely right about movies until I watch them.
I’m not sure how I passed over The Island which somehow stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlet Johansson, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, and Djimon Hounsou. It tells the story of Lincoln Six Echo (McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Johansson) as they strive to reach the mythical island. The entire first half of the film is filled with a scientific dread, and even before the twists that are revealed, there is a distinct sense of wrongness throughout. You know what it reminds me of? District 13 in The Hunger Games series – rationed food, everyone wearing the same clothes, controlled amounts of fun, etc.
Somewhere around the halfway point of the film, all plot considerations seem to just leave the movie behind. It devolves into a giant chase scene for the final hour or so of the film. If there is one thing that Mr. Bay knows, it’s chases and explosions, and both are featured heavily here. It’s actually extremely exhilarating, with our characters constantly figuring out new ways to survive in the chase.
Speaking of those characters, I thought that Ms. Johansson and Mr. McGregor did a stellar job with what they were given. The fact that the agnates were essentially raised to be childlike is something that is often taken for granted when it comes to be acting. Their childlike wonder often comes across to propel conversations that otherwise would have staled out. Along with that, they play the roles with an innoncence that is rarely seen in the movies. Bit parts are fleshed out with Hounsou, who plays a mercenary, Buscemi, who plays the same character he always does, and Sean Bean, who plays a sleazy corporate doctor.
I’m not going out and saying that this is a great movie – it barely qualifies as good. But it is extremely entertaining, as well as coming out and putting forth some political views on a lot of the progress that science continues to make. That’s what good science fiction films tend to do – ask questions and leave them only partially answered. This movie fits that, and is good enough for a “B-“ from me.
For more on this movie check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"