Thursday, July 28, 2005

 

The Island Pretty Much Sucked - Some Mild Spoilers Ahead

The philosophy behind The Island appears to be that if a movie contains enough implausible, death-defying, dizzying action sequences, no one will notice that the plot is an absurd rehash of any number of cheesy sci-fi movies from the 1970s. Watching this movie didn't just require me to suspend my disbelief. It required me to take my disbelief, stick it in a box, wrap it up and stick a card on it that says "Do Not Open Until Christmas."

One of Ebert's issues with the publicity surrounding the movie was that it apparently "gave away the secret" about the Island. I can assure you that, if you’ve seen any of those cheesy 1970s sci-fi movies, you can figure out "the secret" in about five minutes. I think we all know by now that whenever there is a "random" lottery in a sci-fi movie to send people to an idyllic island, well, that's never a good sign. What's really baffling is that the bad guys in the movie manage to keep the "secret" from all the really important people, despite the fact that keeping the "secret" requires the complicity of literally hundreds of people who have no incentive to do so (other than keeping their jobs). Apparently, in the future, American workers have a much more heightened sense of job loyalty than they do today.

On the positive side, Ewan McGregor does a good job portraying a 30-something year-old man with the psychological development of a teenager. Scarlett Johansson fails to convey the same innocent charm that McGregor does, but manages to look absolutely stunning, even after (1) running for miles through the desert, (2) being chased by hit-men in futuristic vehicles on a Los Angeles Freeway, (3) crashing into one side of a glass skyscraper on a flying motorcycle all the way through and out the other side, and (4) falling from the top of the skyscraper while being shot at by men in helicopters and landing in a big net that happened to be in the right place at the right time. All without a hair out of place or make-up smudged. Amazing.

The best part of the movie for me was Steve Buscemi, who is always fun to watch and has the best lines. My favorite: When asked by the innocents "what's God?" he replies "You know when you're lying in bed at night and you close your eyes and wish for something you want really badly. Well, God is the guy who ignores you." Now, that's funny.
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