Visually Michael Bay’s films are spectacular feasts for the eyes. The former commercial director has a knack for making everything look shiny but having great taste doesn’t make a great film director any more than great taste makes a Snicker’s bar a gourmet meal.
The Island sacrifices a germ of a really strong sci-fi concept—the idea that clones are being created as spare parts for rich people—for bombast in the form of endless chase sequences, explosions and really stupid dialogue. I don’t mind action, and I’ll even put up with stupid dialogue, but what I found frustrating about The Island was Bay’s decision to go for sensory overload rather than tell a good story. The idea that the inhabitants of a futuristic compound believe that the outside world has been destroyed and the only inhabitable place on earth is an island where, if they win a lottery, they will be sent to help repopulate the world is a good one. When two of the group learn that everything isn’t what it seems they go on a Logan’s Run and escape. From there the movie becomes less sci fi and more hi fi—high fiasco, that is. Bay drops any pretense of sense and starts throwing money at the screen—buildings are destroyed, strange cars fly through the air and let’s just say the landscape of downtown Los Angeles will never be the same. Bay avoids any kind of depth—there is no comment on hot button topics like cloning or stem cell research, both of which could easily have been addressed—opting instead to further a plot that is so full of holes, if it were a ship it would be called The Titanic.
More insulting than the weak storyline is the blatant product placement. Michelob Light, X-Box and Cadillac and even the Calvin Klein commercial that Johansson made for television litter the screen. The obvious placement of paid advertising becomes even more bizarre in a film that centers around two clones—called “product” in the film—that are trying to escape their consumerist fate.
Paradise Island this ain’t. Perhaps Temptation Island because I was tempted to walk out of the theatre. Stay home and rent Logan’s Run instead.