The Island, supplied by LOVEFiLM DVD Rental, was nominated on The Movie Blog Readers Awards 2005 in the category of Worst Execution of the Best Plot, and for good reason too. The film may sound like a superb concept, but the realisation is pitifully poor and this DVD does nothing to help it along, neither do the ample talents of Ewan McGregor or Scarlett Johansson.
The film starts of really strongly, and promises much from its well crafted plot. The style is slightly removed from Michael Bay‘s typical blockbuster as we are treated to slower progression of characters and the questioning of McGregor as Lincoln Six-Echo against his reality.
Then, typically, things turn into a big Bay action fest with formulaic plot changes that you can see a mile off. Let me say that I have nothing against those movies because I actually really like The Rock and Armageddon, they’re great fun. Yet when you have such a great futuristic plot filled with excellent possibilities, turning it into standard action fare seems quite a sad and easy path to take.
You see half way through the movie it turns into set pieces which are badly thought through and harshly edited. For instance, take the highway scene where Echo pushes train wheels off the back of a flatbed truck. Those would be train wheels for the magnetic trains that run without wheels that we saw a few times at the beginning of the movie or the fast car used in a high speed chase later in the movie is racing along one second and then the immediate scene after which is tracking the car shows the door wide open, raised in the air, as these doors do. What just happened there? Then there’s the jet bike sequence, and we seen these bikes for well on half their screen time before you can actually see that there’s a second person on the bike, mounted at the rear.
Typically the close cropped camera work, far too fast cuts, and harsh editing make these action sequences difficult to follow. Sure it’s not as bad as some of the Bourne sequences, but this is tough to follow in places.
There’s similar issues all the way through that make you think there have either been some serious continuity errors, someone hasn’t been thinking of the universe in which the movie is set and checking all the story changes, there’s been some harsh editing, or indeed all of the above.
There are some saving graces though, and I’m not talking McGregor’s American accent, although the moment when he confronts his real self and he has a Scottish accent which he mimics is very amusing. No, Johannson fares very well here, as does Djimon Hounsou, let’s just say they do the best with what they have. I mean how can you deal with lines such as “I like it with your tongue” in the middle of a romantic kissing scene? I get that they haven’t kissed before, but it sounds corny as hell and comic.
Presented: 2.35:1 Anamorphic
The picture was sharp, although the colours were slightly drained and the contrast harsh throughout.
Presented: Dolby Digital 5.1
A good audio track, some great LFE during the action sequences, but a DTS on such an action film could have been better, that and some subtlety!
Presented: TV Making of Featurette, DVD-ROM Extras
I actually just thought that there was a single featurette on here which was extremely poor, so after a quick look I sent it back. However I’m now led to believe that there is a full audio commentary from Michael Bay hidden away on the PC DVD-Rom section.
Well I never saw it and it’s not because I didn’t try. I put the DVD into my PC and it attempted a straight install of its own player. Since I already have my own free player I cancelled it and attempted to access anything new on the disc – nothing was visible. Nowhere did I see the mention of the audio commentary now being enabled, perhaps I missed it, but if you’re going to offer it only on the PC side don’t force an install of your own software and make the features plainly visible.
A very poor movie with a botched up DVD offering. Hidden audio commentary, forcing install of it’s own DVD software, is just not on. Poorly put together and a not very enjoyable movie at all.
This DVD was one of my choices from the LOVEFiLM DVD Rental service, it was a shame that I hadn’t yet built up my choices for the excellent recommended service they use for that might have just suggested another movie and not this one!