Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Island

I confess that my main reason for wanting to see this was the fact that it bore such close similarities to Parts: The Clonus Horror - one of my favorite episodes of one of my all-time favorite television shows, Mystery Science Theater 3000. The basic premise of "Parts" is that a young man discovers that he is, in fact, a clone, and that he (along with everyone he knows) has been created for the sole purpose of organ replacement. It was a great idea, actually, and might have been an effective film if it hadn't been so horribly executed in every aspect. Bad writing, bad directing, and bad acting will kill a good idea every time, and "Parts" was no exception.

I expected little better from The Island, except that I knew at least a few of the actors would do their best to make something of their roles. I've never been an admirer of Michael Bay, but I've also never subscribed to the philosophy that every movie has to be the height of artistry and cultural import. Seriously, sometimes you just want to have a good time and not have to think about a movie, you know? The Island works pretty well in that capacity.

It's a bit like two movies, and is almost long enough to have been split in half. The first half is creepy sci-fi, while the second half is pure adrenalized action-adventure. It's a good thing the main character clones were in such good shape. They never would have survived the second half of the movie otherwise.

It doesn't really matter whether the story is believable or not. This is just not that kind of movie. Movies about clones bug me, though, because from what I've read there's no scientific reason to suppose that, should human cloning ever become a possibility, clones would be exact physical matches of the originals. *shrug* But I suppose it's easier to dramatize the other way.

I said before that I'm not a Michael Bay fan. The words "From the maker of Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armageddon" are not particularly a selling point for me, but these movies are fun in their own way. I think what really saves The Island is that it has some great actors in it - Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan, and others - that make their characters people we can care about. McGregor and Johansson, aside from being great eye candy, create a fairly believable relationship, given the rather "out there" circumstances in which they find themselves (i.e., male-female dynamics are a non-issue, giving the two clones an obligatory first kiss and sexual encounter during their adventure out in the real world). Sean Bean is suitably diabolical (and far scarier than Dick Sargent was in a very similar role in Parts). Steve Buscemi is predictably enjoyable, and Michael Clark Duncan gives perhaps the most affecting performance of all with just a few minutes of screen time.

I find it laugh-out-loud funny that Michael Bay may now be facing legal action from the maker of Parts, because the two films bear such close resemblances (in plot, I mean - they're vastly different in terms of quality, of course). I guess the funniest thing about it is that The Island could end up with the words "Based on the film Parts: The Clonus Horror" in it's credits. *snicker*

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hello, out there!

I wanted to create a blog for my movie comments so that people won't have to slog through my Live Journal (and all the personal and fandom dramas therein) to get to them. So, here it is.

I haven't seen a lot to get excited about among the first-runs this year - though there have been some gems among the rubble - so I've been doing a lot of catching up on DVD. You know, that ever-growing list of movies that you can't believe you've lived this long without seeing? Okay, perhaps not too many people feel that way about it. But I do.