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Why The Island is Michael Bay’s most underrated film

Michael Bay is a director whose filmography is divisive to say the least. On the one hand his early efforts such The stone, Armageddonand Bad Boys were extremely successful at the box office. His transformers Films, while still known for their box office successes, have come under critical scrutiny. But there’s one film that rarely makes an appearance when it comes to Bay’s filmography: the 2005 sci-fi thriller The island.

The island seems to be your standard post-apocalyptic sci-fi setup. Lincoln Six-Echo (Ewan McGregor) lives with a collective of other people in a remote area; He was told that the outside world has been made habitable except for a mysterious island, and every day one of the collective’s members wins a lottery to travel to the island. Lincoln and another member Jordan Two-Echo (Scarlett Johansson) learn a terrible secret: there is no island. They are clones of the wealthy elite, and the “lottery” sees the clones as organ donors for their doppelgangers. Lincoln and Jordan go on the run, forcing Compound Director Dr. merrick (sean bean) to the bounty hunter Albert Laurent (Djimon Hounsou) after you.

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the island
Image via DreamWorks Pictures

The island features one of the strongest ensembles Bay has ever worked with; it is only eclipsed Armageddon in terms of size and star power. (Armageddon alums Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi also have roles in The island.) Most impressive is the fact that almost every member of The island’Its cast has either been part of or starred in films and television shows of other genres. McGregor came from the war of stars prequel trilogy and will reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi next month in the Disney+ limited series named after the Jedi Master; He also starred as the villain Black Mask in Birds of Prey and the Fantastic Emancipation of a Harley Quinn. Johansson would appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow; Hounsou would join her with his role as Korath the Pursuer Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvelas well as the title assistant in Shazam! After all, Bean had played the leading role Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and would later star as Ned Stark game of Thrones. Eagle-eyed fans will also be able to spot Star Trek: Voyager alum Ethan Phillips as one of the clones.


The cast can also bring in their A-game, especially since some of them literally play two people. McGregor is the film’s MVP; he plays Lincoln as rebellious and snappy – perhaps to create a deliberate contrast to his Obi-Wan performance. He also plays wealthy automaker Tom Lincoln; The scene where the two Lincolns meet is one of the few scenes where Bay keeps the camera steady and lets in the seriousness of the situation. Johansson’s turn as Jordan is essentially a teenager; She has no idea how the world works and trusts almost everyone – leading to some frantic car chases throughout the film. Frightening at first, Honsou’s Laurent pursues both clones with the dogged determination of a bloodhound, but over time he comes to sympathize with their plight – having endured something similar himself. And Bean’s role as Dr. Merrick is the perfect epitome of a god complex. “I give life,” Merrick declares in a lengthy speech to Laurent, his intensity building as he dismisses the clones as little more than products on an assembly line.



Film image of the island
Image via DreamWorks Pictures

The island is also Bay’s most intellectual film; While “cerebral” and “Michael Bay” don’t even sound like they belong in the same sentence, the film explores themes of identity throughout its run. Lincoln is plagued by seemingly unrelated dreams; It has been revealed that there was a flaw in his cloning that allows him to preserve his DNA donor’s memories and explains his rebellious nature. And while Merrick may view the clones as little more than products, Jordan and Lincoln return to save their fellow clones from euthanasia – leading to a climax where the entire clone collective emerges into the outside world for the first time. Whether intentional or unintentional, the biblical symmetry with the story of Moses leading his people out of Egypt cannot be denied.


Despite a great cast, a good hook and a proven director, The island ended up being a box office bomb. A large part of this was due to the marketing failing to mention the idea of ​​the clones, instead going for the usual “Bayhem” to try and entice moviegoers. Add that it went against movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and wedding crasher, and the writing was on the wall. And as if that weren’t enough rubbing salt in the wound, Dreamworks and Warner Bros. were faced with a lawsuit by the producers of the 1979 film Parts: The Clonus Horror on the grounds that Bay reshot her film more or less without permission. The case was eventually settled out of court.

Despite his less-than-stellar theatrical performance and legal troubles, The island is worth seeing. Its cast rises to the occasion, Bay actually leans into the more terrifying elements of the clone reveal in the first half of the film, and the plot is softened by a story with heavy philosophical tones. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orciwho co-wrote the screenplay The islandwould eventually go on to write Bay’s first two transformers Movies as well as other sci-fi blockbusters including JJ Abrams‘s star trek and Mission: Impossible III. I hope Bay can return to this type of film one day as it’s proof that he doesn’t have to limit himself to mindless action.



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https://collider.com/michael-bay-the-island-underrated-why-its-good/ Why The Island is Michael Bay’s most underrated film

Jake Nichol

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