The Island Is the Loudest Anti-stem Cell Research Movie Ever

By Adam Lippe

theislandWho knew director Michael Bay (Armageddon, Bad Boys II, Transformers) was interested in any political issue at all? Or maybe it was an accident that in The Island, he made the scientist trying to solve the world’s diseases, the villain? Perhaps it was a coincidence that the heroes, the clones of rich people condemned to live in an underground lab, bred to be organ donors and nothing else, who, to the outside world, were said to be nothing more than being in a “persistent vegetative state,” are actually “real people, with human feelings.” What about when one of the so-called bad guys mysteriously flips to the “right,” because he doesn’t accept that saving children’s lives is a good cause, because once the clones are “born,” they are now people, who deserve to have a full life, not duped into the limited lives they’ve been given. Could this all be just strange circumstance, and Bay was only interested in making his latest treadmill thriller and thought cloning would be entertaining subject matter?

If Bay keeps it up, proudly flaunting his political allegiance, the next major documentary we see will be called Michael Bay Hates America.

island3The first hour of the The Island which takes place entirely within the confines of the created space where the clones live, is murky, poorly written, and underdeveloped, only hinting at the great subject matter at hand. But it’s still preferable to the impersonal stalk and run stuff of the second hour, which is all bland and anonymous, siphoned in from any other action movie. There isn’t even the kinetic energy of some of the crackling car chases Bay has filmed before in Bad Boys and The Rock.

What it shows is that the big budget hurt him, because it was too tempting. The explosions and chases are what he fell back on when he didn’t have confidence in the material, but if he wanted to do real sci-fi, he should simply remake this movie for the Sci-Fi Channel (which, despite the $135 million, the production design of the first hour certainly resembles one of their penny-pinching productions), where he has to do everything on the cheap, and would know that a lack of CGI and cars to wreck would force him to get creative and actually explore more of the inner workings of the world he created and then haphazardly didn’t care to elaborate on. It would be interesting because it would no doubt look cheesy, but by necessity, as opposed to the reaction one has with it now, where you wonder, especially in terms of the costuming, “why did they spend all that money for the movie to look so ugly?”

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Roadracers

By Adam Lippe

Whenever there’s a genre parody or ode to a specific era of films, such as Black Dynamite’s mocking of Blaxploitation films or Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the second half of Grindhouse, the danger is that the film might fall into the trap of either being condescending without any particular insight, or so faithful that it becomes the very flawed thing it is emulating.

Black Dynamite has nothing new to say about Blaxploitation films, it just does a decent job of copying what an inept [...]


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Featured Quote (written by me)

On Cold Fish:

Though the 16 year old me described the 1994 weepie Angie, starring Geena Davis as a Brooklyn mother raising her new baby alone, as “maudlin and melodramatic,” Roger Ebert, during his TV review, referring to the multitude of soap-operaish problems piling up on the titular character, suggested that it was only in Hollywood where Angie would get a happy ending. “If they made this movie in France, Angie would have shot herself.”

Well Cold Fish was made in Japan, where Angie would have shot herself and that would have been the happy ending.