Sunday, January 29, 2006

I just watched "The Island." What an appallingly silly movie. The action hinges almost entirely on fortuitous accidents; in one scene, the main couple survives falling from a great height (while clinging to a chunk of uprooted outdoor signage) by detaching at precisely the right time to fall into a scant cushion of chain-link mesh. The whole movie is a numbing series of near-miraculous and largely unwitting escapes.

The future (we're told it's sometime after 2050) is only peripherally futuristic. Characterization is conveniently dispensed with because the protagonists are clones with the mentality of children. Stock characters prevail. We have the ethically challenged corporate genius; the evil twin; the seedy, wise-cracking -- and above all, disposable -- technician who knows and resents the Awful Truth but apparently isn't bothered enough to be deterred from showing up to work.

"The Island" shamelessly bogarts its visuals (and at least one key revelatory scene) from genre classics like "THX-1138" and "The Matrix." (Watch the hero learn that he's an artificial humanoid with implanted memories and you'll be instantly transported to Harrison Ford's apartment in "Blade Runner," where a doe-eyed Sean Young learns precisely the same thing.)

"The Island" pretends to celebrate the human spirit. But spirit is exactly what's lacking. The details are sloppy. The back-story is unconvincing. The dialogue is downright painful.

The only genuinely enjoyable moment arrives when, by pure chance, a Hummer gets obliterated during one of the film's innumerable chase scenes. Nice touch. If only the villain's inevitable demise could have aroused so much vicarious satisfaction.

9 comments:

Tim F said...

May I ask whether the magnificent phrase "shamelessly bogarts its visuals" is one of your own, or did you bogart it yourself?

If the latter is the case, I shall bogart it myself for use on Cultural Snow.

parrish said...

a fact i always like to point out--the entire movie was stolen mostly intact from a 1979 flick called Parts, the Clonus Horror. (check it out on the IMDB.) MST3K riffed on it, so that's how i caught it: it's excerable, but honestly not much better than The Island.

the end, of course, directly mirrors many scifi movies (such as Aeon Flux,) each of which steals it from the far better movie that pioneered the visual, Logan's Run.

platts42 said...

I dare say it: What? You didn't see any of this coming? I knew it was bad without having to actually lose my time to it. Unfortunately I wasn't so lucky with Minority Report

Always check the Internet first. The opinions of "my people" have only only done me wrong once yet has given me Veronica Mars, and Battlestar Galactica

W.M. Bear said...

"Shamelessly bogarts its visuals," eh? Yeah, I picked up on that usage too, because....

Being your basic 70's child, I was used to the term "bogart" meaning "throw away when there's still something left to smoke on," obviously originating in the eponymous Humphrey Bogart's on-screen habit of flinging half-smoked butts tough-guy style to the pavement. Typically used in the phrase "Don't bogart that joint," meaning put it in a roach clip instead and let's do some more tokes on it. That weed's EXPENSIVE!

So I would be interested to learn where this other usage apparently came from?

Mac said...

I learned the term "bogart" from my girlfriend. As I just told her, I've been itching to use it in writing, and I may mot have done so successfully. I thought the word was hipster slang for "steal." (Although I like WMB's explanation.)

In any case, I am -- to the best of my knowledge -- the first to use the term "shamelessly bogart its visuals."

And Marrrrk is right: I should have seen this coming.

Mac said...

Marrrrk--

I liked "Minority Report." Not the best SF thriller I've ever seen, but enjoyable.

Paul Kimball said...

Mac:

At least you just rented it - I actually saw it in the theatre. Worst movie I've seen in the past year, bar none. Scarlett Johannson was awful.

Paul

Mac said...

Scarlett Johannson was barely alive...

magnidude said...

Scarlett awful?? Bogart my ass!