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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Michael Bay's THE ISLAND

In the not-too-distant future, the world had became so polluted that many of its surviving inhabitants have to stay in a facility monitored by kindly scientists and doctors, and all of these inhabitants with weird names, Lincoln Six-Echo(McGregor) and Jordan Two-Delta (Johansson), are waiting to go to 'The Island', said to be the only uncontaminated spot on the planet.

However, thanks to witnessing some rather cheerfully gruesome deaths, Lincoln soon discovers that everything about his life is a lie and he has to escape the facility with Jordan. (I won't go into detail, but the trailer itself has revealed more than enough for you) Michael Bay-esque chase scenes with lots and lots of explosions ensue.

For a Michael Bay film, 'The Island' really isn't that bad after all. Perhaps because it has Scarlett Johansson in it, even though she was in a simple 'love interest' role where her job was only to do... generic 'love interest' stuff in action films these days (being able to kickass sometimes, runs along with the hero, worries about the hero, gets into trouble, skips the major fight).

And yes, at least this film is smarter as well, with an intriguing setup and slightly likable characters (a trait not shared by Michael Bay's masterpiece, 'Pearl Harbour', nor 'Bad Boys 2'). Instead of shutting down my mind and watch the action scenes blankly without registering (or care) what was really happening on the screen (... like Pearl Harbour, and Bad Boys 2), this film did at least keep me interested from beginning to end. As I've said, this is somewhat like Fantastic Four, if you're expecting this to be a shit film, then you'll end up enjoying yourself, or even more since this is indeed better than most Michael Bay films. After all, how can I NOT keep myself interested when Scarlett, with her alluring voice, her penetratingly penetrating eyes are staring so deep into my manly soul? It is as if she was begging me NOT to turn away from the film, that she was CRAVING for my attention. Ahhh, Scarly-Poo. So yes, as this is a Michael Bay film, you must be crazy to think that it will be a masterpiece of Minority Report's level, but it does entertain.

That said, I am rather surprised when I saw the news on Rottentomatoes.com that the Island had flopped pretty badly in the box-office during its first day. Making a mere 4.4 million, it will probably make less than 15 million throughout the weekend. Meaning that instead of becoming the week's top-grossing film as most have predicted, this one's only going to be number 3, behind Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Wedding Crashers (both films I seriously want to see).

However, I seriously felt that this is the wrong Michael Bay film to flop. It doesn't deserve to flop, nor be remembered as Michael Bay's first major box-office failure since he began his string of hits from Bad Boys and The Rock. I hated Pearl Harbour for its pretentiousness and its inability to strike a chord with me, hated it for trying to be some Oscar material when it was so seriously shitty, hated it because many people REFUSED to see the fact that it was SHIT. I can still remember how annoyed I was when I ran into the following Michael Bay apologists who said the following lines:

"Ooooh, even tho the romance scenes are stoopid, the part where the Japanese attacked was soooo good! Soooo fantastic!"

"This is Oscar-worthy! LOLOL! But it won't win because of the 9/11 tragedy." (sorry, Sebastian *grins*)

"Ahhhhh, look! the POV of the torpedo is like, so cool! And aiyoh, all those explosions, boom boom! soo cool! And also, the kissy parts, so sad and romantic."

"Wow! The part where Kate Beckingsale had to save the people in the hospital! soo blurry! So chaotic! Michael Bay is a filmmaking genius!"

The first one is the most common, it's starting to give me the feeling that the battle scene in Pearl Harbour is universally loved. It's like, everyone seems to have to say crap like "yeah, the romance sucks, but at least when the Pearl Harbour was attacked, it's good". Was it really THAT good? Is putting in craploads of explosions, seeing stuff blowing up, THAT IS GOOD? How can it be good when you're not investing any of your emotions upon the people who got blown up? How can it be good when it's so mindnumbingly dull and empty? The only reason why people seem to think that it's not that bad is because it's the only part where it doesn't SUCK THAT MUCH, otherwise, it still sucks, though to a lesser degree. That has to be it... right?

Yes, as high school student, seeing those around me going apeshit over Pearl Harbour made me question whether the world had gone mad, or that I was the mad one.

The Island, on the other hand, I actually thought it had some merits. Yet it was the one that flopped horribly. The world continues to confuse me.