Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Island

What do you do when you get to leave work halfway through a sunny Tuesday? Go and see a movie of course! That's what I do anyway, and that's what I did today. The movie was called The Island.
The movie is set in the future - 2050 or somewhere around there - and there's a guy Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson). Yes those are funny names aren't they? You get to find out why they have such funny names later in the movie.
Lincoln and Jordan work in a big futuristic-looking place with hundreds maybe thousands of other people and they all wear the same white Star Trek-looking uniforms. It's a strange place, kind of creepy, in a space age mental institution kind of way. Everything seems to be overly controlled, for instance when Lincoln wakes up in the morning and goes for a piss, a digital messageboard above the toilet tells him his salt level is a bit too high. Then when he goes down to breakfast in the big cafeteria, the mean serving lady won't let him have any bacon and eggs.
He is friends with the girl Jordan and she sees that he is having a problem with the breakfast lady, so she goes up to him and says stand back and watch this. The mean breakfast horrorhag seems to like Jordan so Jordan gets some bacon for Lincoln. Then they have a laugh about it and touch each other on the arm or some such innocent display of affection when a big security guy in a black spacesuit comes up and says "Watch your proximity!" What the hell? What kind of wacky place is this?
The next minute, everybody is watching a big video screen and there's a lottery on. The prize is a trip to *The Island*. Everybody there wants to win a trip to this island because it must be a great place like Hawaii or something, much better anyway than being in some big robot factory where black-suited Nazis come up and tell you to watch your damn proximity.
Lincoln likes to sneak off and hang out with his friend, a guy (played by Steve Buscemi! Yay!) who works in what looks like the boiler room. Then we notice that Lincoln is not very smart. It's not exactly that he's not smart, but he doesn't seem to know things that even a not-smart person would surely know. Like he asks Steve who God is. Steve says, "You know when you close your eyes and really wish for something? Well, he's the one that ignores you."
Lincoln starts doing some weird things (weird for this place, that is) and behaving unlike a robot so he gets called in to see the doctor, or actually the director of the place I guess, a guy played by Sean Bean, who I can't see now and not think of him as Boramir in Lord of the Rings. Anyway, Sean gives him a hard time for getting too close to Jordan, then Lincoln starts asking questions like why do we have to wear these stupid white uniforms all the damn time, how about some colours?
Then he sneaks off to a different part of the building and accidentally witnesses something dodgy, so he finds out this place, well there's something fishy going on.
Anyway, it's impossible to say more about the story without giving away spoilers, although I find it almost impossible to believe that there is anybody out there who didn't know what the big mystery was even before they saw the movie.
There's a big WHEN MAN PLAYS GOD theme going on here, and aspects of other books/movies like 1984 and The Matrix, also Minority Report.
The actors do an excellent job. Ewan McGregor is a very likeable guy, and Scarlett Johansson, well I've been a *fan* ever since Ghost World.
It was cool (huh huh, is that the right word?) to see Ethan Phillips (Neelix from Star Trek: Voyager) in the movie - the second movie I've seen him in.
Anyway, the movie was pretty damn good, if a little long, although those cinema seats get uncomfortable, and I'm a twitchy nervy guy at the best of times. But how did it only get 40% on Rotten Tomatoes? That's really hard to believe. I think there's a lot of sci-fi *haters* out there.
Woops! I almost forgot my audience report!
There was plenty of space in the theatre. Only two or three people in front of me, but from experience that is no indication of numbers - most people seem to like to sit further away from the screen. Anyway, space was no issue, no Asian teen gang sat next to me cruelly keeping their girlfriends from sitting next to me, but this time the problem was kids behind me. They were eating chips and it sounded like they were moving their heads right up behind my head, so I could hear this deafening crunching sound as their jaws ferociously masticated the chippies like they had a microphone jammed in their gobs connected by a cable to small but powerful speakers that hovered in the air millimetres away from my ears. Man it was LOUD.

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