The Island: A Big-budget Take on a Volatile Debate

People these days will go to great and ridiculous lengths in order to look good, stay young and cheat the inevitable: death and old age. Some will have the fat from their rear end sucked out and injected into their cheeks and lips to create the perfect face. Some claim that fasting, and dare I even think it, celibacy, will keep them living long past the age of 100. And those that are brave enough or perhaps ignorant enough, will try out new, experimental drugs that scientists have conjured up in a lab, just to prolong their time here on earth. Although the human body has its flaws and limitations, there are “pioneers” out there who will do whatever it takes to avoid a visit from the grim reaper.

In 2050, The Island’s wealthy and affluent have another strategy. They purchase clones, otherwise known as insurance policies, in order to bypass the eventual symptoms of aging and disease. These DNA replicates are promised to be exact duplicates of their sponsors, which at any given moment can offer up a few spare parts. So, when a heavy drinker’s liver gives out or when a smoker needs a new lung, these clones are assuredly ready for the carving board.

But what happens when these carbon copies become aware of their fatal purpose?

According to this 2005 flick, they surpass all expectations and narrowly escape the utopian stronghold that has deceived their idea of reality since conception. Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) obviously aren’t too thrilled with their roles as organ donors and despite the fact that they have been suppressed to the educational levels of teenage baboons; they take it upon themselves to reveal the inhumanity that they are being subjected to.

Wrought with an emotional overload, the clones for some reason are compelled to express their feelings in the form of cheesy one-liners. This duo, who has only known a guarded clone-kind-of-life during their few years of existence, are placed smack dab in the middle of a rough biker bar and busy city streets, which results in expected and minimally humorous situations. Their inexperience with phrases such as “taking a dump” or activities like swapping spit arouse nominal laughter.

Obviously, the idea of clones on the loose is not an acceptable scenario for the self-fulfilling geniuses responsible for their existence. So for the majority of the film, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta are forced to run like hell. With chase scenes comparable to those in Terminator II, their relentless perpetrators seem unstoppable. With a lot of luck, or what actually appears to be “the force,” Obi-Wan, I mean Lincoln Six Echo, pilots a hoverized motorcycle with ease through ridiculous obstacles and walks away from terrible car crash after terrible car crash unscathed.

While McGregor saves their skin time after time, Johansson waits on the sidelines with a stupid, pouty look on her face. It’s quite likely that her glued-on expression is a result of all the years that she was inundated with terrible product placement while held up in the clone habitat. The bazillion ads for Aquafina and Nike are enough for viewers to emerge from the theatre with the same idiotic look as well.

But somehow, The Island is still able to entertain its audiences. Big-budget explosions and sexy Hollywood actors have an amazing drawing power. And coupled with the idea of cloning – the morally taboo that will keep us lining up every time – audiences apparently were sold. So in the long run, despite a lack of quality acting or a believable screenplay, this movie renter only momentarily hoped for an untimely demise.

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