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Ewan and Scarlett on The Island

Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, Saturday Night Live did a classic commercial parody that's always been a favorite of mine:

Wife: "New Shimmer is a floor wax."
Husband: "New Shimmer is a dessert topping."
Wife: "It's a floor wax!"
Husband: "It's a dessert topping!"
Wife: "It's a floor wax!"
Husband: "It's a dessert topping, you cow!"
Announcer: "Wait! New Shimmer is a floor wax and a dessert topping! Here, I'll spray some on your mop, and some on your butterscotch pudding."
Husband: "It's delicious!"
Wife: "And look at that shine!"

That skit kept popping into my head when I was trying to think of the right words to describe The Island.

"The Island is a dystopian allegory!"
"The Island is a cliche action flick with futuristic costumes!"

Actually, it was sort of both, and they canceled each other out. But look at that shine.

The Island probably wasn't what it should have been, but it was still a big, exciting sci-fi movie that was fun to watch. Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson played prisoners in a strange, futuristic society. Oddly inexperienced and naive for adults, residents of this underground world were not permitted to go outdoors because of "contamination," their diets were restricted and regimented, they were not allowed to touch, much less make love, and they worked at boring jobs they didn't understand. (Sounds a little like my life.) All they had to keep them going was the hope that some day, they would win the Lottery and go to live on the Island, a paradise that was the only place on Earth where people could still live outdoors.

McGregor played a very familiar role to anyone who has read dystopian fiction: Lincoln, the hero who started asking the big questions and put together what was really happening. Johansson played Jordan, his sort-of girlfriend, who got swept up in what Lincoln was doing and basically trailed behind him hanging on to his hand for most of the movie, literally and figuratively.

Yes, it was far from perfect. There was a huge and totally unbelievable chase sequence in the middle, because you have to have a chase sequence. And the ending was soooo predictable. But finding out what was really going on with the society and the Island was fun, and I thought it was worth the price of admission. McGregor and Johansson are always good, and much of the photography was just gorgeous. I particularly enjoyed Lincoln and Jordan discovering sex for the first time ("That tongue thing is amazing"), as well as MacGregor's scenes in the middle and later part of the movie. This is the guy that carried the second Star Wars trilogy, after all.

Two and a half out of four stars,

Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.


  1. I recently saw The Island on HBO and was mildly amused with it. Growing up, I loved Logan's Run (tv series and movie) and a lot of them running around, especially with Jordon all dopey but attached to him as he tries to save her life, reminded me so much of it. Not to mention the original version of "Coma" when they find all the bodies in the bags. Then of course we have strains of "Gattaca." Probably half a dozen other sci-fi films I haven't even thought about yet.

    Oh and Johansson has NEVER looked sexier than in this film. Had I not seen her in Pearl Earring, I'd be in love with her.

  2. Loved it and hated it at the same thing. The first part was a big WOW for me. I would have loved to live there until....you know.

    Hated it because, ah, the need to put so much action and explosions in tour face ! (I saw iron man 3 earlier on and kept thinking : it is getting bigger and bigger EVERY year ! Quite surprising we haven't had someone who did not had an heart attack in a movie theater !)

    And Scarlet is pure eye candy. (Ewan too)


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