I'm making the most definitive list of favorite movies ever.

For every year, I'm listing every movie I've seen and compare them all to each other asking one question; Which movie do I like more. Movies that score in the 80th percentile or higher, advance to the next round: Favorite of the Decade. After each Decade is done, an All Time list will be formed.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Movie: The Island !!!!

Yea, I got to see a movie in advance, and pass on the love. So, since the reports are going to be in abundance, know that this take on it is going to cater not to general movie lovers. This is about a MUCH BIGGER ISSUE. So, in case you're not aware, the creative team on this movie, the screenwriters, director and probably a similar group of suits at Dreamworks, are going to be the guys in charge of bringing you Transformers the Movie. It was also announced today that the release date will be Wednesday, July 4th, 2007. Set your countdown clocks.

After I rant about the Transformers thing, we can talk about the actual movie, it’s place in dystopic cinema, why it doesn’t fucking belong in that genre, and where it stands in it’s actual genre, and the year as a whole.

Michael Bay is off the shit list. I’ve loved him, and hated him. After Bad Boys, The Rock, and Armageddon, it was all love. He shot fast, made it big, kept every frame exciting. At being three for three, tragedy struck with whatever screwed up Pearl Harbor. I could go on about Pearl Harbor, but Team America had a song that summed it up. Bad Boys 2 was kinda lifeless as well. Okay, Pearl Harbor was absolute crud… but I have spread many less than loathsome feelings about that movie. I hated it enough that people saw it, and didn’t think it was that bad. It just wasn’t good. I though, began a four year stretch of hating Michael Bay. Tonight, that bile is gone, but the love isn’t back, yet.

Obi-Wan Kenobi, the blonde from Lost in Translation, Maximus’ friend in Gladiator, Boromir, Mr. Pink and Michael Clarke Duncan who is always more noticeable than the characters he plays. That’s not a bad thing, I haven’t met a good movie geek who doesn’t hold love for that man. In Sin City, and Planet of the Apes he was like a prize at the bottom of a box of Cookie Crisp. That’s what he is here too, a bonus treat.

Ewan McGregor may not like being Obi-Wan. I don’t know. But, at least to me, he kicks Alec Guiness’ ass. I loved him before Star Wars, and I look forward to almost everything he does. I don’t like it on those movie hype interviews when he talks about the directors of his films. It feels like he always back stabbing others he’s worked with. He has a dream list if disparate talents, who all work differently; Lucas Burton, Bay, Scott, Luhrmann. He could write a book on their differences.

Hey… how was the Island? Have you ever read my reviews? The Island isn’t on the floor bleeding from the gut at this point. It’s lived far longer than War of the Worlds did. The Island gave me a renewed faith in the Transformers project. With or without Pearl Harbor at this point, to EVERY red blooded, born in the 70’s fanboy, Bay is on probation until July fourth 2007. He has a noose around his neck, and a platform at his feet. I didn’t expect to see The Island today, but I was probably going to post some reaction to the release date.

So, for the Trans-fans; the original release date was supposed to be in November of 2006. I was getting nervous since that could mean a rush job. We don’t want it rushed right? November is a much different month than July. July 4th, is a world apart from most days on Hollywood’s calendar. This movie is not going to cater to fans as much as many are going to hope. It’s going to be very mainstream, it has to be to own that date. I personally feel Transformers was mainstream to begin with, but I’m part of the generation where Transformers was the mainstream. It was the big aisle at toy chest, Star Wars was in a back corner.

When you see The Island, allow yourself, if only for a moment, to picture Ewan as Spike, and Scarlett as Carly. You’ll wish that the Cadillac Cien would just do what it’s beautiful form begs to, and TRANSFORM. It won’t. But, when the action is on, and mechanical, this movie feels on the mark, for that other movie, and you can’t help but to get fired up for ’07, like the Star Wars Special Editions just BEING in theaters had you counting the seconds till ’99.

Now we’ll get on with the review, of the movie that may have been killed by its own trailers. If this flick fails in any capacity, it should blame its marketing department. The trailers killed an element of tension and mystery. I wished that the trailers had been outright lies. I really do. There are often scenes in trailers that don’t appear in the movie. Peter Jackson was even flaunting this fact on the King Kong fansite. He bragged about it. So, if the movie is about lies and deception for it’s first half, why not lie to get us into the movie? It empties the movie into being purely an action piece. If I hadn’t seen the abundant previews, there would have been a number of nice surprises. The trailers also painted this to be more of a Logan’s Run remake than it is. It is, very much so though a love child of Logan and Coma. Ok, go see Coma. Back? Good. If I ever write a textbook for what makes for a good movie, Coma is the case study on introducing characters. The movie starts, and they could go into any story with that introduction. Logan’s Run however is a pure dystopic future. If the entirety of The Island were the first 40 minutes or so… It’d qualify. It spends too much time in the outside world to be in that genre. Well, yes, Logan and his cute girlfriend did too… but there was nothing outside but a psychotic robot, one old coot who buried his own parents and about a hundred cats, who probably would have rather eaten the parents. In the future of The Island, Cosmopolitan and Maxim magazine are still being printed. Maxim still has hot chicks. So the obvious rule should occur to all critics of this movie; If Maxim still is being printed for horny men of taste, then the future isn’t THAT bleak.

General futurist movies, like Blade Runner, A.I., Minority Report, I Robot, and The Island, deal with a central theme of a world changing technology, and show in the background how different or not the world becomes in the future. The Island is slightly depressing in this respect, since the future is a lot like now. Maxim and Cosmo are still being printed. There are no spinners in the sunless sky, or three seashells in the potty. There’s some exotic futuristic shit that is side by side with stuff from now. A nice touch, there’s a Chevy SSR, aged to look almost kind of old.

So where does it stand in it’s very general category? Well, It’s about on par with I Robot? It’s no Minority Report, but neither was War of the Worlds. There’s a fair deal of stupidity in The Island, that prevents it from being to high in the ranks. Our heroes are a bright bunch, but the villains aren’t anyone to be memorable. Even though the main villain is Sean Bean, he has possibly the weakest character. You’ll see the face of Boromir, 006, or Partridge (from Equilibrium if you want dystopic and Sean Bean, look no further) not own up to any of those roles. Actually, I liked him, and didn’t see his character as evil… you kinda want to slap him in a friendly way for being stupid. Or take him to a bar, and buy him one last beer in America and tell him to get his ass to Mexico.

The best thing about the Island is the moral ambiguity. If you like cut and dry morality, look at their costumes. If you like a little more meat, pay attention and there’s at least half a sit or so at Steak and Shake that could be spent, after the movie, talking about who’s right and wrong in the picture.

So does it make the top 5 of the year? Is War of the Worlds sent to the other list for procrastinating aliens who were to stupid to pack some Cipro?

Well, the likability of all movies change with time. Some you didn't think much of, ferment in your mind and become favored classics. Others you can see just one more time, and ask why you bothered.

  1. Star Wars Episode III
  2. Batman
  3. Sin City
  4. Mr. & Mrs. Smith
  5. (tie) The Island / Constantine

What happened to War of the Worlds? I saw it a second time. The thrill was shot. But, Batman almost tied with Star Wars. I've only seen Batman once though. Star Wars is still due a few more viewings even. I do these with a bit of math and comparitive scoring. I only put nine movies on the chart; FF, WotW, Island, Sin City, Ep 3, Constantine, Batman, M&M S, and KoH. If Robots or HHGTTG had been on the list, I doubt the results would have been much different. Besides we all know that Kong, and Potter are looming... as is Narnia, and Underworld 2... If you have a top 5 of the year, there is a comment button... that says "no comment" or something like that.

No comments: