Compiled by: Jack Foley
MICHAEL Bay's latest big action blockbuster, The Island, failed
to top the US Box Office over the July 22-25 weekend (2005), having
been beaten by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The futuristic action thriller, starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett
Johansson, only debuted at number four in the US box office, taking
in roughly $12.1 million and being beaten by current releases,
Wedding Crashers and Fantastic Four.
The word from US critics was also lukewarm, with many slating
it for being another dumb piece of cinema from Bay.
Variety, for instance, wrote that 'in his latest
exercise in sensory overkill, producer-helmer Michael Bay takes
on the weighty moral conundrums of human cloning, resolving them
in a storm of bullets, car chases and more explosions than you
can shake a syringe at'.
While Newsday opined: "The Island, which
belabors itself for about 45 minutes before you have any idea
what's afoot, is a clone itself - of Coma, a '70s medical thriller
that once seemed so far-fetched it had to be sci-fi."
The Chicago Tribune, meanwhile, felt that it
was 'classic Bay, except it's missing the crass director's fine-tuned
rhythm, his feel for adrenaline, his breakneck edits and sense
And the Washington Post warned: "If you
find yourself at The Island I have only three words of advice:
Vote yourself off."
There were some positives, however.
Hollywood Reporter wrote that it 'starts off
an aggressively derivative sci-fi thriller, then morphs into an
above-average chase melodrama'.
And the San Francisco Chronicle felt that 'on
its own terms, The Island is just fine'.
The New York Daily News felt that 'theaters
showing Michael Bay's futuristic thriller The Island won't be
offering any money-back guarantees. They just need to be sure
they have enough popcorn on hand'.
While the Chicago Sun-Times wrote that 'the
first half of Michael Bay's new film is a spare, creepy science
fiction parable, and then it shifts into a high-tech action picture.
Both halves work. Whether they work together is a good question'.
The New York Times was also a fan, writing 'this
lavish, exhaustingly kinetic film is smarter than you might expect,
and at the same time dumber than it could be'.
But Entertainment Weekly felt that 'The Island
begins with a whimper of interest as a cool-hued, cautionary exploration
of the ethics of cloning, and ends, in a hail of product placement,
with a dumb bang'.
And the Philadelphia Inquirer lamented that
'The Island could be read as a metaphor for societal ills if it
weren't so shamelessly dumb'.
But the final word goes to the Houston Chronicle,
which concludes this overview with the comment: "Its tale
was more tame and thoughtful when Steven Spielberg, having done
the related Artificial Intelligence, pitched it to Bay. But Bay,
being Bay, punched it up, hiring script doctors to mainline some
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