starring Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Sean Bean, Djimon Hounsou, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ethan Phillips, Max Baker and Steve Buscemi
story by Caspian Tredwell-Owen
written by Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci
directed by Michael Bay
I liked this movie. It is thought provoking and disturbing, and it’s fast and furious. Michael Bayis a hyper-action kind of director. For comparison, think The Andromeda Strain (1971, directed by Robert Wise, starring Arthur Hill), meets Soylent Green (1973, directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Charleton Heston), meets Logan’s Run (1976, directed by Michael Anderson, starring Michael York). Logan’s Run especially, which I think is one of the greatest science fiction films. Throughout The Island I kept thinking, “This is another remake of Logan’s Run!”
“The Community” is an underground science facility occupying a former military bunker in Arizona. It is peopled by clones of people on the outside world who have commissioned copies of themselves as a source of spare parts - compatible organs in case of medical need. But the clones themselves are unaware. They believe the fiction that the outside world has been poisoned by some contamination and they have been raised thinking that they are survivors, only safe inside their sheltered community. To keep the population under control, the corporation that owns them creates the fiction of contamination and offers hope of escape to “The Island,” the last uncontaminated paradise left on Earth. The reality is that The Island is a euphemism for death, and selection to go there indicates their time has come to be vivisected and harvested. It’s gruesome the way human beings are reduced to being just production units, referred to as“products.”
As both a product and a mirror of popular culture’s comprehension of clones and cloning, the story is pregnant with mistakes. The single greatest error is the idea that Life is the ultimate good, and so the very definition of a Good Life is Long Life. This is a necessary premise to account for the willingness of people to spend fantastic amounts to clone themselves. Well, life is not the ultimate good, meaning that there are some things worthy of sacrificing life for.
Next, a clone is a copy in appearance only. Intelligence, personality, and health of a clone would not mimic that of the original host, because heredity is not just a matter of genetics, but of environment as well.