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The Island (Blu-ray Review)

The Island was a bit of a surprise, because I wasn’t really expecting it when it arrived.  I’m not complaining, mind you.  The Island is a futuristic science fiction film directed by Michael Bay.  Yes, that Michael Bay.  The guy that directed Bad Boys, Transformers, The Rock, etc.  I missed it in theaters upon release.  It wouldn’t be until DVD and later on via HD-DVD (German import) that I would have the chance to experience the grand scope and splendor of The Island. Paramount Pictures has finally brought The Island to Blu-ray which will be released on the high definition format on June 21st, 2011.  This is an early Blu-ray review.  Now sit back and hold on tight, because we’re going to The Island!  


Film 

The Island would be Michael Bay’s follow up film to his Bad Boys II film.  It’s the story of  Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) and Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson) who are members of an indoor community created after much abuse on earth has left the planet uninhabitable for human life.  There is one place that is left for human living and that place is known only as The Island. Through a weekly lottery the members of the indoor community are selected to win a trip to the island to live it up.

Unbeknownst to the community they are actually clones and they are used for organ donation to the outside world.  Lincoln and Jordan decide to make a daring run for it.  On their heels is the overseer of the community Dr. Bernard Merrick (Sean Bean) who will use his unlimited resources to recover Lincoln and Jordan before it’s too late.

The Island rocks.  Yes, I said it rocks.  It’s kind of funny me saying that, because I’m not the biggest Michael Bay fan out there, so color me surprised when I thought this flick rocked. It’s as if Bay was put on a leash and was made to focus on structure and story-telling even for just a bit.  The character dynamics are great between Lincoln and Jordan.  They play it straight and innocently as a couple of new “visitors” to the big bad outside world.  I felt for them in that sense.

Once they leave the compound and journey into Los Angeles it never lets up from there.  Dr. Merrick hires a private contractor that takes care of “problems” with regards to “missing property” in Mr. Laurent (Djimon Hounsou).  Mr. Laurent has lots of toys at his disposal and will use them to try and acquire his targets.

I noticed that while I watched The Island there were not that many three second cuts or swirling 360 degree shots.  Don’t get me wrong, they were in there, but with less frequency, and they took longer.  A three second shot lasted maybe six-twelve seconds longer.  In a Michael Bay film that’s an eternity.  I appreciated that.  Production design was extremely top notch as were the amazing visual effects.  The Island is also just a great film to look at.  The scenery, the shots, set-ups, it’s all done on a massive scale.

I hope that once Michael Bay finishes up with the Transformers franchise he goes back to something like this.  The Island is a decent little sci-fi action romp.

 

Video 

The Island is presented in 1080p 2.35:1 widescreen.  For years, before developing a much more keen eye, I always figured this video presentation was a full blown five star.  As I said earlier in the review, I own the German HD-DVD import and that always looked mint, in my opinion.  With that being said, The Island on Blu-ray looks almost perfect.  There’s amazing grain levels, no DNR was used, edge enhancement is absent, as are dirt and scratches.  It’s the color level that is a bit on the over saturated side.  Just a tad, but it’s due to that bit of over color saturation that the film misses the coveted 5 star for video.  Other than the pumped up color level, The Island is where I want to be. 

Audio 

The Island is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1  Okay, this audio presentation is without a doubt REFERENCE quality.  There, I said it.  Dialogue is super crisp and clean and just leaps out without any artificiality.  Bullets are in your face as are the explosions, crashes, loud booms, etc.  The LFE needed a towel to wipe itself off afterward.  The bass was in my face.  When it comes to lossless, this is what it’s all about.  The Island is a DEMO worthy audio flick.  There’s no trying to save face here.  It will kick your home theater’s butt!

Special Features

Yes, even a two star, The Island gets elevated, because the special features are actually entertaining and have merit.  There’s an okay Michael Bay feature length commentary track that doesn’t come off as snotty, in addition to some very cool and entertaining featurettes that talk about (and show you) the great stunts and visual effects.  These featurettes are very cool and informative and not boring.  I approve.  I wish there was more.  They’re presented in standard definition, though.

  • Commentary by Director Michael Bay
  • The Future in Action
  • The Making of The Island
  • Pre-Visualization: Forward Thinking

Final Thoughts 

Considered to be one Bay’s biggest bombs of his directing career, The Island, ironically, is, in my opinion, his best film to date.  Yeah, even better than his entries in the Transformers franchise.  As I watched the film I could totally tell that Bay was more or less JUST the director for hire (considering he was also a producer), and maybe that’s why it works on those levels.  I know as of late he has had a lot of input on the script, but there didn’t seem to be any meddling with The Island’s script from his part.  He just did his thing and succeeded.  This is a recommended purchase if you’re inclined to add a demo worthy Blu-ray to your collection.

 

 

Order The Island on Blu-ray!

 

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Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

3 Responses to “The Island (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Yeah, some decent stuff in this flick. I’ve never had a desire to watch it again.

  2. Sean Ferguson

    I liked it but not as much as you did. Some good action though.

  3. Brian White

    I agree with u Gerard! This is one of Bay’s finest!

    The colors are very pumped up and saturated but I still like it.

    It has such an uplifting ending much like Blood Diamond.

    This often overlooked film is one of my favorites of all time!!!