Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Island Bay

So why was The Island such a huge failure? Here is a Michael Bay movie coming in fourth to three movies that have been out for a week or more, including one (Fantastic Four) that is flat-out terrible.

The bad reviews are irrelevant, since Bay always gets panned--except to the extent that many reviews are better than usual, giving the story some grudging props in spite of everything.

I think the title is a major factor. You can't tell what the movie is about. The Island is the title of a movie that either features an actual island, or maintains the mystery of an island until near the end. But we learn that there is no island halfway through the movie, or halfway through the trailer, so now the movie is named after something that you go in knowing doesn't exist or matter. Not to mention, when you hear it, you still don't know what the the movie is about. If it were actually about the mystery of the island, that would be one thing, but it isn't.

The movie should be called Clones on the Run. That is a terrible title, but you would know what it was about when you heard it, and come on, could it have done any worse?

Another guess is that the slightly twisty plot is a bit more complex than Bay fans want to bother with, while the blow-em-up implausible action is too dumb for fans of serious science fiction.

Speaking of serious science fiction, clones are so Arnold in The Sixth Day. It's old hat, and we didn't care the first time. In fact, cheesy sci-fi on the ethics of cloning for spare parts goes back farther than that, to this MST3K subject.

Someone I spoke with today said the most likely reason was Ewan McGregor's lack of box office clout.

What do you all think? Why didn't you see The Island? Hollywood/Dreamworks/poor Michael Bay wants to know.

Maybe we're asking the wrong question. Maybe it shouldn't be, why didn't people see it? Maybe the question is, why would people want to see it? And maybe there isn't an answer. I can't think of one, myself. And maybe that is the answer to the other question. Thoughts?


Steve F said...

I think you hit on most of the reasons. The trailers ruined the story for smart people, but didn't explain enough for dumb people. It's episodic with two movies rolled into one, and thus gets the worst of both worlds.

But the main reason is that Ewan McGreggor is a a girly-man, not an action hero. I mean, if you look at Arnold, Stallone, Bruce Willis, Hugh Jackman, Jet Li, or Russell Crowe, it's pretty clear that any one of them could kick my ass. But Ewan? I'd just look at him funny and he'd start crying that he chipped a nail.

It's not a lack of star power. He did fine playing a slightly fey 1960s proto-metrosexual in Down With Love. It's that he's a wussy.

lyan! said...

My reason, other than It looked lame, was that it seemed like it was trying to go into that realm of scifi that's more about philosophizing versus story crafting. Asking questions like what does it mean to be human or somesuch. Then there's lots of explosions and MacGreggor spooning Johannson.
It seemed to me that the film doesn't have a consistant target theme, and that, to me, is enough to keep me away.

The fact that I'm in Japan now helps too.

Anonymous said...

It was Michael Bay trying to do something serious. I also didn't see "Pearl Harbor", nor "Bad Boys 2" (all 160 minutes of it). When a trailer explains a plot twist, I get annoyed waiting for characters to slowly encounter that plot twist. You know they're eventually going to find out there's no island, so it feels like filler until they actually get there.