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Blu-ray Review: The Island

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Coming to Blu-ray Tuesday, June 21st is The Island. This 2005 Paramount movie stars Ewan McGregor (The Ghost Writer, Big Fish) and Scarlett Johansson (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Iron Man 2) as Lincoln Echo Six and Jordan Two Delta, two individuals living in a very structured hive, safe from the contaminated post-apocalyptic outside world. The residents hope for the day they will win the lottery and get to move to The Island, the only place that is still safe outside of their living quarters. But then Lincoln realizes that not everything is as it appears. For instance, the outside world is not post-apocalyptic. Lincoln and Jordan escape from the compound, pursued vigorously by a private security firm hired by compound director Dr. Bernard Merrick (Sean Bean, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings). Can they alert the public to their plight before they are killed or captured?

If you missed this movie when it came out, it would be a good idea to check out this Blu-ray release. It’s action packed, as expected for a movie directed by Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon), but it also has a lot of heart. The story of two naive individuals who figure out their world is wrong, and are willing to do anything to save not only themselves, but everyone else being manipulated, is a wonderful tale. Their plight is central to the story, and the Bay signature touches merely enhance the experience, rather than drowning it out.

Also, performances by not just McGregor, Johansson, and Bean, but also by supporting cast Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire, The Big Lebowski), Dijimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond), Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile, the upcoming FOX series The Finder), and Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager) are all flawless. These actors give some of their finest work. I’d elaborate, but I hate to spoil the twists and turns of the plot. Trust me. It’s obvious once you watch what I refer to for each one. 

 At around 135 minutes it may seem long to some, but the pacing is good in the first half, and frantic in the second, so there is little chance of getting bored. The special effects are top notch, and the futuristic hive is well designed. It is set in the future, but not very far, and still relatable. The new technology imaginings seem a bit far off for 2019, but still possible in our lifetimes.

Blu-ray is definitely the right way to experience The Island, as the extended freeway chase comes alive, with all of its crashes and explosions highlighted nicely in the 1080p high definition. Of course, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound really puts the viewer in the center of it all, assuming you have a system to take advantage of it. The action sequences get a little loud, so keep the volume control handy, but it’s all realistic, and picture and sound are crystal clear. It’s just hard to imagine that the film will look half as good without the proper technology to experience it, because of the sweeping vistas and high octane effects. 

 That being said, the bonus features are a bit thin. There are subtitles available in English, French, and Spanish, and a commentary track by Michael Bay, but including none of the actors. Three featurettes give a look at how the action sequences are shot and the futuristic architecture designed, but none last more than fifteen minutes. They are interesting, but far from satisfying, leaving you wanting more. Luckily, the price point is relatively low, so you won’t feel ripped off, even without many extras.

Go out and buy The Island on Blu-ray, available this Tuesday, June 21st.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com