Imagine you are in a cave, you are chained down and forced to look forward on a wall. On this wall are projected shadows of a nearby bridge and its travelers going about their daily lives. This is all you've known all your life, this is your reality. There are no people, only the shadows of people, but you wouldn't know a real person if you saw one. It would be alien to you. You would probably need to change your shorts if you saw one. What if one day you were freed from that cave and you crawled out of a hole from the top of the cave, the light alone could blind you and your gut reaction would probably resemble Neo's reaction when he pops the top of his sarcophagus and sees the power plant for the first time. Now essentially this is your moment of enlightenment in more ways than one (considering the harsh light of day). But if we contrast it with Buddhist elements of enlightenment, this is the equivalent of the day Buddha sat under the Bodhi tree and achieved enlightenment. And just like Buddha, our cave dweller is now befallen by a great responsibility, to free the others from their caves so that all may attain enlightenment. He must lead them out of the cave.
Now of course this is a Michael Bay movie, so don't expect to have the spiritual side of the story, but the rest is all there in a cleverly packaged action rock'em sock'em roller-coaster ride. And I mean it's all there. The shadows, the cave, the escape, the blinding light, crash-coarse in ultimate truth and reality and the eventual liberation of all. (No spoilage there, it's a Hollywood movie, they are never surprising when it comes to storytelling)
Now on to the meat, the review. Bear with me, it's not over yet.
First off, the story... if you've gotten this far, you get the gist of it, but I'll clarify it some more though because it's not happening in 500 BCE. And it involves Eugenics. And the story, considering it's a Bay movie, is actually palatable and savoury like a good Hawg of ribs from Bar-B-Barn's.
In the future and if you are among the super rich, you can have clones made for spare parts and basically lengthen your life by about 70 years through this process. Now the clones live in an isolated environment deep underground in this super-structure where their lives are basically a huge gym with evil trainers. You don't know you are a clone, you believe you are a survivor of a plague ravaged earth and you are being maintained and cared for the eventual repopulation of the earth. All you know and want is to go to The Island to which you can only be chosen by a lottery system. The lucky few get to live topside on an island paradise. And of course it's all bullshit. And of course our hero who is a bit curious finds out what evil lies in those "dark satanic mills" - to borrow from William Blake. I won't say more because that would be telling and this review is long enough already and I'm not done yet.