ⓘ The Island (2005 film)

The Island (2005 film)

ⓘ The Island (2005 film)

The Island is a 2005 American science fiction thriller film directed and co-produced by Michael Bay. It stars Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Michael Clarke Duncan and Steve Buscemi. The film is about Lincoln Six Echo, who struggles to fit into the highly structured world in which he lives, isolated in a compound, and the series of events that unfold when he questions how truthful that world is. After Lincoln learns the compound inhabitants are clones used for organ harvesting as well as surrogates for wealthy people in the outside world, he attempts to escape with Jordan Two Delta and expose the illegal cloning movement.

The Island cost $126 million to produce. The original score was composed by Steve Jablonsky, who would go on to score Bays further works. It opened on July 22, 2005, to mixed reviews, earning $36 million at the United States box office and $127 million overseas for a $162 million worldwide total.


1. Plot

In 2019, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta live with others in an isolated compound. Their community is governed by a set of strict rules. The residents believe the outer world has become too contaminated for human life with the exception of one contagion-free island. Every week, a lottery is conducted and the winner gets to leave the compound to live on the island.

Lincoln begins having dreams that he knows are not from his own experiences. Dr. Merrick, a scientist who runs the compound, is concerned and places probes in Lincolns body to monitor his cerebral activity. While secretly visiting an off-limits power facility in the basement where technician James McCord works, Lincoln discovers a live moth in a ventilation shaft, leading him to deduce the outside world is not really contaminated. Lincoln follows the moth to another section, where he discovers the "lottery" is actually a system to selectively remove inhabitants from the compound, where the "winner" is then used for organ harvesting, surrogate motherhood, and other important purposes for each ones wealthy sponsor, of whom they are identical clones.

Merrick learns Lincoln has discovered the truth, which forces Lincoln to escape. Meanwhile, Jordan has been selected for the island. Lincoln and Jordan escape the facility, and emerge in the Arizona desert. Lincoln explains the truth to her, and they set out to discover the real world. Merrick hires Burkinabe mercenary and former GIGN operative Albert Laurent to find and return them unharmed to the compound.

Lincoln and Jordan find McCord, who explains that all the facility residents are clones of wealthy and/or desperate sponsors, and are kept ignorant about the real world and conditioned to never question their environment or history. McCord provides the name of Lincolns sponsor in Los Angeles, and helps them to the Yucca maglev station, before mercenaries kill him. In New York City, Jordans sponsor, model Sarah Jordan, is comatose following a car crash and requires transplants from Jordan to survive. Lincolns sponsor, Tom Lincoln, gives Lincoln some explanation about the cloning institute, causing Lincoln to realize that he has gained Toms memories. Tom agrees to help Lincoln and Jordan but secretly contacts Merrick, who sends Laurent and the mercenaries to their location. Lincoln tricks Laurent into shooting Tom, allowing him to assume Toms identity.

Merrick surmises that a cloning defect was responsible for Lincolns memories and behavior, resulting in him and every future clone generation to question their environment and even tap into their sponsors memories. To prevent this, he decides to eliminate the four newest generations of clones. Lincoln and Jordan, however, plan to liberate their fellow clones. Posing as Tom, Lincoln returns to the compound to destroy the holographic projectors that conceal the outside world. Jordan allows herself to be caught to assist Lincolns plan. Laurent, who has moral qualms about the clones treatment after witnessing their fight for survival and learning that Sarah Jordan may not survive even with the organ transplants, helps Jordan. Lincoln kills Merrick, and the clones are freed, seeing the outside world for the first time. Lincoln and Jordan sail away in a boat together.


2. Cast

  • Michael Clarke Duncan as Jamal Starkweather / Starkweather Two-Delta
  • Kim Coates as Charles Whitman
  • Steve Buscemi as James "Mac" McCord
  • Ethan Phillips as Jones Three-Echo
  • Scarlett Johansson as Sarah Jordan / Jordan Two-Delta
  • Sean Bean as Dr. Merrick
  • Ewan McGregor as Tom Lincoln / Lincoln Six-Echo
  • Djimon Hounsou as Albert Laurent

3. Production


Principal photography for the island began October 24th 2004. The ruined buildings where Jordan and Lincoln sleep after leaving the subterranean compound are in Rhyolite, Nevada. The city parts were shot in Detroit, Michigan, with Michigan Central Station one of the notable locations. Other portions of the film were shot in the Coachella Valley, California.

Product placements

The computer in Merricks office at the Institute, which features a large, tabletop touchscreen display capable of detecting several forms of input, was rumored to be a large version of Microsoft PixelSense. The design was actually proposed by a technology adviser at MIT, who aimed for the production of a believable vision of futuristic technology.


4.1. Release Box office

The Island grossed $12.409.070 in over 3.100 theaters its opening weekend. The film went on to gross $35.818.913 domestically and $127.130.251 in foreign markets, for a worldwide total of $162.949.164.

Ultimately, the film was considered a box office bomb, which Edward Jay Epstein of Slate blamed on poor publicity. Epstein notes that research polls showed little awareness of The Islands impending release amongst its target audience and that trailers bore little relation to the films plot. He writes, "What really failed here was not the directing, acting, or story which were all acceptable for a summer movie but the marketing campaign."


4.2. Release Critical reception

The Island drew mixed reviews from critics. The review-agreggation website Rotten Tomatoes gives a score of 40%, with a weighted average of 5.35 out of 10 based on reviews from 200 critics. The websites "Critics Consensus" calls the film is smarter than you might expect, and at the same time dumber than it could be."

Reviewers were critical of the excessive product placement in the film.


4.3. Release Copyright infringement suit

The creators of the 1979 film Parts: The Clonus Horror, which was also about a colony that breeds clones to harvest organs for the elite, filed a copyright infringement suit in 2005. DreamWorks attempted to have the suit dismissed but a federal judge determined that there was indeed a copyright infringement case to be heard and scheduled the case to go to trial in February 2007. However, DreamWorks then settled the case out of court in late 2006 for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

Michael Marshall Smiths 1996 novel Spares, in which the hero liberates intelligent clones from a "spare farm", was optioned by DreamWorks in the late 1990s, but was never made. It remains unclear if the story inspired The Island, and so Marshall Smith did not consider it worthwhile to pursue legal action over the similarities.

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