Marlowe's Shade

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Save a Pro-Life Movie from Box Office Oblivion

I haven't seen it yet, but from the reviews it seem like all of us that value life should make a point of seeing Michael Bay's The Island. From the paltrey 12 million it grossed last week, it certainly needs a some help.

I'll rely on Jeff Rubin's synopsis and review in Human Events:

The story is a grabber: An evil -- well, evil to us radical right-to-lifers, anyway -- company makes clones of rich-and-famous “clients” for “insurance” against future illness (or mere aging), in the event of which the clones’ organs (or skin) will be harvested for transplant -- killing them, of course. Some female clones are used to conceive and bear children for infertile “clients” and then “disposed of.”

Naturally, the clones can’t know any of this. So they are kept in a high-tech underground complex and misled to believe that they and their keepers are the sole survivors of an environmental catastrophe that has rendered the outside world uninhabitable – all except for a single, paradisal island that can accommodate a select few inhabitants, who are chosen by a randomly occurring lottery. The “winners” of the lottery, it turns out, are actually being called up for harvesting.

All is proceeding smoothly – and profitably – until one of the clones, Lincoln Two Echo (McGregor) uncovers the truth about the “special purpose” for which he and his fellow clones have been bred. I won’t give away any more. Suffice to say that The Island, while a tad overlong at 2¼ hours, is never boring, and it builds to a conclusion that – incredibly for a sci-fi action film – brought me to the verge of tears (which is as close as I get). It also includes scenes and images so shockingly resonant of abortion, euthanasia, the mischaracterization of brain-damaged patients like Terry Schiavo as “vegetables,” and the medical exploitation of the unborn – all of which, in a scene near the end, is unmistakeably linked to the Holocaust -- that one can only ask oneself how such a movie ever got made – by the House of Spielberg, no less

Rubin praises the film not only for a sympathetic view of the sanctity of life, but being entertaining as well.

So, why is such a terrific film such a colossal flop? Does it prove that American audiences don’t want a film that challenges their “right” to exploit or destroy others’ lives to improve or lengthen their own? It may well. But it may also have something to do with the critical mugging this film received. Perhaps, too, Dreamworks, being inexplicably insensible to the moral-political implications of the film, never thought of marketing it specifically to conservatives and Christians, the way Mel Gibson did The Passion of the Christ. In any event, it’s probably too late to save the film’s theatrical run -- but here’s hoping they wake up in time to salvage its potential DVD sales. God willing, The Island will be just the beginning, not the end, of Hollywood’s recovery of moral sanity.

As there is a brief sexual interlude (although supposedly tame by current standards) and some gruesome scenes of the "processing" of the clones this is probably not a family movie. But I'll be seeing it this weekend and may even try to catch it in the second run theaters. If you would like to see Hollywood produce more movies like this, rather than dreck like "Million Dollar Baby", I encourage you to do the same.
papijoe 7:10 AM