Friday, January 27, 2006

God is dead

Last night I watched The Island with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson who live in a perfect world far from the outside world that is now contaminated. The entire population hopes for one thing -- to be picked to go to THE ISLAND, that last contamination-free zone on earth.

The world is one where the act of going to the bathroom monitors the levels of vitamins, nutrients, sodium, etc. in your body and your food choices are limited by what your instant urinalysis reads: like lay off the bacon, buddy, you got too much salt in your urine.

There is a psychiatrist/Father figure who helps you with your emotional problems and cameras everywhere to log your moods, talk, and body postures so that you can go to the psychiatrist to be adjusted and to talk about your problems. The population is not all younger than 30 and carries a good mix of people of all ages -- adult ages that is. There are no children, although there are a few pregnant women scattered here and there throughout the population, which is a surprise since the black clad guards monitor proximity between the sexes -- they keep them from touching, standing too closely together, or looking at each other too long. Everyone has a job, but it is nothing more than mindless assembly line drone work that doesn't stretch the imagination or the skills too much. Calm and stress free surroundings and jobs, three balanced, healthy meals a day with an eye towards good health, clean clothes and shoes, and people who care about your welfare constantly watching you. So what's not to like?


The environment is a special hatching ground for clones, walking, talking, feeling, thinking spare body parts for the rich and famous. Okay, so the feeling and thinking parts are blunted by the psychiatrist's programs and agenda, but some of the clones do begin to think and feel, touching off a hunt for the reason why and then a hunt for two escaped "products" determined to see the world and find their sponsors, leaving a trail of fire, death, and destruction in their wake as the hunters become the hunted.

One of the most interesting premises is that the United States would under write and sanction such an operation without having anyone on the premises to make sure the rules are followed or that the facility never undergoes periodic inspections by the government, but that is what keeps them operating under the radar in an underground military bunker in Nevada. Of course it doesn't help that the president also has a clone who has waited for 7 years to go the THE ISLAND and is still the unluckiest person there. The rules and morality are turned upside down in the clones' world but they are unaware there are rules or morality, just what they have been told and what they have been trained to do -- mindless work that keeps the rest of the percolating clone population alive.

Suspense builds slowly as you begin to realize along with Lincoln 6 Echo that something is missing from this idyllic world. He questions authority and has dreams that alert the sensors that something is definitely wrong. It is the beginning of the end for Lincoln 6 Echo's time in Eden and the beginning of his rapid descent from grace. Curiosity will not be tolerated -- or excused.

Despite the numerous and spectacular crashes, explosions, and death defying stunts, the movie still holds together and the characters could be living in a decommissioned military bunker beneath the hot sands of Nevada as I write this. Scientists and psychiatrists have always believed that they are GOD as they search for the Holy Grail of immortality and absolute control. The rest of us are merely lab rats in an endless maze drawn forward by the cheese of wealth, power, freedom, success, and/or fame. Along the way we check out the cul-de-sacs of career, family, fidelity, and infidelity, but basically we are moving toward a time when all our hopes, wishes, dreams, and desires will be fulfilled, providing scientists and psychiatrists with fodder for their experiments.

Who knows? Maybe Adam and Eve weren't expelled from Eden. Maybe they escaped out of curiosity and/or from boredom. And then there's the whole not having sex part of it. Lincoln and Jordan, after being in the world a few hours, discover kissing. One of the best lines in the movie is when they kiss for the first time, decide they like it, and Lincoln wants Jordan to "do that thing with your tongue again," to which she replies, "Open your mouth."

However, human nature being what it is, we soon chafe at the sameness of the corridors of the maze and seek to climb over the wall. Every time we end up killing GOD and trampling on his scientific data with a perverse and final glee, setting the rest of the rats free in the process. After all, we rats have to stick together.

All in all, The Island is a good movie that makes interesting points and makes you wonder just how far away 2019 really is.

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