The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 136 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Scarlett Johansson, Djimon Hounsou, Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Michael Clarke Duncan
Directed by: Michael Bay
Music by: Steve Jablonsky
Written by: Caspian Tredwell-Owen, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 21, 2011
"You have been chosen"
Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson lead an all-star cast as residents of an isolated, high-tech compound. But when they discover they're actually clones, and worth more dead than alive, they stage a daring escape. Battling an unfamiliar environment and an armed team of mercenaries in hot pursuit, they'll risk their lives and freedom to save those they left behind - and reveal the truth about The Island.
Midway through the 21st century, Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan McGregor) lives in a confined indoor community after ongoing abuse of the Earth has rendered most of the planet uninhabitable. One of the only places in the outside world still capable of sustaining life is an idyllic island where citizens are chosen to live through a lottery. Or at least that's what Lincoln and his fellow citizens are taught to believe; the truth is that Lincoln, like everyone he knows, is actually a clone who is kept under wraps to provide needed organs when the person who supplied his or her DNA falls ill. When he becomes aware that his existence is a fraud, Lincoln escapes to the outside world with a fellow clone, Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson), though the powers that be are determined to see that no one gets away alive.
Whether you like Michael Bay or don't like him there is no denying that he knows how to make an action film. I tend to like his work, probably because I am an action junkie that loves to see and hear stuff blow up, and few do it better. My first experience with The Island was when I purchased the DVD as a blind buy when it was first released and I have been a fan ever since. I enjoy the plot's purported dystopian future and how it is suddenly stripped away to reveal a society where the rich can buy an insurance policy that is grown from their DNA in order to supply organs to extend/sustain their lives when the need arises. The story is told from Lincoln Six Echo's perspective and we get to see the events unfold as he begins to question the façade around him. I love the sort of odd/perplexing loss of innocence experience that he and Jordan have once they get out into the real world. Don't get me wrong this certainly isn't indelibly affecting cinema but I appreciate the establishment of it characters and the scope of its narrative. It predominantly makes good use of its 136 minute runtime although it devolves into a series of eye rolling clichés by the middle of the third act. The good news is by that time we are invested enough in the characters that it really doesn't matter. The action is fun, the story is engaging and the cast is perfectly placed. I am most definitely a Ewan McGregor fan and have yet to see him play a character that I haven't liked. Scarlett Johansson's voluptuous form, exotic looks and credible acting make her easy to watch and I really like the paring of the two in this film. Integral supporting roles by the always reliable Sean Bean, Steve Buscemi, Ethan Phillips, Djimon Hounsou, and to a lesser degree Michael Clarke Duncan and Brian Stepanek only make it better. For me The Island is a rewarding action thriller that provides a great bit of escapism. I am not sure how many times I have watched it over the years but it is one of those movies that I never seem to tire of. I am thrilled that it has made its way to Blu-ray and am even happier to report that it looks and sounds better than ever. Read on..
The rating is for intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Island comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.4 Mbps.
This is a strong high definition video presentation that features resplendent colors and deep, image penetrating resolution. The video boasts clear definition, with defining sharpness that tends to highlight detail. Close ups and most mid level pans offer lucid visual acuity with and a tangible reach out and touch perspective. Contrast is boldly applied which slightly overdrives whites while adding punch to colors and dynamic quality to brighter sequences. Blacks are noise free and deep but lack the gradational quality which can offer a near infinite sense of depth. Shadow detail is revealing which provides dark scenes and backgrounds with appreciable depth of field. Colors are rich and vibrant, with deep, beautifully rendered primaries that stand out but aren't what I would describe as unnatural. The video has a filmic and grainy texture that rarely calls attention to itself during scenes with plenty of light. In dark sequences it occasionally takes on more prominence but isn't problematic. I also noticed in several instances that resolution dropped off slightly but this appears innate to the photography. Overall I was very pleased with the quality of this video presentation.
I have only given out a limited number of perfect technical ratings for audio. I don't issue them frivolously but have no reservations about giving them where appropriate. Being familiar with this soundtrack I had high hopes for a thrilling lossless sound experience and that is exactly what I got. This DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix begs to be played loud on a system capable of handling its aggressive and potent dynamic range. This is a wonderfully involving and dynamically energized sound design that features high level sonic detail, superb directional correlation, seamless integration, and rhythmically charged bass that is guaranteed to stimulate the senses. The chase sequence that begins at the opening of chapter 12 literally rocked my room and produced incredible sound pressure levels. It's an intense, all encompassing and seismic experience that is absolutely perfect for showing off your surround sound system. Dialogue is reproduced with lucid expression and exacting clarity that produced just the slightest hint of sibilance in the upper registers but didn't warrant a deduction. This is a sophisticated sound design that excels at balancing the opulent blend of sounds/effects contained in the soundtrack. The result is a three dimensional soundscape which places the listener within the various venues depicted onscreen. Detail and clarity are first rate which derives subtle auditory textures from the recording making them readily discernible. This audio presentation excels in the execution and reproduction of high quality surround sound that makes for a supremely enriching home theater experience. Crank it up, sit back and enjoy.
**Comparing the 2005 DVD release to this audio/video presentation is an exercise in futility as it bests it in ever regard.
- Commentary by director Michael Bay
- The future In Action - 15 minute featurette
- The making of The Island - 13 minute featurette
- Pre-visualization: Forward Thinking - 8 minute featurette
The Island isn't award winning cinema but it's an entertaining Michael Bay extravaganza that combines decent storytelling with rewarding action. I had high hopes for its audio/video presentation on Blu-ray Disc and am happy to report that it looks marvelous and features a reference quality DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix that is sure to please even the most discerning audio enthusiast. The supplement package is the same as those that have appeared on previous home video releases and offers a brief look behind the scenes at the production as told by the cast/crew. This Blu-ray Disc offering from Paramount presents The Island in its finest light since coming to home video. If you're a fan this is a highly recommended upgrade/addition to your collection.
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JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package