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Mr Beaks washes up on Michael Bay's ISLAND, but couldn't find a single coconut or seashell!

Hey folks, Harry here... I couldn't resist having Mr Beaks, the most literate of AICN contributors, cover the set of the latest Michael Bay film, the director that is often times maligned as being the most illiterate of film directors. Something that I wildly disagree with. With the exception of PEARL HARBOR, I have loved every single one of his films, even the fascistly evil BAD BOYS 2. I can't wait to see THE ISLAND, and my bet is that when we see a trailer - our jaws will be unhinged at the size of Bay's latest John Holmes blockbuster! Till then, here's Mr Beaks with the word and the visions he saw...

It’s Day Sixty-Five on THE ISLAND. A stuntman is dangling thirty feet in the air, waiting to be sucked into the whirling blades of an extractor fan which will materialize later through the magic of CG. Hanging there next to him is a camera operator, strapped into a harness, but tilted at an angle that makes a forward pitch to the not-cement-but-still-plenty-solid floor entirely too possible for this vertigo-prone reporter. Meanwhile, another fan – this one very real and very massive – whips debris furiously about the Nigel Phelps-designed vent room set as crew members rush about preparing for the next take, which will briefly bring the stuntman back down to earth only to be whipped skyward yet again a few minutes later.

And Michael Bay says he’s bored.

Which elicits the obvious follow-up, “If this is boring, what excites you?”

Bay laughs, and confesses somewhat convincingly that, no, this really is kinda fun. But for a guy who’s orchestrated the sinking of “Battleship Row” in Pearl Harbor, staged a demolition derby through the traffic choked streets of San Francisco, and sent a Hummer crashing through a hillside shanty town in brawny, fuck-the-world homage/counterpoint to a classic Jackie Chan stunt, the torpor is somewhat understandable.

Happily for Bay, this shoot hasn’t been all studio bound derring-do. Before being turned loose to scope out the gargantuan sets taking up two Downey Studio soundstages, he plunks me down in visual effects supervisor Eric Brevig’s crew chair (daunting, since the guy’s a legend for his work with Rob Bottin and Alex Funke on TOTAL RECALL), and produces a DVD that reveals pretty much what I expected: despite today’s relative onset uneventfulness, Michael Bay is once again makin’ lots of mayhem.

With a twist. Because, more than any other film in his calamitous oeuvre, THE ISLAND is a foray into serious and, yes, *brainy* science-fiction; thus, requiring a set-up devoid of explosions, but rife with calm and careful exposition that establishes characters beyond their automobile and apparel preferences (as Bay says, “It’s a slow build”). And, much as I have adored the extreme demolition of some of his previous works, the emphasis on narrative has toned down to a degree the old, familiar freneticism while maintaining the filmmaker’s sure sense of epic scale – something that is fully on display in the marketing presentation he proudly shows me on monitor while cast and crew shuffle about behind us.

So, what is THE ISLAND? It’s the promise of Eden made to a small colony of humans toiling away at their ostensibly important jobs several hundred feet beneath the Earth’s surface, which is now, save for the titular locale, completely uninhabitable in the wake of a planetary holocaust. The decision of who gets to go to The Island is relegated to a lottery system, with one lucky winner being chosen periodically (much to a frowning Elgin Baylor’s continual chagrin). Though the odds against topside deliverance are high, the colonists are also instilled with the knowledge that their work is contributing to the Earth’s eventual repopulation.

Ewan McGregor plays “Lincoln Six-Echo”, a dutiful worker bee tinged with a bit of curiosity touched off by, among other things, recurring nightmares in which he finds himself immersed in water. He’s also something of a rebellious character, imbibing extra rations of coffee and bacon that raise his carefully monitored sodium intake above desired levels. This whimsicality is noted and addressed by Merrick, the settlement’s facilitator who is intrigued by Lincoln’s wishes that there was more to life. But while Lincoln has The Island, for Merrick (Sean Bean), this is it; the promise of the lottery is denied to the staff, which makes their sacrifice even more poignant.

That is, until the big first act reveal that Lincoln’s yearnings are more than the stuff of whimsy. There is more. Lots more. In fact, there’s a whole, populated, uncontaminated world a mere fifteen years from now* carrying on without any knowledge of the top secret cloning operation hidden away in the desert southwest of the United States, maintained by a private corporation catering to a very rich, mortality fearing clientele (the company is also in cahoots with the Pentagon ala Boeing or Lockheed Martin for the development of disposable clone soldiers that don’t at all look like Temuera Morrison). In other words, Lincoln is a flesh-and-blood spare parts receptacle for some wealthy chap named Tom Lincoln, a revelation that quickly galvanizes him and, in turn, sends him on the run with a female acquaintance in the comely embodiment of Scarlett Johansson, their escape fueled by a thirst for answers and, most importantly, the right to live their own life.

That’s the set-up; what ensues is a big, balls-*through*-the-wall chase flick (with Djimon Honsou in the Javert role) that features both earthbound and airborne action meticulously choreographed by Bay and his usual cohorts (e.g. Brevig and 2nd Unit ace Kenny Bates) who’ve been with him since THE ROCK. And when I say “choreographed”, I mean “practical”. Once again, Bay and his certifiably insane stunt team have eschewed studio bound digital trickery for literally high-speed chases that are seamlessly enhanced in post with carefully integrated CG (a methodology that worked magnificently for the freeway pursuit in BAD BOYS II, which delivered the thrills largely lacking in the similarly set sequence from THE MATRIX RELOADED).

This is something you apparently can’t do in downtown Los Angeles anymore; ergo, Bay’s desire for physical verisimilitude forced the crew to shoot Detroit-for-L.A. back last fall. While hanging out in the Motor City, they also cleverly availed themselves of the abandoned Michigan Central Depot, a vast, beautiful, high-ceilinged structure in which Bay staged the grand finale of a narratively crucial set-piece that brings together the clone and the cloned. I got a chance to watch most of this sequence, and, as with the other footage I saw, it was sans CG, but expertly done, and with a clearer sense of geography then we’ve seen in a Bay film to date. Built in 1913, the station plays host to a multiple car chase with ample élan, and Bay, as is his wont, shoots the hell out of it from every angle, juxtaposing the lovely Beaux-Arts architecture with the frenzy of a multi-car smash-‘em-up (imagine that new commercial with the waltzing Cadillacs, only this time they’re slam dancing). To the best of my knowledge, he’s the first filmmaker to make such extensive use of the location. Judging from what I saw, he won’t be the last.

What I did not get to see, sadly, is the much-ballyhooed-around-set WASP set piece, which was described to me numerous times as an urban counterpart to the Endor speeder chase (better than Ewan and Scarlett doing battle with a bunch of lithe, scantily clad, possibly rabid debutantes… or maybe just “different”). Everyone I talked to seems confident that this will prove to be *the* ride of the summer, and none are more enthusiastic than Bay and Brevig. I’m just happy that it’ll be the product of a lengthy location shoot (several weeks for five pages), and wasn’t overseen by Tim Story.

And what, pray tell, are WASP’s? Why, they’re the nifty flying motorcycle contraption that Ewan and Scarlett are running toward below (that’s Bay operating the camera off to the left):

Essentially, it’s a really cool, wheel-less upgrade of those flying hogs from MEGAFORCE, outfitted with a swiveling rear shotgun seat for a gunner, and no Barry Bostwick. Though I didn’t get a chance to talk much with Ewan*, I have to imagine the motorcycle enthusiast in him got a kick out of getting hauled around on one of those puppies at 70 mph. Apparently, Scarlett, described by most on-set as the consummate trooper (though I did hear a dreaded “d” word slip out on occasion), was right there with him in the stunt department. That said, neither one was crazy enough to attempt this jaw-dropper:

That’s the façade of a building in downtown Los Angeles mocked up on the Downey Studios lot.

While I love sharing these photos, I dearly wish I could share with you what was the absolute highlight of my visit (aside from the below incident, of course): a tour of “Centerville”, which is the crew’s nickname for the clones’ buried habitat currently taking up a goodly portion of Downey Studios’ largest soundstage (a converted Boeing manufacturing plant). As far as futuristic underground cities go, it’s fairly minimalist – lots of glass and grays – but the scale impresses nonetheless – to give you an idea, it’s expansive enough to warrant an extra call of 500 or so. The main segment of the set is two levels with a pair of soon-to-be functioning elevators; there’s also a communal dining room and a bar (despite the generous space, the architects have wisely decided against a mechanical bull), along with the Department of Operations where Lincoln is employed under quite nefariously false circumstances. (He thinks he’s helping to repopulate the Earth; the reality is… he so isn’t.) Bay is understandably nervous about how he’s going to light this monstrous set (“It’s too big”, he complains), but, with cinematographer Mauro Fiore backing him up, I trust he’ll figure it out.


Right before lunch, I wound up back on the “smaller” soundstage watching Bay rack up takes of Ewan and Scarlett jogging down a steel platform in the form fitting jumpsuit that’s apparently the fashion of the cloning facility. As a huge crane swooped down and reset, presumably capturing the trademark fluid motion that typifies a Michael Bay film, I found myself chatting with the director and Dreamworks production chief Walter Parkes, both of whom were keenly interested in hearing the buzz on their summer competition. Slated for release July 22nd, a date everyone swears this currently on-schedule production is going to make without trouble, the pair seem mildly concerned that they’re “under the radar”. We rattle off the big ticket films – KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, REVENGE OF THE SITH, BATMAN BEGINS and THE WAR OF THE WORLDS – all of which already have a marketing jump on THE ISLAND by virtue of their teaser trailers (it sounds like you’ll receive your first glimpse of this one in March). Sure, there’s the increasingly relevant cloning issue, the unstoppable sex appeal of Scarlett, and the fact that, if Lucas doesn’t screw the bantha, audiences are going to fall in love all over again with Ewan after having their hearts broken in the final reels of the last STAR WARS film ever, ever, *ever*. But none of these feel like sure-fire selling points.

Ultimately, THE ISLAND is a smart, provocative package that will reflect the evolving sensibility of Michael Bay, a director oft derided for soulless spectacle, but, let’s face it, one of the few guys working today capable of conveying the epic, budget-busting scale that used to signify grandiose Hollywood entertainments (a dying breed as a result of the town’s newfound spasm of spending consciousness). I can already tell you he’s nailed the massive scope; Bay shot the hell out of his desert locations with the same bravado evinced by Peter Jackson in his lil’ hobbit movies. The only question left unanswered is whether he’s imbued it with a heart.

And that brings me to the most astonishing thing I saw all day: a quiet scene between Lincoln and Merrick in which the former, restrained by design to a fifteen year-old’s education, struggles to articulate his growing unease caused by nightmares and a general sense that something in his world is simply *not right*. There’s space here, pauses even. Ewan takes on the mannerisms of an awkward teenager, while Bean hangs back and observes his charge, allowing him room to vent, but reining him in deftly whenever possible. It’s a lovely, poignant moment well played by two very talented actors, and even if it does eventually get cut up into five second takes (and I’m not saying this will happen), that calm will remain.

Bay’s always been good with the action, but the calm, particularly in PEARL HARBOR, always seemed forced. This time, however, it feels right.

Better yet, it ain’t boring.

Faithfully submitted,

Mr. Beaks

* I’ve been told that Spielberg regretted setting MINORITY REPORT in the too distant future, and felt that this material, which he brought to Bay’s attention, would connect more tangibly with audiences.

** I would be remiss if I failed to note that I did receive an unexpected close-up of his left butt cheek as he cheerfully showed off his bruised but healing bottom to his director, the splendor of which was mostly lost on me; however, lemme tell ya, the hours of vivid detail demanded by Moriarty was exhausting and off-putting in equal measure.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4 a.m. CST

    "Ultimately, THE ISLAND is a smart, provocative package that wil

    by SmarkJobber

    Yes, because "Bad Boys II: Back in Blacktion" was Chekov compared to the first "Bad Boys." I'm sure "The Island" will be Bay's "2001: A Space Odyssey."

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:16 a.m. CST

    "Ultimately, THE ISLAND is a smart, provocative package that wil

    by DocPazuzu

    Yes, but does it have the emotional resonance of Graham Greene?

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:17 a.m. CST

    Bay being subtle? Yeah and I'm . . . uhh . . . some sort of rea

    by Tall_Boy

    I think "slow burn" for a Bay movie means "we only blow up 3 cars in the first 20 minutes"

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:18 a.m. CST

    "Ultimately, THE ISLAND is a smart, provocative package that wil

    by Tall_Boy

    Yes, but will it have ... uh ... some sort of really bizzare thing that could happen ... GODDAMNIT, I need to go to bed.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:54 a.m. CST

    "Ultimately, THE ISLAND is a smart, provocative package that wi

    by talbuckin

    Yes, and it will be as fascinating as Finnegan

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 5:01 a.m. CST

    I hope there are explosions.

    by DarkStarEX

    I love explosions. It's the only reason I watched any of Bay's flicks. The cat can make some things blow up real good.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 5:35 a.m. CST

    Sounds like fun to me....

    by castaway

    I am a big fan of Bay's work as far as popcorn movies go and with this sucker coming out on my birthday along with Aeon Flux (so I've heard) that weekend is going to kick ass for me this year...a lot better than when I had Catwoman coming out on my birthday week last year. Remember kids: "losahs whine about their best, winnahs go home and fuck the prom queen!"

  • "Scarlett, the consummate trooper was right there with him, and I have to imagine Ewan got a kick out of getting hauled around with those puppies at 70 mph."

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:36 a.m. CST


    by Lazarus Long

    Only good Michael Bay film: The Rock, and only from a cheap thrills standpoint. It sure as hell ain't no Last Boy Scout. Sean Connery's best line ever: "Losers always whine about 'doing their best'. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen". Gold.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Bay was on the right track...

    by moviemaniac-7

    until the final half hour of Armageddon. After that (Pearl Harbor and BB2) he hasn't done a decent thing yet. The man was solidly on his way to become the cinematic son of John McTiernan, but he screwed up. On the other hand, I am quite excited for this movie. This will not be an intellectual movie or anything deep, but some fun popcorn flick. Nothing more. And that opinion is based on everybody involved but Bay.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:37 a.m. CST

    So this is what Dreamworks did with the rights to Spares?

    by supertoyslast

    I am hugely looking forward to this film because it is science fiction with Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, despite it being directed by Michael Bay. But I am disappointed that since they only took the basic premise of Michael Marshall Smith's excellent novel (seriously one of the best science fiction books I've ever read) about clones being used for spare parts by the rich, this will mean that I will never get a big-screen version of Spares. This is a shame because I would have loved to have seen a smaller-budget gritty version fairly faithful to the book. But how faithful any movie could be I don't know, since it has some terrifyingly gruesome images and a complete turnaround halfway through the plot that very few filmmakers would have the guts to handle. I just hope that Michael Marshall Smith gets a story credit.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 8:19 a.m. CST

    what s the dreaded d word? dumb, dull? diva?

    by Windowlicker74

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 9:02 a.m. CST

    "a methodology that worked magnificently for the freeway pursuit

    by SirBiatchReturns

    are you fucking kidding me? Ok... you may have not like Matrix Reloaded. You're not alone. Though i don't understand the venom for it, I'm willing to accept the fact that not everyone can agree on something. But cmon...The freeway in Reloaded was fucking incredible stylistically. It really does set a new standard for action film. The Bad Boys 2 freeway scene was really well done too. It had intensity. this is true. But the freeway scene in Reloaded took the whole style level of freeway action to another level. and as much as some people bitch, i'm sure that sooner or later, Hollywood is going to copy most if not all of those elements. From what you were saying, it looks like it has already influenced Michael Bay. Then fanboys alike will come online and talk about how Bay's scene was SO MUCH cooler when in actual fact it is probably the same idea rehashed.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 9:51 a.m. CST

    d = DIVA. Way to be bitchy gossip and annoyingly coy, Beaks.

    by Wesley Snipes

    And the BB2 freeway chase would've been cool if it had had a proper climax to it. It just sorta stops.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:04 a.m. CST

    You had me until "form-fitting jumpsuit".

    by FluffyUnbound

    Attention science fiction people: I don't know what people will wear in the future, but I do know that they will NOT wear form-fitting jumpsuits, and they will NOT be nudists. Everything else is up for grabs, but you are no longer permitted to use either of these tropes. And about the Reloaded freeway scene: it's technically brilliant but strangely uninvolving. It's better than the chase scenes in the first Matrix in the way that the chase scenes in Smokey and the Bandit II are "better" than the chase scenes in Smokey and the Bandit I. They spent more and did more and put more on the screen, but the one thing they couldn't do was make you care. And somehow when you say "Djimon and Ewan and Scarlett" you shouldn't also be saying, "in a Michael Bay film". But hey, anything that gets Djimon work is OK by me.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:28 a.m. CST

    He's literate because he says ERGO.

    by Gilkuliehe

    I'm literate too, ERGO, this guy is fucking nuts. "Bay's evolving sensibility"? The freeway chase in MATRIX RELOADED lacking thrills? I get it. Literate = Michael Bay's cocksucking fan. Ergo I'm gone.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:33 a.m. CST

    No, the award for Most Illiterate Director goes to Uwe Boll.

    by Ribbons

    Whale biologist.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:58 a.m. CST

    "And about the Reloaded freeway scene: it's technically brillian

    by DocPazuzu

    My sentiments exactly. Much like the fight scenes in the same film they were cleverly orchestrated and shot but provoking nothing in the viewer but a weird sense of being disconnected. Kinetic but utterly unvisceral.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:08 a.m. CST

    I liked this movie...

    by Osmosis Jones

    ...when it was called Dark City.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:23 a.m. CST

    The D Word

    by NiceMarmot

    Don't know about "dumb" or "diva", but "dull" is certainly the first word that came to me. Nice rack aside, she's got all the screen presence of a gum wrapper.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:37 a.m. CST

    My sentiments exactly. Much like the fight scenes in the same fi

    by SirBiatchReturns

    an attempt at lame fanboys to rise above something that is obvioiusly better than them. Look, fans of the matrix wanted great, cleverly orchestrated action scenes. If it was one thing that Reloaded achieved, it was that it gave you those cleverly orchestrated action scenes. You wanted action. they gave you action. stop trying to get all emo on it. "There was something about Neo's presence that didn't quite rivet me..." get the fuck outta here with that arrogant shit.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:41 a.m. CST

    before people throw a fit...

    by SirBiatchReturns

    yes, i'm part flaming. but i find it ridiculous that people trash Reloaded when they know that, despite how they feel about it, it was a well thought movie. The WB bros clearly had a look they were going for, whether you liked it or not. Its like a very well drawn painting. you may not like it, but it doesn't mean that it is crap. I personally find Lord of the Rings boring as fuck. I could care less about the characters and the hobbits. but i'm not about to start saying "its un-involving" or "it was crap." face it, those who rag hard on the 2nd sequel just want to feel better about themselves. its as though not liking the well-respected Matrix makes them better human beings.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:43 a.m. CST

    The fact that he puts the car chase in Bad Boys 2 above Matrix R

    by Fearsme

    ...shows that this piece is little more than fanboy worship for a director underserving of any praise. And im betting Beaks isnt even a fan of Bay, but like all wannabees, when in the presence of someone who has succeeded in the business, they become chronicly unable to do anything but shower praise upon even the most underserving of hacks. If Uwe Boll gave someone a set visit, theyd be like 'youre great... alone in the dark was underappreciated..." Maddening, and overtly wordy.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:53 a.m. CST

    NEWSFLASH! From Reuters: "McGregor and Johansson to film Animal

    by SmarkJobber

    "Professional flesh-balloon Harry Knowles expected to weep uncontrollably upon viewing."

  • That may be the worst end to a trilogy ever. And who said Last Boy Scout is better than The Rock? You need to lay off the crystal meth before watching movies. I LOVED Boy Scout when I was younger. Caught it on TV recently and realized what a disjointed, cheesy turd it was. Damon Wayans is absolutely horrible. The one-liners here and there are still funny, but overall it's a piece of shit. The Rock, however, holds up well, thanks in large part to Ed Harris, Connery, Cage and Michael Biehn. And THAT car chase is the one we should all be talking about. And that chick from Vegas that plays Cage's girlfriend. God, I wanna nail her.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 12:11 p.m. CST


    by Mafu

    Generally I'm not a fan of Michael Bay. I admire his well-crafted action scenes, but that's the only thing I've ever admired about his films. After reading Mr. Beaks's review, I'm now officially interested in "The Island." Ewan McGregor, Sean Bean, Djimon Hounsou, Miss Scarlett J... that's a great cast. I hope Bay's shooting script and editing allow some drama and tension to build, concluding with a few of his trademark badass action sequences. And, hey, it's a fucking science fiction movie! Yeah, baby. I'm still pessimistic about this film, but something tells me it'll be Bay's magnum opus. Did I just write that?

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Fearsme and My Friennndssss

    by mrbeaks

    You'd lose that bet. I like what Bay's up to with his Platinum Dunes outfit (dug BB2 and TCM and reviewed 'em both here; I'm sure you whinged in the talk backs); plus, I admire a guy who shoots *huge* practical action sequences rather than confining himself to the studio. Also, learn a bit about the technical end of filmmaking (which you probably still haven't done, oh, fledgling one), and you'll see how the chase in BAD BOYS 2 would compare favorably to MATRIX RELOADED. And hot skippin' Yahweh, it's about time I spawned a talk back catch phrase! How I didn't see that one coming when I typed it means I must be slipping. In any event, I earned it. Do me proud!

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 12:19 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't say there's much buzz around this movie, but it seems

    by Ribbons

    Great cast, great concept, great action director. If they do a good job of getting word out it'll probably get the audience it needs.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 12:23 p.m. CST

    "an attempt at lame fanboys to rise above something that is obvi

    by DocPazuzu

    And you're calling me arrogant? Contrary to what you're assuming about me, in your usual alarmist assholic way, I don't hate the Matrix or its sequels. The talkbacker (Flim) who used the phrase "overstimulation" hit the nail on the head. Van Helsing -- an infinitely worse movie -- had the same effect on me, albeit on a much larger scale. If you want a flame war, I'll give you one. Just remember that your whining about any cinematic indignity you perceive to have been visited upon you by the rest of us "arrogant" talkbackers can never be taken seriously after your comments on White Chicks. Bitch.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 1:08 p.m. CST

    PLease invluce the following scene in this movie:

    by vekt0r

    A group of determined people walking in slow motion! Oh, and on an aircraft carrier too!

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Did the freeway scene come before or after the restaurant scene

    by FluffyUnbound

    I can't remember. Because if it was AFTER, maybe that was the problem. Absolutely nothing that occurred in the Matrix universe after that restaurant scene could be taken seriously, even a little. Not that Reloaded was any great shakes BEFORE that scene, but after that scene no matter what they put on the screen, I couldn't help but think, "Yeah, whatever. Dorks." But if we talk about Reloaded anymore that guy who used to tell me that I would learn the error of my ways when he and his band of Neo-ites rose and toppled the system might show up again. And we can't have that.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Those Dirty Apes...

    by KidCthulhu

    They remade Parts:The Clonus Horror without Peter Graves...Bastards.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 2 p.m. CST

    Reloaded was all right. It's Revolutions that was the steaming p

    by SirBiatchReturns

    exactly. Revolutions ended a great franchise terribly and went with the "generic sci-fi ending". but people who say Reloaded was crap, and i repeat, need to lay off the crack.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 2:02 p.m. CST

    DocPazazu, fanboys were over-stimulated?!? hahaha. great choice

    by SirBiatchReturns

    In the same way that you probably bust your nut extremely early, you can't even focus on well choreographed action for more than 30 seconds. Thats right. You need it Blade Trinity style. ZOOM IN! CRACK! FLASH OF JESSICA BIEL TITTY! ZOOM OUT!

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 2:06 p.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    Please feel free to start making sense in your posts.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 2:21 p.m. CST

    We're Way off topic here...aren't we?

    by triflic

    Matrix Reloaded was a fantastic film, which was the PERFECT follow-up to the much less complex original Matrix film. The capital crime was that all of the interesting and great things they set up in this film were paid off sooooooo poorly in Revolutions, that it was hurt retroactively. Still, for my money, RELOADED is the best in the series.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 2:35 p.m. CST

    a Bay flick that I can respect as well as be entertained by?

    by zabbadoo

    All righty then. Looks like this is going to be a bumper crop o' really good movies this year. The last couple of years seems to have gotten all sentimental and foo foo. I hope that this year is the end of that trend. Bleh!

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 2:52 p.m. CST

    Uh, isn't this just a remake?

    by Ziggurats'R'Us

    Has anybody seen "parts: the clonus horror" on MST3K, or even the original unriffed version? The plot seems remarkably similiar.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:30 p.m. CST

    Reloaded was crap.

    by FluffyUnbound

    And aren't we forgetting something important about this set report? Think of it this way: if you did a set report about "Armageddon", and knew only what the movie was about and saw the sets and met the actors, you might think to yourself when you left, "Hmmmmm...I'd like to see that." It was only when you were sitting in the theatre that you thought to yourself, "Arma...Arma...Armageddon out of here!" Face it, Bay specializes in taking interesting-sounding ideas and ruining them.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Of course we're off topic, this is AICN

    by Jon L. Ander

    Anyone remember that thread that turned into a discussion about whether Han and Chewie share the same toilet facilities on the Millenium Falcon? Oh and for what its worth, I think The Island would have been better if it actually did feature Barry Bostwick.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 4:36 p.m. CST

    I always figured Chewie used a litter box.

    by FluffyUnbound

    I wonder if when he got shit caught in his fur he went to Han and went "Rarrrrrrrr...arrr..rarrrarrrr!" and Han got back there and helped him out.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Where's BladeRunnerUnit?

    by DocPazuzu

    He always shows up for the Michael Bay talkbacks.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 5:42 p.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    I'm receptive to (constructive or informative) criticism, but if you ask me, the script-by-commitee was what killed 'Armageddon.' Sure, the direction wasn't all that great in and of itself, but Fellini couldn't have made that toilet paper into something watchable. "This is how we fix machines in Russia." WRENCH!

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:04 p.m. CST

    Bay the cinematic son of John McTiernan?

    by nsomnia

    I am damn glad Bay will NOT become a Mc Tiernan : Rollerball anyone?

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:24 p.m. CST

    count jerkula

    by DocPazuzu

    Funny you should mention that. I've always felt that Buscemi is the spitting image of Ren Ho

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Michael Bay is one of the worst directors of his generation and

    by IndustryKiller

    To say that the terrible car chase in Bad Boys 2 trumps that of the Matrix Reloaded is just fucking asinine, and I HATE Matrix: Reloaded. Bad Boys 2 was an atrocity on every level. It embodies everything that sucks about today's action films, most noticably awful MTV style editing to compensate for a lack of directorial talent. Maybe that car chase would have been cool if you could see what the fuck was happening. Unlike the car chase in Matrix: Reloaded in which the camera never fucking flinches. Also ALL the comedy that made bad Boys 1 such a fun flick (that and The Rock being bay's only watchable films) is gone in BB2, reducing the lead character to annoyances that you wish would just shut up. Also Pearl harbor is not just a bad film, IT'S ONE OF THE TOP 5 WORST BIG BUDGET STUDIO FILMS EVER MADE......EVER. In the history of film. It not only fails in writing, directing, pacing, acting (Hartnett and Affleck should be dragged out intot he street and shot for their performances), and story; but also practically throws sand int he eyes of some of the most heroic men in American history. If Bay wanted to insult the veterans of Pearl harbor why didn't he just line them up against a wall and systematically kick them in the nuts. That would have been less insulting to them than this hate crime of a film. To say that Bay is evolving as a filmmaker is a rotten remark at the expense of every talented person in Hollywood that make films worth watching.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 6:57 p.m. CST

    didn't they celebrate the release of Pearl Harbour with a multi-

    by Jon L. Ander

    "How shall we mark the release of this film about an horrific bombing raid?" "I know! Lets blow some shit up!"

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:34 p.m. CST


    by Right Bastard

    Bruckheimer's name isn't attached. Nothing is scarier than seeing "Bay/Bruckheimer". That is a combination destin to suck. Actually, anything/Bruckheimer is bound to induce the gag reflex.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:40 p.m. CST

    Space dementia.

    by Gilkuliehe

    Space dementia was THE scene that told me something was cooking in this auteur's evolving sensibility. He makes a poignant critique towards the way sane and insane relate to eachother (the look on the astronaut and Willis' raction) and it even has the balls to nod something out of low pop culture (Dr Strangelove ride on the missile) Ergo Bay's evolution had begun.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 10:42 p.m. CST

    Why don't Simon West, Jan Debont, or any number of worse action

    by Dented Helmet

    Because they're not successful that's why. There are hordes of more miserable directors than Bay, but because Bay's movies kick ass at the box office, fanboys have to try and tear the man's work down. As far as action director's go, he's surpassed by only spielberg and cameron as far as I'm concerned.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:06 p.m. CST

    Jan De Bont made Speed, so he can't be labeled a "hack".

    by Osmosis Jones

    Sure, everything else he's done has been pretty stinky (although Twister at least had Helen Hunt in a wet tank top and a flying cow), but Speed is one of the best action movies of the 90's. Show some damn respect.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:28 p.m. CST

    exactly triflic. Reloaded set up a very interesting premise that

    by SirBiatchReturns

    Reloaded set up some cool ass characters and ideas: reintroducing Smith, the twins, Merovingian, Persephone (by name alone she should have done more in the plot), Seraph, and various revelations (Neo being not the One and Oracle being a program; first encounter with the Architect). Seriously, anyone who says they loved the first movie and thought Reloaded was terrible need to do some self-examining. Reloaded expanded on all of the ideas of the original matrix. But in Revolutions, its like they abandoned all these ideas just to do some pointless (but cool looking) Zion battle. Hence why Revolutions was the weakest of the three. Getting back to the main topic at hand, Bad Boys 2 was a meh film. many people loved it though. it made lots of money. so there is something to be said about stale black jokes, MTV style editing, and stereotypical villains: it makes money.

  • Feb. 13, 2005, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Did that idiot just call the freeway sequence in Bad Boys II bet

    by Razorback

    No wonder most people consider this site a joke. That is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard. Bad Boys II didn't have a single scene that was original or not bettered by something made 50 years ago.

  • Uhhhh....what drugs are you on and why arent you sharing We are talking about Bay here

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 12:58 a.m. CST

    It's called whoring for the studio.

    by Mister Man

    Give set "access" to fawning film lovers. Make them feel "special." Increase chances of positive chat about a MICHAEL BAY FILM. Apparently, mission accomplished. Well, maybe not.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Bay's combined box-office revenues...

    by nsomnia

    are well over 2 billion dollars, I guess there is still quite a few people who like what he does... and guess what, his movies are entertaining and in-your-face. You don't like them , don't go, but guess what, I know you'll go anyway, you just can't help it, then you have to bitch about it. Pathetic.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 3:45 a.m. CST

    I don't think box-office is the topic

    by Mister Man

    Stating differing opinions isn't pathetic, and it's easier to criticize a film more accurately once having seen it, regardless of the expectations. However, I do wait for the DVD one-dollar price whenever a Bay flick is involved, if only in principle. He does, however, know how to stage "big," in the most limited definition of the word.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Yes, supertoyslast!

    by Yo Yo Man

    Happy to see I'm not the first to mention Spares. My favourite MMS novel, although I always thought his first, Only Forward, would make a better transition to screen. Still, I'd rather see David Cronenberg or David Fincher direct a movie of Spares than see Michael Bay tackle a "serious" sci-fi movie. I enjoyed Bad Boys 2 as well, but in the same way I'd enjoy seeing a pitbull terrier try to attack its own reflection: it's funny and entertaining, but in a twisted way. And not very clever.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Connery's best line ever?!

    by Darkman

    "He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. THAT's the Chicago way, and that's how you're going to get Capone." - "The Untouchables" As for this news, I'm not terribly intrigued by this movie; I can't be the only one thinking about that song from "Team America": "I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark when he made 'Pearl Harbor'...and that's a lot, girl."

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Pearl Harbor was heralded as 'Disney's Titanic'

    by Fearsme

    Eisner stood on a boat and declared that "Disney finally has their titanic"... 4 days before the film was released. It was an arrogant move, one that bit him on the ass. And it showed why Pearl Harbor sucked so much ass. They weren't trying to make a movie, they were trying to make a product aimed at teenage girls hoping to replicate Titanic's success. Isn't that just sad. And Bay, knowing this, tackled the project anyway.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Speed sucked ass.

    by BigTuna

    It's was a Die Hard rip-off that wasn't even in the same league as that film. Keannu's performance and the sappy romance between him and Bullock is just horrible.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Box Office is why people hate Bay...

    by BigTuna

    Not the only reason obviously, his films suck ass. They also do make a lot of $ though, and that makes people who hate his films even more angry. Same with M.Night Shyamalan, he doesn't deserve the crap he gets everytime he releases a new film. The fact they make a lot of $ and have a loyal following annoys his detractors even more.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Oh boy! I was hoping they'd make a Logan's Run/The 6th Day cross

    by Funmazer

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Meanwhile, chud visits war of the worlds set!

    by Silver Shamrock

    And its a bit premature to say things like "Ultimately, THE ISLAND is a smart, provocative package that will reflect the evolving sensibility of Michael Bay..." when the movie isn't even finished yet. As Coppola said, if yo haven't seen the final cut, you really haven't seen the film at all.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Michael Bay isn't even a good ACTION director

    by Spike Fett

    His quick-cut editing style and penchant for close-ups make any action scenes he does confusing and unexciting. Beaks backhandedly admits as much when he mentions the scene in the station or wherever has a "better sense of geography" than we're used to from Bay, which is another way of saying that maybe this time we'll be able to tell what the fuck is going on. Lots of sucky directors are still John Fucking Woo compared to Bay - see Roland Emmerich, Renny Harlin,

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 5:13 p.m. CST

    I have one question...

    by Gilkuliehe

    What does Gollum think of mister Bay's evolving sensibility? Ergo I have too much time.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 5:48 p.m. CST

    I like to think of Michael Bay as the polar opposite of Yasojiro

    by LeFlambeur

    It helps me to cope with Michael Bay's existence. If I think of Michael Bay as director representing the end of a spectrum, instead of just a shitty hack, it causes me to bitch less.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 6:16 p.m. CST

    "the evolving sensibility of Michael Bay"

    by DocPazuzu

    Could this be the long overdue new AICN catchphrase?

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 6:26 p.m. CST

    You Win, Ancient Lights

    by mrbeaks

    I was wrong. But there was nothing insane about the prediction at the time; the movie was solid tearjerker fare, and was to receive a propitious November 2003 release from Miramax. When the film got bumped to March 2004, I quickly changed my tune (in fact, this feels like the second or third time I've capitulated on the issue). So, while I can't look myself in the mirror anymore, it's still a relief to be bereft of the expectations that come with having even a shred of credibility. I've stopped my dreaming. I don't do too much scheming these days. These days I sit on corner stones, and count the time in corner tones to ten. So, please don't confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Hey Mr Beaks...

    by Gilkuliehe

    Weren't you the guy on THE LAST BOYSCOUT a.k.a. "the inventor of Scrabble"? I guess this kind of attitude is what's keeping me from "getting" the evolving sensibility of Michael Bay. Ergo, will I get deleted again?

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 7:52 p.m. CST

    Is this the Spares movie?

    by RoomOnFire

    The plot kinda sounds like Michael Marshall Smith's book Spares, and even more like his short story called "It is better to Receive" (might have got that wrong). I read that Spares had been optioned by a major movie studio, and I was wondering if this movie was an "adaptation" of Smith's novel. Kinda like how Minority Report was "adapted" from P.K. Dick's novelette. If Michael Marshall Smith doesn't get a bit of credit on this, it would be a shame. And a lawsuit.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 8:06 p.m. CST


    by Mike Fornes

    If this movie holds a candle to that 1982 special effects tour-de-force, we're all in for a treat.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 8:21 p.m. CST

    "Parts: The Clonus Horror"

    by Theta

    That's what this is a remake of. Expect a lawsuit shortly.

  • Feb. 14, 2005, 8:29 p.m. CST

    "Meanwhile, chud visits WAR OF THE WORLDS set!"

    by Triumph poops!

    Actually, so did Dark Horizons -- hell, they've got a 3 part web piece up about it, including a set tour and interviews with Cruise, Speilberg and Producer Kathleen Kennedy. What's the deal here? Did Ain't it Cool News NOT get invited to the press junket for having pissed off someone at Dreamworks or Paramount?

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 12:57 a.m. CST


    by ILK

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 12:57 a.m. CST


    by ILK

    You had me at "hot skippin' Yahweh".

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 4:37 a.m. CST

    Micheal Bay can

    by CuervoJones

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 8:39 a.m. CST

    I get the feeliing I have been on this Island before...

    by MachinaMan

    but then it was called The Clonus Horror, and if that weren't reason enough to catch the 'original' there is the fact that The Clonus Horror has Peter Graves in it.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Isn't another Bay trademark...

    by Ray Garraty #47

    ...wheelchair basketball players crossing the street during a car chase? I remember they had that in Bad Boys and the Rock. Does Bay have a wheelchair bound brother or something? It's like John Woo and doves. Bay movies have basketball players in wheelchairs.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 11:16 a.m. CST

    the evolving sensibility in my pants.

    by Shigeru

    I have a really old Wizard magazine from like 1993 with a tiny news blip that says "Work is underway on a sequel to the film 'Total Recall'. It is an adaptation of P.K. Dick's story 'Minority Report'" That is pretty funny if you ask me. Sequel to total recall. wtf.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 11:28 a.m. CST

    box office

    by Right Bastard

    I don't think Box Office matters all that much. Millions of people buy the American Idol albums, but that doesn't do prove that the music contained on those discs is anything other than crap. The number one movie the last two weeks were "Boogie Man" and "Hitch". 'nuf said? I don't hate Bay because he is successful. I don't even know if I hate him, or Bruckheimer, since all of his movies that I dislike by Bay were produced by Jerry. There is an annoying jingoistic pro-authoritarianism in a lot of Bruckheimen films that annoy me. Just because a lot of people like it, doesn't mean it's good or that they have taste. As Bill Hicks said, "America operates at a thirteen year old emotional level. You don't believe me? Go watch 'Who's the boss?' then get back to me on that idea."

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 11:34 a.m. CST


    by Right Bastard

    "doesn't prove that" not "doesn't do prove that". (just fending off the annoying Semantic Police. My favorite time was when someone corrected a misspelled name in one of my Talkbacks, and said that I made a "pedantic" error.)

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 11:54 a.m. CST

    "said that I made a "pedantic" error."

    by DocPazuzu

    Reminds me of when I worked for a time at a Barnes & Noble in NYC in the late 1990s. A customer came up to me and a co-worker and asked if we had "The Idiot's guide to IQ Tests".

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 6:18 p.m. CST

    Hey Beaks - PG13 or R?

    by Tom Whitaker

    They must know... do you?!

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Oh, and didn't PWSA say there'd be a 'slow build' to AVP?

    by Tom Whitaker

    What a cunt.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 7 p.m. CST

    Tom Whitaker

    by DocPazuzu

    To be honest, when watching all the behind-the-scenes stuff on the R2 AvP 2-disc Extreme Edition, there were quite a few instances of expositionary dialogue and character development which is notably absent in the final cut. Leaving the debate on AvP's merits and flaws aside, I do think Fox may have trimmed a good half hour of stuff like that during the first half of the film in order to bring the running time in att slightly over an hour and a half, in true aiming-for-the-kids bland action fare style.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Answers, Answers, Answers...

    by mrbeaks

    THE ISLAND is going for a PG-13, Fox did excise a good deal of exposition from AVP, and Raquel Castro is a mortal lock for Best Supporting Actress in this year's LITTLE FUGITIVE, a film by Joanna Lipper. Raul Julia.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 10:07 p.m. CST

    "Raul Julia" what, Beaks?

    by SmarkJobber

    He's dead; ergo, his sensibility is not evolving.

  • Feb. 15, 2005, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Dangling Raul Julias...

    by mrbeaks

    ... used to be the rage back in the late 80's; ergo, you must be a young 'un.

  • Feb. 16, 2005, 6:06 a.m. CST


    by Tom Whitaker

    But Booooo! Even though it was awful, offensively so, at least Bad Boys 2 knew what to do with an R rating. Hmm. As for AvP, that's rather interesting... PWSA whined about having some of the 'best scenes' cut at the time of release but I thought all that had been deemed untrue. Wonder if we'll ever see that stuff. He's still a you-know-what though.

  • Feb. 16, 2005, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Tom Whitaker

    by DocPazuzu

    It's really quite sad actually. You see Anderson being interviewed behind the scenes and he goes to great lengths in expressing his love for the source films, his admiration for Scott and Cameron and how he -- although making a very different kind of film -- was adamant about maintaining the tradition of the long build-up of the alien films. Fox totally finchered him. This is why I'm reluctant to give him shit for AvP, because while watching it you can literally see the holes in the interaction, character development and plot where things were excised. Usually in a paper-thin, shallow, uninvolving film you don't notice things missing because they were never there to begin with. AvP's aenemia is due to an editing hackjob. I'm reserving my final judgment of AvP until we one day get to see a director's cut.

  • Feb. 16, 2005, 5:30 p.m. CST

    Mod Parent Up!

    by PJM

    +5 for funny: reviewer thinks Michael Bay can make an intelligent movie!

  • Feb. 17, 2005, 5:33 a.m. CST


    by Nexus-6

    "I have a really old Wizard magazine from like 1993 with a tiny news blip that says "Work is underway on a sequel to the film 'Total Recall'. It is an adaptation of P.K. Dick's story 'Minority Report'" That is pretty funny if you ask me. Sequel to total recall. wtf." It was going to be about a company owned by Quaid, that employed the psychic mutants from Mars. I can only presume they would stop murders before they occured, like in "Minority Report". "Total Recall" was based on a PK Dick story as well, so it makes some sense to have used it in relation to another PK Dick story. It's not like many of Dick's books have been adapted closely anyway, read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and then watch "Blade Runner". ----------But anyway, I'm in the "Bad Boys 2's chase was better than Reloaded's chase" camp. Sure, it was overedited as hell, but it was much more EXCITING. CGI cars were used in both, and looked good. Unfortunetly Reloaded killed any suspension of disbelief for me by flying the camera THROUGH some of the CGI cars. Reloaded was the movie that made me officially sick of slow motion, and it's used pointlessly a lot on that damn chase(the big crash, Trinity lauching off of the truck, the agent on the car). I remember seeing an early trailer with the agent jumping on the hood of the car that looked awesome... then they slowed it down, and it looked... well, fake. I mean there's certainly some great stuff there, but much like the rest of Reloaded, it's a little, um, bloated. But in the end, I'd still rather watch Reloaded again and again over Bad Boys 2, god that script is awful. But it is one of, if not THE most over the top action movies ever, and I give it props for that. I should be there opening day for the Island, so sue me.

  • Feb. 18, 2005, 7:09 a.m. CST

    "Ultimately, THE ISLAND is..." LOGAN'S RUN meets Robin Cook's CO

    by FrankDrebin

    Another kwality product from The Regurgitron(tm).

  • Feb. 19, 2005, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Probably showing my age here, but Road Warrior still boasts the

    by devil0509

    When Melbert hang out of the truck and delivers the double barrel blast through that dude's front windshield (and face)...poetic.

  • Feb. 20, 2005, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Sounds like LOGANS RUN on steroids

    by Spacesheik

    hmm dont know yet....

  • Feb. 24, 2005, 1:10 p.m. CST


    by kingofdadipshits

    Those wasp vehicles look a hell of a lot like ghosts from Halo. Did some other nerd already point that out?