This weekend I watched the movie I, Frankenstein, and I was thinking to myself “Wow, this movie is a complete butchering of Mary Shelley’s original novel. Then I began to think about all the influences the original Frankenstein has had in Hollywood, the good and the bad. I started with the obvious, the sequels: Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Frankenhooker, etc. etc. Then I thought about the not so obvious, movies like Blade Runner and Robocop, or shows like Star Trek: TNG and Almost Human. Then it hit me, “What about The Island? I mean sure, it’s a little too much Michael Bay and the second half of it is all action, but the essence of Frankenstein is definitely in there. Incidentally enough, there is an actual movie called Frankenstein Island which is a completely different concept.
Anyways, The Island is about this super weird island where clones are created of humans who need organ replacements. These clones are produced at a super technological location run by a greedy corporation where they are told that they are the only survivors of an extremely destructive plague. The clones live a boring life, consisting of clean commons and healthy diets, this is so that their organs are kept in pristine condition not because the owners actually care about the individual clones. Every day one of the “cattle” are chosen to go to “the island” which they are told is a brand new civilization for humanity, where in reality, they are just being harvested for organs. However, on one day, one of the clones, Lincoln Six Echo, discovers the truth and escapes with one of the female clones.
Now essentially, Lincoln Six Echo is Frankenstein’s monster. For example, although he looks like an adult, his brain probably has more in common with the brain of a seven year old, much like the early stages of the monster. Also, he goes on an adventure to escape his creator, find out the truth of his creation, and to discover life itself. However, unlike the creature, he is not Lincoln is not feared by the common man, this is mostly due to the fact he looks completely normal. He is six million dollars worth of research and organs though, so he is brutally hunted down, like the creature, by the big corporation in charge of the whole clone production. Finally, Lincoln is also responsible for the death of both his creators, the head scientist and the original human of the clone. Seeing the similarities?
Now the creator, Dr. Merrick, is basically just a twisted version of Victor Frankenstein. He believes that his creation is for the benefit of mankind, much like Victor before the success of the experiment. However, Victor does his experiment for science and the quest for knowledge, while it appears Merrick does it mostly for the mulah. Merrick also shows some of the signature mad scientist vibe that was essentially created by Mary Shelley’s character. At one point in the movie, he considers himself to be as powerful as God, claiming to know the balance between life and death. Finally, for the last similarity point, he met his end at the hands of his creations, just like you-know-who.
In conclusion, The Island is a great rendition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, at least the first half is I mean. The second half suffers from a grave illness known as Michael Bay-ism, a rare disease that causes a movie’s plot to become convoluted and full of explosions. Due to this disease, many interesting questions posed in the first half go largely unanswered throughout the whole movie. The movie could have been more successful if it was directed by more subtle and capable hands.