“The Island” – Movie Review and Critical Analysis

Some may claim that, as a nation founded upon liberty and freedom of choice, America must well uphold its tradition as a democracy rather than backslide into a Communist reign of pure governmental authority. Individualism and capitalism have always been central

themes in American literature, and private enterprises have been embraced wholeheartedly without question throughout its history. However, as modern scientific progress slowly creeps towards its potential climax, how will society face the dreading possibilities of a moral and ethical recession, which shall manifest itself as an origami of changing societal laws, especially when governmental regulation is often debated when it comes to controversial issues?

We must decide. Do we want the government to control certain aspects of our lives and protect us from potential dangers looming around us? Even so, how much governmental regulation can we tolerate? It may seem that the majority vote of the House symbolizes that most people want scientific progress – and that President Bush is the only man who wants to halt it. If that were the case, however, I do not believe that America would reelect him as president. Furthermore, to answer the prompt using an ethical approach, pro-lifers argue that research of stem cells requires the destruction of an embryo, the equivalent of murdering a child. Even if researchers can extract the stem cells without harming the embryo, the issue of cloning is distressing.

A movie I watched called “The Island” alludes to the issue discussed in the essay. The insinuation of the hazards of stem cell research is manifested in the movie through cloning to create doubles of these original humans. The independently-funded private corporation, apart from government control, who produced these clones did not educate them, but instead deceived them about their purpose in life. The clones, hidden in this secret building, were forbidden to step out of it and taught to believe that their purpose was to journey to this island, where luxury awaited them (it was like winning the lottery if chosen to go there). The irony is that those clones chosen were needed to supply whatever their original doubles wanted to replace (such as body parts – organs) for themselves. Thus was the health insurance of that futuristic society.

The scientists who nurtured the embryos in a controlled environment also utilized tri-keys – basically one key with three different heads – that opened all the doors in the building. I thus realized that the tri-keys symbolized the (Holy) trinity, and that the movie essentially portrayed these men as trying to assume the role of God by opening the doors of science and new life. The idea that “if I can give life, then I can take life” is unethical and supports the pro-life argument. Obviously, this is an extreme view and more a form of entertainment than a predicament of the future. However, it is a social commentary about how often private interests conflict with benefits for society. Anthropology teaches that humans act in their own best-interest, which does not always benefit society. Government should regulate research by neither halting nor allowing private individuals to monopolize it. But President Bush’s veto disallowed the government to fund stem cell research, thus forcing individuals to take initiative into their own hands.

An alternative proposal aimed at limiting independent stem cell research, when the claim is to propel advancements in treatments, is that society would be better off researching the preventatives of diseases than trying to find the cures. People claim that similar research is needed to find preventatives, but such claims prove false, for stem cell research is targeted at finding cures for diseases already exposed to humans. In the movie, while the cloned doubles remained in the secret building, everyday, they went through routine fitness trainings and ate healthy dietary meals to ensure a physically-fitted cloned double. In the meantime, their originals were living hedonistic lives in the real world and indulging in such pleasures as excessive drinking, smoking, and eating, until their livers, lungs, and other organs failed them, when they could have prevented the need for such research and the controversy about its ethics.