by Elliott Prasuhn
Utopia movies have been done many times before. The one thing they all have in common is that things aren’t as they appear. On the outset everything seems to be great, but there’s always something wrong going on behind the scenes. What sets these movies apart is that which is hidden. For me, this is what makes utopian movies fun and intriguing. However, before I begin reviewing the movie, there’s one important point I’d like to make.
There cannot and will not ever be a perfect utopia. It’s something mankind has always desired and searched for, but it isn’t possible here on earth. Only God can create a utopia. Back in the beginning, He created the Garden of Eden, but because of Adam and Eve’s sin, they were forced to leave it.
Gen. 3 23-24: “Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.”
This world and everything in it is temporary and passing away. Yet, all those that obey Christ have something better than this world to look forward to.
2 Peter 3:11-13: “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Rev. 21:1-4: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
As I mentioned before, my favorite part of watching a utopian movie is discovering what truly going on. Because of that I will try and keep this as spoiler free as possible, though there is a section with spoilers and it’s well labeled. Ultimately this is a story about control. The movie begins with Lincoln Six Echo (Ewan Mcgregor) waking up in his sterile, pristine white room. As he gets out of his bed, his vitals are measure and his urine analyzed. The computer determines that his sodium levels are too high and that he’s not allowed to eat any bacon that day. As I would expect, this makes him grumpy. After changing into his clean white uniform he heads out into the facility for breakfast.
Lincoln Six Echo along with many other survivors, lives in a Utopian society inside a secure facility. Here they are safe from the contaminated world, which we are told has been mostly destroyed by a lethal pathogen. Aside from the facility, there is only one other place that hasn’t been contaminated, the Island. Life in the facility revolves around a daily lottery. Every day, one person is chosen at “random” via a lottery to go to the Island. It’s everyone’s hope that they will be chosen to go to Island.
Lincoln gets in line for breakfast and attempts to coerce the serving lady, but his attempt is fruitless and he receives no bacon. At this point we are introduced to Lincoln’s friend Jordan Two Delta (Scarlett Johansson). She laughs at his failure and proceeds to sweet talk the lady into some extra bacon, which she gives to Lincoln, telling him he will need it for their match that evening.
Each person has a role to play in the facility. Lincoln, along with a few of his friends, have the responsibility to insert nutrients into tubes that go somewhere… The tubes enter the room and then exit it. The purpose of the tubes, along with why they only wear white and why he’s never allowed to eat bacon are a few of the questions that constantly bug him. We start to see that he is very curious and wants answers to a lot of questions. It’s this curiosity that drives him into sneaking into other sections of the facility in order to find answers. As he explores the facility more, he begins to doubt more and more the things he has been told.
During one of his excursions, he happens upon a women giving birth. This woman he knew because she had worked in his area. In fact earlier that day he had witnessed her water breaking. She was taken away, to give birth to the baby and then go to the island or so they were told. Lincoln arrives just as the baby is being delivered. The baby is taken and given to a couple that are just outside the operating room. The woman is given a shot, which kills her. The weird thing is the women outside the room looks just like the women that was just euthanized.
Most of this happens in the beginning of the movie. The rest of the movie shows what is actually going on. Soon after this, Jordan Two Delta is chosen to go the Island. Lincoln who now knows that the Island is a lie, attempts to save her. They decide they need to escape from the facility. Much more happens, but in order to find out you will need to go watch the movie. I don’t want to spoil the rest. However, I would like to make some moral applications.
If you’re still reading, this is your last chance to stop. They all die…Just kidding.
Dr. Merrick (Sean Bean) is the head of the facility. This is his project and he controls all aspects of the facility. The purpose of the facility is to grow clones for the ultra wealthy. When needed, the clones will be harvest as replacement parts for their ailing sponsors or as with the woman above, a means to producing a baby. This sounds pretty morally wrong, right? Half-way through the movie we see Dr. Merrick giving a sales presentation to a group of rich potential clients. He claims that the clones are kept in a vegetative state, never achieving consciousness, and never thinking of feeling; they are not fully human. At this point in the movie we know this is completely untrue, but he’s telling them exactly what they want to hear. Sometimes people don’t want to know the truth of what is truly going on. They are willing to put their conscious on a shelf and accept a lie, so long as they can benefit from something. I won’t dwell on this, but doesn’t this sound a little like what we hear about abortion… It would be easy to just condemn those that are making this all possible. But every product is created or made accessible because there is demand for it. The ends never justify the means.
In another scene, Dr. Merrick is having a conversation with Laurent, the man he’s hired to find Lincoln and Jordan. Laurent asks him, “When has killing become a business for you?” Dr. Merrick explains that to him that it’s not about the killing. He doesn’t see the clones as more than tools; medical instruments. He doesn’t see them as having souls. Dr. Merrick gives life to stricken people, and in two years, predicts he’ll be able to cure children’s leukemia. He proceeds to ask Laurent, “How many people can say that?” To which Laurent quietly answers that only Dr. Merrick, and God, will be able to… and that this is exactly the way Dr. Merrick wants it.
This conversation says a lot about Dr. Merrick. One he thinks he’s equal with God and two he also believes that he is in completely control. As I said before, one of the main themes of this movie is control. Although Merrick believes he’s control, thru the movie we see that no one is in control. That all he was doing was manipulating something much bigger and complex than him. In not nearly so epic ways, we live our lives this way. We pretend like we are in control of our lives. We don’t need help from anyone, we can do it ourselves. The truth is that only God is truly in control. Our trust should be in Him, not in ourselves.
Prov. 19:21 – “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
4 out of 5
So is this the best movie ever? No, but I really enjoy it. There are some cool twists in the story. Michael Bay is the director, so there are some large explosions and several gratuitous action scenes. If you are at all interested in utopia/dystopia/totalitarian stories then this is a must see. If not, then it’s an interesting story with some fun action. Lastly it has some good underlying messages, reminding us that we aren’t in control and that the ends don’t justify the means.
Elliott Prasuhn is a friend of mine and fellow Christian blogger. You can find more of his reviews at lettherebemovies.wordpress.com. Also, as an editor’s note, the film contains a brief sex scene, as well as some language.