DVDs: Reference Disc

Do clones deserve the same rights as their human progenitors? That's the ethical dilemma that director Michael Bay grapples with in the sci-fi foray The Island (DreamWorks; Movie •••, Picture/Sound ••••½, Extras ••). Credulity is tested early on by heavy product placement (can anyone believe that Amtrak and Xbox will exist 50 years from now?), but the film ultimately proves to be a fun, fast-moving, and visually stimulating ride into the future.

The DVD's exceptionally clean 2.35:1 widescreen picture has rich, almost romantic color and striking contrast. Minute details can be seen in both close-ups of the clones and the more expansive images of the compound and the desert landscape lying beyond its holographic skin. But as crisp as The Island looks, it's the soundtrack that really brings this movie to life. Dialogue is consistently clear as the pulsing, atmospheric score helps focus your attention. And the 5.1-channel mix is used effectively in nearly every scene, hitting an aggressive peak in the extensive chase sequence - possibly the most exciting action to hit screens since Terminator 2: Judgment Day's truck pursuit. Extras include a director's commentary and a routine making-of documentary.

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