The I Land Review
by F. Walden
* 1 Star
It is Lost meets Love Island, as ten individuals find themselves stranded on a tropical island, but instead of tactically planning their survival, seem more concerned with petty drama and relationship scandals.
Actors: Natalie Martinez, Kate Bosworth, Alex Pettyfer
Ten people wake up on an enigmatic island missing their memories. Instead of answers, they’ll find danger – in the water and in one another.
Netflix never fails to baffle me with its ever-growing success after what seems to be a consistent chain of poor business decisions. It cancels fan-favourites on claims of them being ‘poor investments’ (Oh, Santa Clarita Diet), but continues to pump out truly terrible attempts at television. The I-Land joins this exclusive group of oddballs alongside gems such as Hater’s Back Off and Insatiable. It is Lost meets Love Island, as ten individuals find themselves stranded on a tropical island, but instead of tactically planning their survival, seem more concerned with petty drama and relationship scandals.
The episode opens introducing us to the protagonist (Kate, is that you?) who to much dismay is not Evangeline Lilly reprising her Lost role in an attempt to save the show with some actual acting. Instead Martinez Chase is one-dimensional and uncompelling, which is not entirely her fault, as the writers have made no attempt to stray from the ‘fiery Latina hot-head’ stereotype (the slow-motion Baywatch-beach-running whilst the camera pans over her breasts does not particularly aid her case either). Chase then meets her to-be-rival, Bosworth’s K.C. whose only hint at a personality is occasionally repeating Martinez’ words back to her in a sardonic tone. Needless to say, the two do not make for particularly entertaining nemeses.
The characters are painfully stupid and after awakening demonstrate no sign of panic. They first create a meeting area of benches from fallen trees before actually sitting down to discuss their precarious situation. One girl finds a conveniently placed book titled ‘The Mysterious Island’ which she then proceeds to toss away, as if it might not contain all of the answers to surviving. Perhaps the characters are not intentionally dense, but the lack of any convincing emotion from the actors may just mean that they appear that way.
The acting is stiff and awkward and quite uncomfortable to watch, but it was not as cringe-worthy as the script writing, as one girl sincerely refers to herself as “me, an intellectual”. The protagonist’s love interest (Pettyfer) is also forced to deliver the particularly painful line, “I mean you are pretty fit”. At least, we consider him her love interest until he attempts to sexually assault her, and then we do not root for him any more (despite his obviously charming way with words). Pettyfer’s character then argues his actions as excusable, because “there is no such thing like [rape] in a place like this. There is just sex and no sex. We didn’t have any sex” (duh). I’m not particularly sure what that is even supposed to mean, but the untactful way in which such a sensitive issue is handled makes for incredibly uncomfortable viewing. The episode’s one satisfying moment is when Martinez later hits her attacker over the head with a coconut.
Overall, The I-Land is truly terribly acted, written and directed, however it fulfils it’s role as an entertaining piece of television. Whether or not it planned to exploit its it’s-so-bad-it’s-good appeal, it kind of works. It has mystery, CGI sharks and a 0.5/5 TV Guide rating which really are a golden combination for mindless watching that you will love to hate.
The I Land is currently available on Netflix and was rated 15 by the BBFC.