Thursday, April 09, 2009

Why Islands? - Some Thoughts

I've been surrounded by Islands in the media. My wife and I recently caught up on Lost Season 4, I read Duma Key, and Shutter Island (more thoughts on Shutter Island soon).

Lost, Duma Key, and Shutter Island all take place on fictional islands. Tonight the TV show Harper's Island (a 13 murder mystery miniseries) premiers on CBS.

The Island presents an excellent opportunity for thrilling controllable stories. Even if the island has some access with the outside world, the writer who writes these Island stories are able to not only create a new believable environment with out the restrictions of real land marks, laws, and local characteristics, but they are able to control who is on the Island, who gets off the Island, and who comes onto the Island.

A simple airplane crash, ferry boat, or vacation home can entice the characters to the Island, but a failed communication system, a hurricane, or a broken bridge can keep people on and off the Island.

In trying to think of other famous deserted and isolated island stories I think first of the most classic Island story of all...Lord of The Flies. Even Lord of the Flies has the horrific thriller elements that these other Island stories have.

Of course, not all island stories have to be horrific thrillers (Swiss Family Robinson, Castaway), but I think most have some sort of thriller element in them, even the children's film Nim's Island.

Other isolated Island films I can think of include: The Beach, Jurassic Park, Gilligan's Island, The Most Dangerous Game, even The Truman Show in a way. I'm sure you can think of many more.

In fact, when it comes to Island films, list 735 island films, and 201 island television shows (island as some part of the story line) Of those, you can notice trends common in Island stories that also might tell us some common themes in this setting: Beach (127), Beautiful Women (120), Blood (83), Boat (133), Doctor (63), Explosion (71), Father Daughter Relationship (71), Gun (55), Helicopter (61), Husband wife relationship (61), Kidnapping (65), Male Female Relationship (117), Monster (56), Nudity (67), Ocean (73), Pirate (54), Rescue (76), Revenge (51), Sex (82), Ship (104), Violence (71).

And if those common descriptions don't describe the typical Island movie, I don't know what does. Who else thought of Lost reading those words?


Loren Eaton said...

I'll be interested on your two cents about Shutter Island. It's my least-favorite Lehane. Odd how this post landed, because I just picked up my high school copy of The Lord of the Flies for the first time in years.

Loren Eaton said...

Actually, I retract the Lehane comment: Darkness, Take My Hand is my least-favorite of his books. I'd forgotten that one.

crackers and cheese said...

That's fun that pretty much all of those describe LOST, except for maybe the nudity. I mean, characters have been nude before, but I don't think they've ever shown anything.

Will said...

Don't forget Cast Away

Will said...

Oops, you said Cast Away - sorry!
Interesting post, tho.