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Headscratchers / The Island

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The Policy and the Island
  • How does that work? Does the policy terminate when they make a claim, or do they make another clone then somehow re-introduce the new one without anyone noticing they're the same person as one who went to the island? I mean, it seems a bit odd to offer this service but say 'oh, you can only use it this one time', wouldn't someone get suspicious or something?
    • For that matter, how do they re-introduce the clones of the 'defective' line? Aren't a bunch of the clones that didn't get sent to the Island going to go 'Hey, you look exactly like my friend who went to the Island, what the hell?'
    • One possibility is that buyers have to pay a "renewal fee" for every time they use up an entire clone. In case they do pony up, all they have to do to make sure no one in the facility notices their return is to alter their appearance a bit "in utero" or afterwards. If they can genetically engineer them to mature quickly, then changing hair color and, I don't know, hiring a plastic surgeon to make a few changes to the face would do the trick. Failing that, the people in the facility don't have to be working on actual local time, the whole thing is almost a giant holodeck. They could reintroduce a clone into a "night shift" and minimize potential exposure even further.
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    • "Let's face it, clones are rock stupid." If clones believe the story about the Island, they will believe anything, including that he had a twin brother/sister that was also dug out of the ruins. Or they could just keep the new clones in separate area.
    • Weren't there four towers in the complex? You could send one person to "the Island" from tower three and stick the next clone in the line into tower one. As long as you keep the populations of the towers separated, they'd never know.
      • The scenes of the towers in the ocean were fake, it was really buried under New Mexico, I think.
      • He means the complex towers, which can be seen on diagrams of the underground bunker.
  • If they create clones of the people with diseases, wouldn't they create clones with the same disease...
    • Well, I'd think that would only be true for diseases that are genetic to begin with, like sickle cell, in which case you wouldn't really be able to do anything about it. though if a genetic disease causes the failure of an organ, I suppose as long as the clone wasn't to that stage yet it should work.
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    • As advanced as the cloning technology in the film is, it stands to reason that medical technology as a whole has advanced leaps and bounds beyond what we are at now. It stands to reason that some minor genetic engineering (repairing defective chromosomes that lead to degenerative conditions and such) would be feasible in utero, even if not for a fully developed human.
    • Cloning in real life has suffered more from ethics than an inability to conduct experiments; as in: we COULD be performing said experiments to iron out the kinks like clones having a shorter life span and things like that, but since it is unethical, we can't (at least officially); even in the movie's world, there are systems put in place, and is one of the least developed threads in the story: apparently cloning itself is considered ethical as long as the cloned material is not sentient or sapient; so the company in charge has been lying to authorities about the nature of the harvesting materials while perfecting the procedure. also apparently you CANT clone a person in this world without allowing sentience too. While the clones are intelligent they are purposedly misled and uneducated so as to be more easily controlled and harvested. Clones in The Island are not actual replicas of the personalities that the originals have, so they count as individual persons. It's safe to assume that while the gentic material is 100% compatible, it's also been upgraded and perfected so you could clone a genetic diseased person and the clone be completely healthy. They are harvesting for organs anyways, so if you had a degenerative disease cloning you wouldn't do you any good since there is no apparent way to copy your actual persona into the clone.

The Future: Largely Impervious to Blunt Force Trauma
  • There's a number of times pretty early on in the film when someone gets hit about the head with a heavy blunt object and responds as if they've got a bad headache rather than having just been assaulted. The items in question include a monkey wrench and a crowbar. Truly the future is a strange place when people can shrug that off with mild annoyance rather than, y'know, serious injury or death!
    • Reality Is Unrealistic. Not all head injuries result in fatal trauma, even ones as grievous as attacks with wrenches and crowbars. There are cases of people taking hits to the head that by all rights should have killed them (including getting shot in the head), but instead walked away with a migraine and/or a concussion instead.
      • There are also cases of people dying from comparatively minor bumps, or having no visible ill effects and then having serious chronic problems later. Head trauma isn't so much milder, but much more unpredictable.
  • How can the clone start the car of the real Lincoln with his fingerprint? Even twins that have the exact same genome still have different fingerprints. The genetic fingerprint would be identical, but not the actual fingerprint.
    • That goes up there with Lincoln Six Echo "inheriting" Tom Lincoln's memories, which would in no way be genetically transferable. It's all under Artistic Licence – Biology.
    • Lampshaded in the movie: the real Lincoln comments that he got his money's worth on his clone, since fingerprints are a detail that would have to be specifically adjusted to match rather than a part of the cloning process.
  • Imagine if someone famous enough and sexy enough to star in Calvin Klein ads (for the sake of argument, let's say Scarlett Johansson), was running around being partially responsible for car chases, explosions, buildings being destroyed and all manner of collateral damage (oh, and innocent lives being endangered). You would think somebody would notice Scarlett Freaking Johansson (well, a clone of Scarlett Freaking Johansson) being involved in such epically bad celebrity behavior and get CNN or Fox or Sky News or whatever involved (and you just know that TMZ would be on it like a car bonnet). But no, somehow nobody recognises her. Ever. At all. Well, except for her child during the phone call. And do they follow this up? Do they hell.
    • With exception of Scarlett Johansson, how many people can you name who have appeared in Calvin Klein ads? Do you know what they look like? Would you recognize them on the street? Probably not. There's no reason to believe Sarah Jordan is anything more than a small time model who happens to be doing commercials. The kind of person who won't be recognized until later.
      • "With exception of Scarlett Johansson, how many people can you name who have appeared in Calvin Klein ads?" Kate Moss, Eva Mendes, Andie Macdowell, Zoe Saldana, Mark Wahlberg, Brooke Shields... and if she's a small time model, she'd hardly be in a position to have a clone in the first place (these things are unlikely to be available to people who aren't very well off or high profile, or most likely both).
      • The real Lincoln tells Jordan that he recognises her from various men's magazines. If she's appeared in that many publications, she can't be small time.
    • How do we know they didn't? Sure, most of the people the clones met didn't immediately recognize Jordan, but that wasn't a whole lot of people, and that might be because she's only moderately famous; maybe Sarah Jordan is a new up-and-comer who made most of her money doing those ads and was working on breaking into movie acting before she had her accident. That those people didn't immediately recognize her doesn't mean nobody did, though. Probably the incidents themselves were what got noticed first (complete with speculation that L.A. was undergoing some kind of terrorist attacks), and then somebody got hold of the ubiquitous security camera and civilian cell phone footage and noticed that minor celebrity Sarah Jordan, previously thought to be fighting for her life in the hospital after her accident, was at the center of these incidents. Her bad celebrity behavior probably was splashed all over the celebrity fluff shows by nightfall... by which time, let it be noted, this movie had already ended.
    • Oh, and a further epilogue: after "Sarah Jordan behaving badly" footage was splashed all over the media? Imagine the looks on the reporters' faces when, at their informal "press conference" with Sarah Jordan's husband/steady squeeze, the irritable fellow yelled "What the hell are you talking about!? Sarah's still in the hospital and we're trying to decide whether or not to pull the plug on her, and you come around here with all this slander and libel? You better have good lawyers, because mine's on speed dial and we're gonna sue you all into oblivion!"
  • Chances are, if you're in a desert dive bar miles away from the home of a well known celebrity who has probably been in the news in a recent accident and a girl who loks just like her walks in you would assume its a coincidence. Same for the people in the streets, they might have a passing 'that looks like so and so' moment but they won't believe it really was her. The news crews aren't going to make a big deal out of a blonde woman who looks like the one in that advert getting arrested.
  • Merrick says that Lincoln Six Echo "could've taken over his life", meaning Tom Lincoln's life, instead of saving the other clones (minutes after they found out that they accidentally killed the real Tom Lincoln instead of Lincoln Six Echo). And they would do nothing about it? I mean, would they just pretend that Lincoln Six Echo is the real Tom Lincoln and let him live the life of fame and wealth? Lincoln was already dangerous for them, wouldn't he been twice as dangerous as a world famous automotive designer?
    • Of course, but there's no reason to tell Lincoln that. Merrick was simply enjoying an ego trip at Lincoln's expense. Undermining someone makes it easier to dominate them.
    • Considering how badly they were already risking blowing their cover in all their efforts to retrieve him, the claim was probably sincere enough: if he had just gone on pretending to be the original Tom Lincoln, they might merely have watched a while to make sure he didn't come after them for revenge, and then left him alone. As long as he was too scared of revealing himself to go blowing their cover, they could go about their business and who'd have to know?
  • How will all the clones live after Merrick has gone down? Lincoln can assume the identity of Tom Lincoln and there is a possibility that Jordan will be taken for a miraculously recovered Sarah Jordan. But what with all the others? Especially those ones with still living sponsors? Using them as a source of "spare parts" would be much more complicated (if not impossible) from now on. And the clones are practically nonexistent for the real world, starting from the lack of legal documents, lack of education and so on, so they can't possibly "live on their own".
    • Yep. Say hello to one massively tangled nightmare of a class-action court case (for everyone except the lawyers on either side of the case, for whom it'll be a dream come true). Actually, the clones are very well educated in some respects (reading and writing, for instance), just not in the complexities of social life in the outside world, which might not be that difficult to pick up. On the upside, they do still have the entire underground facility from which they sprang, and their oppressors are all dead or fled now, so they can live there while they're trying to figure out how to reintegrate with society.
  • Where was there any sign that the military was getting a payout on their 120 billion dollar investment? At 1 million per agnate being sold to the general public, they should have expected 120 thousand agnates (or considerably more "Sure, you sell them to the public for a million a piece, but we funded this research, so..").
    • Where was the military involved at all? All the clones seemed to be of private people or politicians. I don't recall any mention of military investment.
    • He says the defense department invested, not necessarily the actual military—probably their investment was in a way to find a way to repair soldiers, such as by creating new limbs and organs that were shot up.
  • We are seriously expected to believe that the US military, on hearing of a 'security problem' in this program in which they had invested so much money, sends a team of mercenaries that do not answer to them? Seriously?
    • The mercenaries were sent by the private owners of the enterprise, because they don't want anyone to find out about the clones.
They wasted a perfectly worthless plot
'I don't want to euthanise this guy to take his liver.'
Isn't that precisely the plan anyway? A trip to The Island is one-way and plainly the plan is that the Starkweather clone doesn't live through this operation.
  • It seems that they want to take the organs as fresh as possible. As soon as the clone is dead, things start degenerating. The normal procedure would appear to be to remove the organs whilst the clone is alive to get maximum time for transplant and then dispose of the unneeded product, probably with poison in an IV line like the woman who gave birth. But occasionally it may be necessary to terminate first, risking complications for the recipient.
  • Liver transplants can be done with partial organs. Possibly the surgical team was hoping they could take half the clone's liver, allow the clone to survive, and return him to the colony with an "emergency appendectomy" story to be used again in future.

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