I love these futuristic thriller movies that take real science from today and speed it up a bit to come up with plausible futures. Which is basically what this movie does.
Going just off the name and what that word usually means, I expected this movie to be more like The Island and it’s got some of the same elements as that movie, minus Scarlett Johansson (darn), but to me it was more like Chrysalis which was a French film that dealt with memories being downloaded and erased and fun things with that. Here you’ve got almost the entire human population connecting to a chair and then using their mind to control a robotic version of themselves throughout the day. As weird as that sounds, it’s entirely plausible we’ll have the capability to do that in a few years.
There are a few video clips at the beginning of the movie going through the process of how humans began using “Surries” and a couple of the clips are real video footage of things that have already occurred. There is a monkey using his brain to operate a robotic arm to grab food and there is a guy sitting next to realistic looking robotic version of himself. So really, this movie is not that unrealistic.
If that was the whole movie though, it’d be terrible. Just people living their lives through robots, sure there’d be the sappy, indie, emo, interpretations of the movie about its message toward human life, and that’s all still there, but the movie turns into a thriller when you add Bruce Willis and a murder of a prominent figure’s son.
Bruce Willis plays FBI Agent Greer and he is on the case to find out who was responsible for the murder. And this wasn’t just any murder; they managed to kill the surrogates and the people controlling the surrogates which wasn’t supposed to be able to happen. Surrogates were built with fail safes to ensure that the operators would be in no danger while operating a surrie.
There are a couple nice twists through the movie that keep you on your toes. I’m not talking M. Night twists, I’m talking twists that make sense and you can pick up on if you re-watch the movie. One of the reasons you can pick up on the stuff is the acting. It’s really well done on that front. Bruce Willis has to go to both sides of the spectrum in this movie, he has to be the super-cop action hero and the man who is having problems with his wife/surrie and he does his classic excellent job of going between both. Everyone else in the movie is very good as well. As you can tell from watching people attempt to do “The Robot” on a dance floor, humans acting as robots isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do but for the most part it’s done fantastically. They’re not stiff, mechanical things and at the same time they’re not fluid, lazy humans. Just the fact that they all sit perfectly upright is a small thing that really sells it.
The other thing that sells it is the look of the actors. The faces have a plastic look to them while not looking fake. It really looks like something you can peel right off, and then they do.
Surrogates is presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio and DTS-HD Master Audio Surround Sound.
Blu-Ray’s look awesome. We know this. But to me, it makes the green screen stuff stand out more. Standard Def you can kind of tell things are green screened but unless it’s done poorly you don’t notice it. This one though, the green screen stuff just stood out like a sore thumb for me. It might have just been poorly done, but it just didn’t look right, the background just looked almost cartoony.
On the Blu-Ray you get a couple of deleted scenes, one and a half of which could have been added to the movie to pound a couple points home a little more. A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates is a documentary which basically points out how surrogates are going to possibly come into existence. Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life is a look at the graphic novel the movie was based on along with the creators of the novel talking about the experience. There is the music video for Breaking Benjamin’s song “I Will Not Bow.” Of course you can always watch that on YouTube, but hey it’s nice to have since I am kind of a Breaking Benjamin fan. There is also commentary by Director Jonathan Mostow. Still not a fan of single person commentary tracks.
A good futuristic thriller that takes actual science and makes a plausible scenario. Basically taking Murphy’s Law and putting a positive spin on it “If anything can happen, it will.” The movie is well acted, and has a good message in it, kind of the same as “Wall-e” but not quite. They’re not bashing us that hard, just posing the question.
Touchstone Pictures presents Surrogates. Directed by: Jonathan Mostow. Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, and Ving Rhames. Written by: Robert Venditti(Graphic Novel), John Brancato and Michael Ferris(Screenplay). Running time: 89 minutes. Rating: PG-13. Released on DVD: January 26, 2010. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Bruce Willis, Ving Rhames