Monday, September 28, 2009

Movie Review: Surrogates

Surrogates **
Directed by:
Jonathan Mostow.
Written By: Michael Ferris & John D. Brancato based on the graphic novel by Robert Venditti and
Brett Weldele.
Starring: Bruce Willis (Greer), Radha Mitchell (Peters), Rosamund Pike (Maggie), Boris Kodjoe (Stone), James Francis Ginty (Canter), James Cromwell (Older Canter), Ving Rhames (The Prophet), Jack Noseworthy (Strickland), Devin Ratray (Bobby), Michael Cudlitz (Colonel Brendon).

It is a central tenant of science fiction that sooner or later humans will eventually lose their humanity. That technology will get to a point where we can get rid of all the bad stuff in the human experience, and that people will jump on the bandwagon to live the “perfect life”, and not realize that they are losing something essential in being human.

The new film Surrogates takes the familiar premise, and does nothing new or original with it. Sure, the film is not bad, it is not boring, but it is not very involving either. It just sits there on the screen, and I waited for something to reach out and grab me, but nothing ever did.

14 years ago, Surrogates were invented by Dr. Canter (James Cromwell). The concept was that people with physical disabilities could control a robotic version of themselves and live a somewhat normal existence. But in the years since, the concept has taken off in ways Canter never imagined, forcing him out of the company he founded. Now, almost everyone in the world has a surrogate and they use them to avoid real life. No one leaves their homes anymore, they send their surrogates out instead. If a surrogate gets destroyed, it doesn’t matter. The person who controls the surrogate are fine. Regular humans have become pale, overweight and anti-social. But with surrogates, you can be whoever you want to be.

But then, something strange happens. Canter’s son has his surrogate killed while out on the town, and strangely, he dies as well. His brain seems to have been boiled from the inside out. There seems to be a new weapon that not only kills surrogates, but the people attached as well. Not only that, but the weapon seems to have fallen into the hands of the Dreads - the group led by the Prophet (Ving Rhames) - who disapprove of the very concept of surrogates.

FBI Agent Grier (Bruce Willis) is in charge of the investigation. He and his wife (Rosamund Pike) have been hiding from life ever since the death of their son. But in the course of the investigation, Grier’s surrogate is destroyed, and he cannot get a new one right away - so he is stuck going out into the real world in his human form. And he starts to hate what he sees.

Surrogates has a clever premise, but then does nothing with it. There is not a plot development in the film that you do not see coming a mile in advance. I have always preferred the everyman Willis to the superhuman action heroes of Schwarzenegger and Stallone, or to the pretty boys like Damon. And he is still able to play this type of role convincingly. He keeps the film watchable. The rest of the cast is pretty much interchangeable - even great actors like Cromwell and Rhames.

I did like some of the special effects in the movies. The surrogates have a slightly waxy, plastic look to them, and I liked the way they movie somewhat unnaturally. Yet after a while, looking at cool special effects cannot replace an actual interesting plot or character development. Surrogates is fine if you do not expect very much out of it. It is certainly not a bad movie. Yet, I wish that someone involved in the movie had at least some ambition.


  1. Surrogates 2009 movie trailer make high interest inside of my heart. It was a nice science faction movie which predicting future of the human. It will be most thrillerfic movie which contain protect high curiosity through out the movie. It will be nice movie forever.


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