Surrogates In Review
Have you ever gone to a movie and wondered what was wrong with you? You see your fellow moviegoers getting into the plot, reacting to every twist and turn that the writer seemed to write just for them. Even your date that, until now, you believed had an identical outlook on movies as you has joined the rest and is enjoying the movie. Yet, try as you might, you just can’t seem to escape into the billion dollar world on the screen. For its hour and a half duration, the appeal of Surrogates escaped me. Perhaps I’ll never be the Sci-Fi fan so many dear people wish I could be.
Based on the comic book series, The Surrogates by Robert Venditti, Surrogates is set in Boston, Massachusetts in the not too distant future of 2017 when the world is overrun with robots. Too afraid to leave the comfort and safety of their own homes, many humans have opted to have a robotic replica/surrogate of themselves created so that they never have to venture out again. With the use of a special machine, humans are able to remotely control their other self and send it out into the world to do for them what they normally would’ve done for themselves. As a result, the world is a peaceful place devoid of crime, pain and every other nasty byproduct of life. However, when the impossible happens and a human gets killed when his surrogate is destroyed, it is up to Agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) to solve the crime. Yet, when more and more murders occur, it becomes clear to Greer that someone is on a mission to rid the world of surrogates. Who is destroying the surrogates? How is it possible that operators are getting killed when their surrogate self is harmed? Will Greer ever see his wife in human form again? To have these questions and others answered, you sadly must see the movie.
In his first big movie since 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, Bruce Willis is wasted. Though his talent is not limitless, when given the right script, he certainly can amaze you. Especially when it comes to action movies, he has arguably put out some of the best of this era. This is why I allowed myself to be dragged to Surrogates and may explain why I was so annoyed watching it. Directed by Jonathan Mostow with a screenplay by Michael Ferris, Surrogates is a very flawed movie. It drags at points and, at others, seems to skip chunks of the story. The characters are boring and the scenarios they are placed in are laughable. Watching this movie, I was reminded of the 2006 mistake…umm…movie, Snakes On A Plane, starring Samuel L. Jackson. However, unlike with Snakes, Surrogates gives you more chances to scratch your head in confusion than to laugh inappropriately. Just as I wondered about Jackson’s motivation in signing on to his dud, I now wonder about Willis. The only thing that keeps me from giving up on Willis is the hope that the film he thought he was making wasn’t the one I saw the other day. As for the story, I’ll just assume that the movie doesn’t do the comic books justice.
Surrogates is another lesson movie that Hollywood has produced to teach us humble average Joes and Janes about life and how to live it. Though we have not resorted to using robots, by way of avatars and chat rooms, we have still, in essence, forfeited our lives to a machine. Instead of meeting face-to-face to settle disputes and fall in love, many people are hiding behind their internet persona to appear to be better than they are. Like the humans of 2017 whose surrogate selves were made more and more attractive and physically fit/mechanically powerful as their human counterparts seemed to wither away in their special chairs, the same could be said of certain modern day humans. When these robots were first created, the purpose of their birth was to allow disabled people to experience things that only mobile individuals could, not to give humans in general a means to never leave their house. When chat rooms were developed, it was with the purpose of bringing people together when “real life” interaction wasn’t possible, not to act as a permanent substitute for daily face-to-face interaction. In both cases, the original purpose was lost and humanity has suffered for it. What will it take to get people to see this?
In short, though an important message is conveyed, I cannot recommend Surrogates. It is a poor movie that Bruce Willis should have stayed away from. If you need to see this movie, you should wait until it is available to rent. It’ll save you some money and give you adequate time to rethink your decision to see it.
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