Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Surrogates - 2009

"Surrogates" - 2009
Dir. by Jonathan Mostow - 1 hr. 29 min.

The key word in discussing this movie is "shortcuts."  Based on a graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele, the premise that a technological genius invented life-like robots that people could control from a remote location (usually their home).  Literally everyone does this - the real world is populated not by people, but their electronic doppelgangers.  When the borderline insane genius' son is killed while operating a "surrie," Bruce Willis' character is called in to investigate, because that should not be able to occur.  Naturally, there's also a resistance to this technological revolution, resulting in surrie-free reservations scattered across the United States.

It's a solid premise, but my chief problem with this movie (aside from Bruce Willis' surrie's cowlick and Ving Rhames weird paste-on Rasta beard) is that it doesn't really set the stage well enough to make the issues hit home.  Shortcuts.  There are a million unexplored or barely-explored avenues that could have filled out this movie into something far more interesting.  It's clear that the surrie phenomenon was widespread in America, but what about elsewhere?  There's little explanation of what effects living vicariously through a robot (it's pretty much the ultimate in sedentary lifestyle) actually have on people.  The resistance pockets are treated as nutjobs - but what would motivate a person to abandon experiencing life in a first-hand manner?  This one was hinted at (which is a shame, since it's supposed to be the major underlying cause of the dissension between Willis' character and his wife), but not in an particularly interesting manner, and not really with any consequences.  There's also the fact that, while the surries are inundated with advertising, literally 100% of it is for upgrades or new surries.  Apparently, there are no ads for even the basic necessities in this world.

I almost never advocate this, but it felt like this movie needed at least another half hour to fill things out.  As it is, it's a little bit of a Scooby Doo mystery, and none of the interesting avenues branching off the main artery that might help a viewer understand where they are and why things are the way they are is explored at all.  Instead, there are action sequences where we learn that the surries are kind of heavy, but still can jump ten feet in the air.  Sigh...

2 / 5 - NF Streaming

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