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Surrogates, 2009 – Movie Review

Posted by LiveFor on September 27, 2009

Surrogates_lDirector: Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, Ving Rhames
Running Time: 88 minutes

Score: 6 / 10

This review by Raymund Salao

Surrogates is a sci-fi movie about a future where every human being can connect their bodies into machines & they instantly live a different life through their robotic human-looking surrogates. Anybody can just stay home all day while they are connected online with their surrogates that can just easily live outside in the real world. But when a surrogate was killed along with its user, FBI agent Greer unravels a conspiracy that can lead to the death of billions of lives.

The storyline of this movie falls somewhere around the categories where movies like Blade Runner, Minority Report, and I-Robot belong. A movie that talks about how future technologies can affect human life and provide some philosophical point-of-view that is worth pondering on. The idea of technology progressing into and reaching the boundaries that it becomes an abomination of nature. The movie tends to be thought provoking, but does not make it good enough to be worth an entire evening of discussion.

There were some moments that seemed preachy, but could have been delivered more effectively if given a proper execution or interpretation. I am talking about the moments when our main character realizes the beauty of a world free from technological complexities. We also have the minor subplot of a corporation just concerned about safeguarding their own products. And a main character coming to the realization that these products eventually diminish the humanity of a person.

It is surprising that the weaker point of this movie is the action. The terminator rip-off scenes seemed bland and there was a chase scene with a female surrogate that looked goofy because it employed a “superhero” type of action. To make it worse, there are some visual effects that look like they’ve been rendered 15 years ago.

With the main character of Bruce Willis running around in his actual human form for most parts of the movie, we realize that he basically is the weaker person in this world of robotic mannequins, and yes we do see him bleed a lot in this movie (it is funny to note that Willis is one of those actors that just look cooler when he gets more scars and bruises, it’s like John McClane only without the crazy action). With him being the frail character, that alone clearly reminds you that this is not your regular Bruce Willis action flick. The movie just basically starts out as a futuristic detective-type movie then progresses into the same mood as Willis was in films like “Unbreakable” where he stumbles around a maze that leads him to some enlightening truth.

The high points of this movie lie in the storyline. Second is the way the movie creates this amazing-looking world of a future inhabited mostly by surrogates. The surrealism of the movie is not too far-out that most of what you see seem like they exist in the present world; there are no flying cars or rockets everywhere; its just the simple existence and presence of mannequin-like robots everywhere. The storyline may be good enough to be enjoyably satisfying, but it certainly is not the best, or perhaps not good enough to be groundbreaking.

All in all, SURROGATES is one of those good sci-fi movies that will simply entertain those who are fans of smart sci-fi movies. Action junkies may be a little disappointed though. This is a far cry from Blade Runner, but this certainly gives you a cheaper version of that kind of enjoyment. I loved it. But it is definitely not unforgettable.

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Surrogates – Director Jonathan Mostow talks about the film

Posted by LiveFor on September 23, 2009

Surrogates-Bruce-Willis-Radha-MitchellSurrogates, director Jonathon Mostow’s blockbuster adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldes, is a sci-fi action-thriller starring Bruce Willis and set in a alternate version of present day Boston. It’s a version of contemporary Bean Town that looks quite familiar – no space-age megadomes or flying cars – apart from the suspiciously flawless appearance of its citizenry. They all look like movie stars; not a blemish or a hair out of place, let alone an actual physical deformity. It’s as if the Stepford Wives had colonized the city with their picture perfect offspring – which, in fact, is not so very far from the case.

In the world of Surrogates, people lock themselves away in the safety of their homes while their lives are lived by idealized, android versions of themselves. It’s an arrangement that, though it purports to eliminate crime and any number of other social ills, naturally has its share of implications, some more sinister than others. It also gives rise to some interesting parallels with how our own lives have been transformed by the on-rush of cyber technology.

“I guess you could call it a robot movie,”
says Mostow, “and there have been a thousand of those. But I think this one is different. It just seemed to fit closely with how we live our lives today. What Surrogates is all about is how people retain their humanity in the face of relentless technology. I got that instantly from reading the script. It’s about how people are tethered to their electronic devices such as mobile phones, Blackberrys, etc; how they do their shopping on the net; how you’re not talking to a person you’re talking to a piece of software when you call the customer service line.”

And if that sounds off-puttingly cerebral, don’t fret. Mostow promises plenty of blockbuster action and intrigue to go with the smart stuff. “What’s interesting about the graphic novel,” he says, “is that it goes into all that with these inserted sections where the story stops and there are several pages of fake news reports and things like that. You can’t really do that with a movie. With a movie you’ve got the audience for two hours and it’s all about telling the story. This is a big-budget studio movie so of course, it’s got all the chases and explosions you’d expect. Even so the meaning comes to the surface anyway.”

The story in question revolves around veteran BPD detective Greer (Willis), a hard-bitten old-timer who pounds the beat in the guise of a pretty boy surrogate, keeping his vulnerable body safely at home, attached to his cyber-self’s sensory transmitters. Things go haywire for Greer when a serial killer starts offing people via their surrogates, something their manufacturers claim is impossible. The investigation and the revelation that surrogates do not render people invulnerable to violent crime – to say nothing of the ethical issues raised by surrogatehood – lead Greer to question the entire system.

“My question before we ever screened Surrogates for test audiences,” says Mostow, was, “Are people going to get what we’re talking about here? Or are they just going to enjoy the chases and explosions? It was great to find out that, even though it plays like a mystery, suspense action movie, all the focus groups wanted to talk about was the social commentary. I’ve never seen that happen before.”

Apart from shifting the setting of the graphic novel from Atlanta and the time zone from the future to the present day, Mostow’s Surrogates (adapted by writers Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato) rejects the comic book’s dark tone for an altogether brighter look. This, he explains, was partly out of necessity. “To create the idealized, surrogate versions of the actors there’s a lot of makeup effects,” he says. “We had an Oscar-winning makeup team. There’s a lot of CGI, too, but in addition to that, we had to light everybody in the most flattering way possible. So, going for the dark, moody look of the novel would have destroyed that illusion.”

The lead role of FBI Agent Greer was difficult to cast due to its dual nature, but Bruce Willis was the perfect fit, so the choice of was a no-brainer, according to Mostow,. “Bruce was absolutely top of our list from the beginning for several reasons,” he says. “First of all, I think he’s a very underrated actor. When he does the big action movies, people don’t realize how much craft goes into those performances. Part of that craft with Bruce is that he makes even the most outrageous circumstances credible. No matter what he’s doing – and in Surrogates he does some pretty crazy things – you always believe him. Secondly, he’s the perfect age. I wanted Greer to be real, a guy who has got some mileage on him, so there’s the contrast with his surrogate who is young and vital. Bruce makes that work. And lastly, he has a track record of playing tough cops and detectives, but he also has a definite science fiction cache because of things like Twelve Monkeys, ‘The’ Fifth Element and Armageddon.”

There’s every indication that Surrogates will be that rare thing – a big budget Hollywood sci-fi movie that, in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner, actually provides food for thought alongside the eye-candy. “This is not a bubble-gum movie,” says Mostow. “It’s definitely got the stuff you’d expect from a Bruce Willis, sci-fi – action film. But it takes the subject matter seriously. There’s nothing frivolous about it.”

Mind you it could also end up being the next Johnny Mnemonic!

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Surrogates – New International Trailer

Posted by LiveFor on September 11, 2009

Agent Greer (Bruce Willis) is a homicide cop in a world where surrogates have ended violence. But when several operators (ie people) die when their surrogates are killed, he is called into action to investigate – and when his surrogate is also killed, the real Greer has to step out onto the streets for the first time in years.

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Surrogates – Lots of TV Spots for Bruce Willis sci-fi film

Posted by LiveFor on September 5, 2009

Set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation and interact through surrogate robots, a cop (Willis) is forced to leave his home for the first time in years in order to investigate the murders of others surrogates.

Due out on the 25th September.

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Avatar – The teaser trailer is with us

Posted by LiveFor on August 20, 2009

Here it is. The trailer for James Cameron’s sci-fi 3D epic is out on the cinema. Here is a much better version of the trailer. Have a look and let me know what you think of it. Will it be worth the wait?

I think it looks amazing but at the moment the big eyes of the alien Na’vi make me feel that it is a little cartoony. I’m sure that will change when I see more footage of the film.

I still feel that the plot may be the biggest weakness here – a mix of Dances With Wolves, the new Bruce Willis film Surrogates and most of all the 1992 animated film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. The IMDB synopsis for that latter is The magical inhabitants of a rainforest called FernGully fight to save their home that is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus.

Avatar is about the alien inhabitants of the planet Pandora fighting to save their home that is threatened by the mining and pollution of the humans.

Ferngully even has a human who is shrunk to join the Fairy creatures in battling the bad guys as Sam Worthington gets put in a Na’vi Avatar to join forces with the indigenous population.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely excited to see the film in 3D but I feel our expectations are dreadfully high.
Apple have it in high def.
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Posters – G.I. Joe, Couples Retreat, Five Minutes of Heaven, Precious, Surrogates, The Informant

Posted by LiveFor on July 3, 2009


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Surrogates – International Trailer

Posted by LiveFor on May 28, 2009

International trailer for Surrogates is similar to the previous trailer, but is edited with shorter scenes and a few seconds of new footage.
Directed by Jonathan Mostow. Starring Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike

Due out on 25th September 2009

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Surrogates – Trailer for Bruce Willis sci-fi

Posted by LiveFor on May 21, 2009

FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) investigate the mysterious murder of a college student linked to the man who helped create a high-tech surrogate phenomenon that allows people to purchase unflawed robotic versions of themselves –- fit, good looking remotely controlled machines that ultimately assume their life roles -– enabling people to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. The murder spawns a quest for answers: In a world of masks, who’s real and who can you trust?

I was hoping for something a bit special with this film. The plot sounded great and I like Bruce Willis. However, the trailer leaves me feeling disappointed. It looks like a much cheaper of version of I,Robot crossed with Virtuosity and The 13th Floor. Everything appears to be studio back lot and set bound and has a very 80’s action movie feel to it.

It is due out on 25th September 2009.

That’s just me. How do you feel about Surrogates after seeing the trailer? Has anyone read the comic it’s based on?

Source: /Film

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Surrogates – Featurette showing Bruce Willis as a robot

Posted by LiveFor on May 11, 2009

Surrogates shows a world where people never leave their homes, interacting in the real world through surrogate robots which they can get made to look like anything they want to. It’s a world without consequence, until two people die when their surrogates are “killed”.

Bruce Willis plays a policeman who starts to investigate the ongoing murders using his own surrogate, until it comes time for him to leave his house and investigate in the real world.

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Surrogates – Viral Poster

Posted by LiveFor on April 27, 2009


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