Surrogates Blu-Ray Review

Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
This cover is exceptionally boring. Would I have it as a poster? Heck no. I don’t even want it as a DVD cover, but we’re stuck with it. The menu, however, is pretty cool. It’s futuristic, with that flashy interface that makes you want to reach out and do the touch screen thing. You can’t, but it’s a good tease.

Features: 5/10

  • Deleted Scenes – These deleted scenes should be put back in the movie. There are actual plot points that are missing from the movie, in my opinion, that are here laying on the digital cutting room floor.
  • A More Perfect You: The Science Of SurrogatesHow they connected the reality of android technology as it stands in the 21st century with their fictional world. It’s a talking heads, promo piece, but it’s got some good information about robots and science, limited but enough to maybe make you want to go do some research of your own.
  • Breaking The Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes To Life – This is the original author and artist involved in the graphic novel that started it all. There are some bits of the book animated while the dudes talk about the process of making the story hit the big screen.
  • “I Will Not Bow” Music Video By Breaking Benjamin – Ugh
  • Feature Audio Commentary By Director Jonathan Mostow –He’s a pretty good talker, very detailed and very into the science behind the fiction.

The Movie: 5/10
The idea is bigger and better than the movie is able to present it. That sums up my whole experience of Surrogates. I really do like the ideas, the concept behind the big cultural message that’s being shoved into this action flick. Well, the action is fairly limited and not very satisfying, if I’m totally honest. It’s the adventure part I did enjoy. A trip to the near future where we have designed, built, bought, and become dependent on robots who look like us, or some representation of who we want to be in the world.

We, the human race, have subsequently become sloths who lay around in stemchairs all day in our pajamas and let our surrogate bodies take all the risk, do all the work, become US in everyday life. It’s not a perfect plan. I mean, you still have to lay in that damn chair all the time with crazy eye covers and hooked up to a computer, but hey, at least you’re laying down.  So, as you move in the virtual world of what your mind sees through your surrogate they act, behave, talk, look, feel, react, human. I was wondering though, is it all mind control? Like, do I just think I’m walking and my surrogate walks, or am I laying in this chair thing moving my legs? I guess I’m hung up on mechs, or something like that. Oh well, it’s just one distraction of many through the movie.

I would say that the experience of watching the movie wasn’t as good as reliving it and talking about it later with  my husband, the esteemed Ascully. We had more fun laughing at the loopholes, talking about the big ideas, contemplating the implications of how automated versions of ourselves in the real world, not just in Science Fiction movies. That’s saying something about a film, it stimulated a lot of thinking and conversation. It just had so many little things I can pick at that it was hard to see past them.

Why is the world the same if 99% of all humans stay in their homes and send surrogate robots out to live their lives? You would think that it would be a pretty wild, or generic place. Why does the writer try to convince us that there is hardly any crime and yet there are still Police, FBI, and even a scene where we see two men surrogates trying to rape a woman’s surrogate in a hotel room. It doesn’t hold together under much scrutiny, so I recommend the “go with the flow” approach and appreciate the good things.

I LOVE the idea, it’s not new, but it’s good to explore. We are disconnected from each other more, but connected and addicted to technology, ego, vanity, all wrapped up in a thriller kind of story. it’s not very thrilling, I’ll be honest, but I did care about the characters and what their ends would be. I can’t say that about most movies anymore.

The cast is fine, a little stiff…hahaha get it, they are acting like robots, stiff…get it? ohhh funny. No, I’m kidding. I did like almost everyone. I’m not a big Ving Rames fan, and he’s not much to write home about in this movie. Other than that everyone was totally watchable. It’s a bit melodramatic, so again, go with it or you will be rolling your eyes regularly.

I would have liked it to be more dark, gritty, more ugly, but as it is it’s bright and kind of glossy. I guess making a world full of fake humans needs a bit of shine, but I harken back to movies like Strange Days, Blade Runner, Dark City, dark adds some mystery if it’s done right and Surrogates could have benefited from a sprinkle or two of that.

Overall I liked it enough to say rent it for some modern interpretation of the “technology is causing humans to go to hell in a hand basket” theme. I even liked it enough to keep talking about it with Mr. Ascully….not all movies stimulate that much chatter, so that’s a good thing.

Audio & Video: 8/10
Surrogates is a very interesting looking movie. The filmmakers use a variety of make-up techniques to make people look like their surrogate selve’s. You would think that would make for a DNR nightmare as trying to make Bruce Willis look 20 years younger is no easy task. This is simply not the case as if you look really closely you can see film grain even on the most extreme closeups of Mr. Willis. The movie also has a overall blueish tinge that makes the world look a little stylized. Some might think this is a transfer problem but it is the  director’s intent. Overall Surrogates fairs really well on Blu-Ray disc it almost has a cartoonish feel and blacks are consistent throughout.

The DTS-HD Master audio track is actually quite masterful in parts. Your sub woofer will really come to life during the helicopter sequence and car chase scenes. Dialogue is also handled crisply and clearly A prime example is the amazing opening sequence which uses cobbled together news and radio clips to set the scene. I quite enjoyed Surrogates. It’s not a masterpiece by any means, but if you like a bit of Sci-Fi this is a uncanny look at the way we are heading in this technology filled world. (side note I am writing this from my Stemchair and I am also wearing my PJ’s.)

Value: 4/10
This is one of those movies that seem made to be rental. It’s a good night at the movies for some Sci-Fi action and interesting ideas. I wouldn’t pay more than a few bucks to experience it though. The extras are moderate and even though I would watch it again, .

Overall Score 6/10