THE SCREENING ROOM
By Bill Kallay"Surrogates" seems like a movie I've seen before. Or maybe it feels like a lot of movies I've seen before.
"Surrogates" is now available on Blu-ray.
Making science fiction has always been a moving target. What may seem futuristic today usually becomes outdated and stale by tomorrow. This Jonathan Mostow directed movie already feels familiar and dated, and blandly so. It feels like a retread of nearly every recent and old science fiction movie in the past 40 years. It has a little bit of "I, Robot," "Running Man," "Terminator," "Battlefield Earth," "Blade Runner," "Minority Report," and perhaps "CSI'' thrown in the stew.
Seven years from now, the future had enabled humans to have surrogates of themselves (or fantasy selves) live out in society. We're good looking, fit, strong, rich, etc. Think of it as your own avatar (no pun intended). Murder doesn't happen anymore. Society is good, but then of course, something goes wrong. Terribly wrong. It's up to Bruce Willis and his surrogate to fix things.
There's nothing wrong with the idea of the script's premise. James Cameron has proven that avatars can make for a box office hit. But the script here and the execution of most of the production is off. The entire cast, like in most recent science fiction films, is so dead serious. If the future's so wonderful, why doesn't anyone smile? None of the characters is likable and there isn't a villain to root for. And if I see another science fiction movie where there's a humans-against-society or humans-against-robots shanty town, I'm giving up science fiction for good! Okay, I'm being a bit over-the-top here, but it's such an old and tired plot point.
The Blu-ray picture is excellent. It's not a super sharp picture, but that's the look Mostow was probably looking for. The colors are sometimes subdued to bright and colorful at certain points in the film. The production, as a whole, looks like it was shot underexposed by a stop. It's not a happy looking future we're looking at.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is excellent. The sound effects, music and dialogue are perfectly clear. It's not a dynamic soundtrack as there isn't a whole lot of action going on, but it's fine.
Good science fiction makes an audience question ideals of a perfect future, or scares them into thinking what could be possible. Unfortunately, "Surrogates" falls flat on imagination or suspense.
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