Surrogates Movie Is Worth Seeing, But Barely

A day after seeing Michael Moore’s new film, I was off watching Surrogates. There’s a special place in my heart for sci-fi films, such as this one, and I was genuinely excited.  Sometimes first impressions really shouldn’t be overlooked, though.  I saw the trailer for Surrogates weeks ago, while seeing District 9 (which is a must-see movie of 2009). My first reaction to the trailer was laughter, and it seemed one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve seen a trailer for.  As time went on, and I saw different clips, I began to feel differently.  The concept seemed unique, and there wasn’t a whole lot else playing in the way of competition. So, in the end, I was choosing between Zombieland and Surrogates, and went with the latter.

This is a movie that had a lot more potential than it utilized. It certainly makes you question the nature of reality and the possibilities of advancing technology. It’s enjoyable, but it felt like it could have been so much more than what it was. I found the characters pretty two dimensional. Bruce Willis is great, but this is no Die Hard 3.

What I liked about the movie was it’s take on “virtual reality” or perhaps “alternate reality”, and that it’s the type of film that can mean different things to different people.  There’s a lot of room for interpretation, in particular, within the realm of social commentary, health, and philosophy.  It does have a sort of Matrix feel to it, but not to the same degree.  The film can be viewed as a metaphor for a robotic society, either through a diminished sense of man’s spiritual self, or through mind-numbing pharmaceuticals. In fact, there are a couple of scenes where several pill bottles are shown beside the “control device” for the surrogates, which is used by many to “escape from reality”.

Spoilers below:

Character development definitely seemed to be a low priority.  I found myself not really invested in any of the characters, and it certainly doesn’t help that half the characters in the movie end up being the same person. The ending did not make a whole lot of sense, and despite an obvious attempt at closure, there really wasn’t much. This movie seems to end with the assumption there will not be a sequel (I tend to agree), but it still couldn’t quite bring itself to burn that bridge entirely.

The political climate in the movie was fascinating, but fell short of the brilliance of District 9. The Prophet was an interesting character, but lacked depth, a quality which may have been deliberate given the circumstances of his identity.

Overall, it was a good movie if you’re the contemplative sort, or if you just enjoy action with a sci-fi twist, but I would not put it near the top of my list either for sci-fi, or for Bruce Willis flicks.

While we’re on the subject of sci-fi, what is your favorite science fiction movie? Also feel free to comment on Surrogates, but please do share your top sci-fi picks. There’s a lot out there I haven’t seen.

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3 thoughts on “Surrogates Movie Is Worth Seeing, But Barely

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