I went to see Surrogates today, starring Bruce Willis:
A short take on the movie.
Starring Bruce Willis, Surrogates takes a well-worn SF trope, the idea of virtual bodies, and puts in a pinch of speculation and development of the ramification and implications.And action. Lots of action. Really, the movie is much more of an action thriller than a SF movie, much to my chagrin.
Willis plays an FBI agent in a world where most people spend most of their outside-their-house interactions and life in virtual bodies that they control from control consoles and chairs. There is a significant minority of people who refuse to use these surrogates. On the other hand, the wide use of these bodies has cut down on violent crime and has apparently increased quality of life for many people.
Until Willis and his partner discover that the murder of a pair of surrogates has managed to, against all known knowledge of how surrogates work, killed the operators at the same time…
While the action sequences are well done, they are unfortunately too much of the movie. There is a lot of room for exploring the concept, and this is regrettably underdone. We see hints of the potential of the concept–how the operators can be very different than their models, even to gender, the sociological implications of a world where physical interactions with real people are denigrated, and so forth. But they aren’t explored. I wanted to see more of these implications. For instance, in a world where people only go out in virtual bodies and bring back things for their physical bodies, does this mean that restaurants (except takeout) have died?
The other problem I have is the ending. I don’t want to give it away, but I do want to say is that the screenwriter, like the lack of exploring the concept, didn’t think through the implications of the finale. (The fact that the actual climax event was as painfully unrealistic, technologically, as Live Free or Die Hard is another problem altogether).
If you can shut off your brain better than I can, you might enjoy the movie better than I did.