So I watched the movie Surrogates and was totally underwhelmed. Normally I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to movies, and it’s way easier to destroy than create so I thought I’d give up my long silence on here by talking for a minute about this craptastrophy. I’ll try to avoid spoilers but if you’re really dead set on not having your ‘moviegoing experience ruined’… well don’t see the movie.
The premise is pretty simple. People go onto the internet to control robot versions of themselves in the real world. 95% of people use these robots. Bruce Willis is on the FBI, and investigates a crime involving someone dying while plugged into the internet.
Ostensibly this is all fine. The most immediate problem however is a more glaring one. The robots are all made by James Cromwell. He’s the kindly old man who invents robot technology that ultimately goes awry. You might remember him from 24 (as Jack Bauer’s dad), LA Confidential and Babe… you might also remember him from I, Robot, in which he plays the kindly old man who invents robot technology that ultimately goes awry. Allow me to ask frankly… how the fuck do you get type cast into THAT specific of a roll?
He’s fairly believably in the roll, which makes sense since James Cromwell was also born roughly 80 years old, and hasn’t aged since. (Much like a robot)
The basic idea of a science fiction story is pretty simple. You come up with a neat concept “People log onto the internet and live out their fantasy lives as someone else”. Then you think of the social implications and ramifications of that, and then build a story. That’s the forumla.
Surrogates however looks like it was something drunkenly scrawled on a bar napkin that somehow made it into a movie. One of the first assertions is “Due to surrogate technology, prejudice has gone away”. Firstly, this doesn’t play a roll at all in the movie, and secondly if anything the internet is one of the strongest strongholds of racism in the universe. I’ve heard more racial slurs hurled at me within 5 minutes of signing into Call of Duty that I have in my entire life walking around in meatspace. Giving someone a robotic version of them to go out into the world and act irresponsibly is, in no conceivable way, actually going to make less crime or discrimination in the world.
The whole movie is like someone standing on a rock shouting angrily in the direction of Second Life because his wife won’t log out and give him the time of day cause she’s busy blowing a half-man half-unicorn online. Which brings up another point. In the movie everyone is pristine and perfect looking, with only one person in the movie being ‘weird’ and they were just blue. If you could have a robot look like anything, where are my sexy devil or bunny eared chicks. Have a little imagination with your robot porn!
((Man I don’t know why I never posted this, it’s been sitting in my Drafts folder for weeks… Enjoy! And don’t go see Surrogates!))