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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Thriller > Surrogates (2009/Touchstone-Disney Blu-ray + DVD)

Surrogates (2009/Touchstone-Disney Blu-ray + DVD)

 

Picture: B-/C     Sound: B/B-     Extras: C+/C     Film: B-

 

 

Jonathan Mostow is not a bad director and one who is slowly getting better.I was no fan of his hit U-571 (2000), but felt his Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2003) was much better than people realized.The writers of the last two Terminator films (read three and the disastrous four) Michael Ferris and John D. Brancato (also of Primeval) have reunited with Mostow to make Surrogates (2009), a very interesting Science Fiction thriller (based on the graphic novel comic book by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele) set in a future that does not work as well as those in power claim.

 

As a next step after virtual reality (think Brainstorm or Strange Days), people can now hook into not just video programs, but independently moving robots and live their lives controlling them from home (like Internet extensions of themselves) to work, have intimate sexual affairs, do daredevil stunts they can live to tell about or whatever they want.A growing movement against them is forming and in what seemed safe, some users are dying while using them.

 

Enter Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) investigating what is going wrong.The producing company is (no pun intended) shocked at the allegations that their fail safe product is a killer.This leads to a twisted investigation that makes this film more of a detective thriller than anything Noir, but could have been darker, but the battle within the film is saying something about the smart situation in the narrative while retaining commercial appeal.The result is a decent, watchable film with a pat ending, but more than enough to enjoy in advance.Why this was not just darker and bolder is a shame, but Willis is interesting in his role and is backed by a fine supporting cast that includes Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Jack Noseworthy and Southlandís Michael Cudlitz among others.

 

It is more ambitious than most such films this year and deserves a larger audience than it received in its theatrical release and these new editions will hopefully change that.

 

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is a little soft throughout as there are so many digital effects, including the plasticizing of many actors to look like and seem like the title android/robots, but it is as good as it is going to look just the same.The anamorphically enhanced DVD suffers by comparison with poorer color, lesser Video Black and other detail issues.Director of Photography Oliver Wood (The Jason Bourne Trilogy, The Honeymoon Killers, U-571) shot this in Super 35mm film and does what he can under the circumstances to make it work.

 

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 48/24 5.1 lossless mix is often good, but the soundfield is not always consistent and dialogue recording can be a little off at times, while the DVDís Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a little weaker, but Richard Marvin turns in an interesting score.Extras include a Music Video and feature-length audio commentary track with Mostow in both versions, while the Blu-ray adds exclusive Deleted Scenes and two more featurettes: A More Perfect You: The Science Of Surrogates and Breaking The Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes To Life.

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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