The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Disney/Touchstone - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 89 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, Boris Kodjoe, Ving Rhames, James Cromwell, Jack Noseworthy
Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
Music by: Richard Marvin
Written by: John Brancato & Michael Ferris based on the graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 26, 2010
"A more perfect you"
FBI agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) lives in a world where robotic surrogates stand in for people, protecting them from violence, contagionand the appearance of aging. These picture perfect, real-life avatarsfit, good-looking, remotely controlled machines that assume their operator's life roleenable the population to experience life vicariously from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Greer and his partner, Agent Peters (Radha Mitchell), are called in to probe the mysterious death of a college student, whose life ended when his surrogate was destroyed. When Greer's surrogate is damaged in the investigation, he ventures out of his apartment for the first time in decades. In a world of masks, Greer must decide who is real and who can be trusted.
When we envision the future the idea of robots/androids is something that has been emphasized in films for many years. Today's technology makes this a much more plausible concept. Surrogates is a sci-fi thriller based on the graphic novel of the same name by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. It employs an interesting premise where humanoid robots are designed and linked to humans via an operating chair/apparatus that allows humans to live life through them without having to leave home. The process was originally developed for disabled people however it quickly became adapted by Virtual Self Industries (VSI for short) for use by anyone/everyone as a means to live life without the dangers inherent in the outside world. Acceptance and integration came quickly with only a small group of separatists seeing it as an unacceptable substitution. The use of surrogates effectively eliminates human to human contact and the mortality rate drops accordingly. One night a young well to do college student's surrogate is destroyed outside of a nightclub by a stranger wielding an unknown weapon/device. The case is investigated by FBI agents Greer (Willis), and Peters (Mitchell) who subsequently discover that not only was the surrogate destroyed but its human handler at home died as a result. The case represents the first homicide since the inception of surrogacy. Little do the investigators realize that this young man's death will spark events that lead them on the trail of a killer whose ultimate goal is the elimination of every surrogate and potentially every human they are connected to.
I wanted to see Surrogates while it was in theaters but never got around to it. I thought that conceptually speaking it had excellent potential. After watching it I still feel that way but ended up wanting more from its story. The dehumanization of man plot started out fine but continued to sink deeper into a derived and scheming storyline that lacked originality and focus. By the end it also started feeling a little preachy as it spoke to mankind's quest for physical perfection and reliance on advanced technology. While not a perfectly executed thriller I still enjoyed its level of suspense, semi-evocative interpersonal relationship between Greer and his wife and brief action based elements. Bruce Willis had no trouble handling the starring/heroic role of Greer. Radha Mitchell and Rosamund Pike were equally convincing in support and providing excellent eye candy. Casting James Cromwell as Cantor after his role in I Robot came off as a sort of rehashing that added to the been there done that connection. In the end Surrogates is an average thriller that isn't especially memorable but makes for a watchable popcorn flick on movie night.
The rating is for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality, and a drug related scene.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Surrogates comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3 mbps.
This is an excellent video presentation that boasts plenty of high level detail, bold use of contrast, deeply saturated colors, and three dimensional acuity. Blacks have excellent dynamic range with velvety depth and visible gradational highlights. Visual perspective in low lighting and darkened areas is estimable. The combination gives dark scenes appreciable dimension. Images are punchy, boldly colorful, clearly drawn, eye catching and perfectly suited for the source material. Any softening is innate and strictly limited to the film's visual style. The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has extended dynamic range, detail rich clarity and makes ample use of the entire surround platform to drive the film's elements. The music score, coupled along with well integrated discrete and ambient sound effects, plays an intricate role in this involving and sometimes active surround mix. The detection of subtle background sounds, off camera cues and spatial dimension within the room's acoustic environment makes for a notably enveloping surround experience. Low frequency effects can be intense as the subwoofer works in tandem with the rest of the system to convey the low level bass and dynamic impact during action based sequences. Dialogue is firmly planted in the center channel and clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and balance within the front soundstage. I thought the presentation was quite good and as a whole enhanced the enjoyment of the film.
- Audio commentary
- (HD) A more perfect you: The science of Surrogates - 15 minute featurette
- (HD) Breaking the frame: A graphic novel comes to life - 6 minute feature
- (HD) 4 deleted scenes
- (HD) I will not bow music video by Breaking Benjamin
Surrogates is a potentially good sci-fi thriller that unfortunately succumbs to its derived and ultimately unfulfilling plot. While it may not be as rewarding as I had hoped it still makes for a decent popcorn flick that looks and sounds terrific on Blu-ray Disc from Disney/Touchstone. If you're a fan this will make for a technically strong addition to your collection, otherwise throw it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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