However... Much to my surprise, a decent and original storyline. What a scary vision of the future. Though the robots look great, and the idea of sending them out to work etc is not without its appeal, it was depressing to see the "real" people looking slobby and quite honestly depressed.
Also interesting to see Rosamind Pyke in an earlier role.
The possibilities are endless as to how such an invention may change the world in which we live, but sadly the script instead falls on cliché devices and focuses on a more action driven story instead of the possible social and economic implications.
Here's the hole in the logic as I see it - first and foremost: if you could jack in to a robot who would do all your dirty work for you, why then would society hold to the standard conventions of the workplace? The film shows the bustling streets of Boston, filled with teaming hordes of pedestrians and traffic jams - all the people running around with places to go and people to see... but they are freakin' robots, not people! So why drive at all? As the film later shows, the robots have some pretty awesome physical capabilities - so why use fossil fuel vehicles to get around when the robots could run much faster than the cars?
Secondly: the film totally misses some interesting opportunities to say something profound. For example, if everyone is inhibiting robotic avatars, and said avatars could be designed to look like whatever you wanted them to be, then how would the dating process work? What is it that attracts us to each other in the first place - visual and pheromone stimuli - but a robot would not be putting out pheromones, nor would it represent what you really look like - so how do you pick one robot over another to chat up?
Instead of exploring such things, the film sets up a hokey story that carries very little emotional weight - somebody is out to destroy the surrogates. OK, so the film tries its best to make you question the validity of using surrogates in the first place, but I for one remain ambivalent towards whether the surrogates should be eradicated or not - I mean, to each their own - if you want to live in a video game, that's your choice.
The film also falls into cliché and in my opinion total bs by establishing a resistance group who are granted a free zone in each major city so they can live crappy, barely subsistent lives that are free of the surrogates. Not likely on so many levels.
But enough about the concepts of the film (although the concepts are all important, for if the story doesn't hold water then all the slick CGI and good acting in the world won't save it). The film does have seamless CGI is very glossy and well filmed and the acting is interesting - considering that for the most part, the people you see on screen aren't actually people, but robots emoting what people are telling them to emote. There is a kind of stilted ballroom dance feeling to all the verbal interplay - but that's by design.
Bruce Willis is cast as the major focus of the film - a police detective who appreciates the fact that he can be in harms way with his robot without actually putting his self into peril. However he starts to feel disconnected, especially with his wife, who after the loss of their child, retreats into the surrogate almost completely, as if her memories of loss aren't as vivid while inhabiting metal skin (another bit of nonsense).
There are chase scenes and a kind of who-done-it mystery that drive the film, but in the end you really don't care much about any of it - perhaps because they are all just surrogates anyway. I feel cheated, as the idea was profound and could have been made into a much different, and way more interesting film. This sure isn't Blade Runner.
There were some interesting concepts and visuals, but I feel like this was just a slight variation on stories that we've seen before.
I,Robot, Avatar were out of body experiences, but livley and exciting and entertaining to watch.
Surrogates, for all its pros and a concept which could have made it a blockbuster.... was as entertaining and exciting like the lifeless robots which were the focus of the movie.
As always, the movie fails to reach its full potential, but this time it lacks so severley in every facet, starting with the very mismatched cast. Bruce Willis tries, but I dont think sci-fi is really his area of expertise, and the cop role is so severly undermined by the science ficition is leaves him treading water like a first grader. Everyone else was useless, especially Ving Rhames as the "Prophet" - it was a casting flop.
I can't be bothered going into the rest, though the visuals are okay, the puppetry was very "Blade Runner" and thus not really as effective as it should be.... it was laughable.
The plot was twisty and could have worked well if it wasn't so poorly played out and directed.
A dismal failure.... though a remake would be useful...... 20 years down the track. I think the story and concept deserves that much.