Saturday, January 30, 2010


so we just watched this movie, surrogates, with bruce willis. (i mean the movie was with bruce willis, not we watched it with bruce willis. although that would have been awesome, i don’t want to mislead anybody.)

i have not seen a movie with a more interesting concept in a long time, and it was super cool the way all the surrogates looked just slightly fake. (yeah, i know, look who’s talking!)

unfortunately, i’ve got to give a big spoiler alert here and tell you that it kind of tanked at the end. i’d say it’s still worth seeing, even though i didn’t like the ending, so don’t read any more of what i’m about to type unless you just totally aren’t interested in seeing this movie, ever.

so here’s the deal. firstly, our hero kinda gets played for a patsy at the end. he doesn’t solve the big mystery, or really figure out much of anything himself. he does end up saving the lives of everybody on the planet, only it’s not very believable that he manages it, cos he pulls it off by rushing into the secret lab of the semi-evil genius, james cromwell. now, the whole reason the story started off is, the giant corporation that makes the surrogates was trying to kill james cromwell. and to do it, they needed a super-duper weapon that could kill him through his surrogate. why would they need that, if one guy could just rush past cromwell’s security guards and find his secret lab? i mean, it turns out that getting to james cromwell is really crazy-easy, so he should already be dead, because the giant corporation needs to off him to keep him from shutting them down.

but that’s only a bit of plot goofiness, which i’m usually willing to overlook when a movie has heart or a powerful or brainy message.

what gave me a real bug up my undies was, the message at the end didn’t actually make any sense. bruce stops cromwell’s virus from killing everybody, but he lets it destroy all their surrogates, so they’ll have to start living their lives “for real.”

now, i liked this message in wall-e, but wall-e made it clear that living through the viewscreens was really bad for everybody. they were all fat and out of touch and passive about everything. but this movie doesn’t show that at all. the people in this movie live very active and engaged lives through their surrogates, and when everybody comes stumbling out at the end, they mostly look pretty normal. and obviously there must be thousands or millions of paraplegics and other invalids who are totally screwed at the end because the surrogates get turned off.

so i’m not sure i really buy the movie’s point that the surrogates were making the world a worse place. there was no murder, almost no violent crime, everybody was safe from tragic accidents, everyone seemed to be gainfully employed, and after work things looked like pretty much a constant party.

but even if we accept that it was really a bad thing for them to all be living fake lives through these robot bodies ... then what the hell are we doing watching a movie anyway? what is bruce willis’s character if he’s not a surrogate through which we get to save billions of lives and set the world right? even in his “meatbag” body, he’s a fine hunk o’ man, let me tell you, and his wife is a hottie despite the fact that she’s got a scar from the car wreck that killed their poor kid. we’re fooling ourselves more by watching him do all this unbelievable stuff and fix his marriage in the process than the surrogate users are fooling themselves by walking out of their apartments in android bodies.

so if it was a good thing for bruce to let the virus whack all the surrogates at the end, then it would also be a good thing for us to stop watching movies, right?

i guess i do have to give a certain amount of credit to a movie that manages to completely disprove its own reason for existence ... only i kinda don’t think that’s what the filmmakers were trying to do.

anyhoo, i give it 3 stars out of 4, on account of the first 3/4 of the movie really rocked, and even the weako ending made me think about things.

thinking’s always good, right?