Sunday, October 18, 2009


Last Saturday I went and saw Surrogates. The initial plan was to take advantage of the Magnum Gold Class offer, but a few hours beforehand I checked online if there were still seats available, and alas Gold Class was already booked out (Before asking why I hadn't done that, with the offer you couldn't book online for that screening, but you could buy tickets on the day), so with a bit of texting and calling, we relocated to the Southbank cinema.

Surrogates has an interesting premise, although I did have a tough time accepting some of the changes to society that had happened as a reaction to the introduction of surrogates.

For those who haven't seen the movie (in other words, those who don't care that spoilers follow), a surrogate is a pretty life like robot that you can control remotely through a virtual reality interface. And since you get to choose what it looks like, there are no ugly people anymore. In the movie, almost no one goes outside in person, they just use their surrogates to go out and about in the real world. This is the first thing that's a bit hard to accept. The near universality of surrogates, and the high end ones at that does not seem likely. At one point the movie does show a cheap model that is a bit rough around the edges and still in the uncanny valley, but this is the only time you see such a model. Everyone else has a top of the line model that looks beautiful. I can understand vanity pushing people to spend more, but for something so widespread throughout society, surely there are going to be a lot of people who either won't or can't pay for the good looking models.

Of course these might have been the people who lived in the exclusion zones. These are quite frankly something that would never happen. In the world of Surrogates, there were people who didn't like the idea of surrogates and were aggressive about it, and so in most cities there were set up exclusion zones where surrogates weren't allowed in. I can kind of understand this, but they took it too far. Not only are surrogates not allowed in, the exclusion zones are essentially a lawless zone where police, in person or in surrogate, are not allowed in and they are essentially a separate nation (at one time in response to a policeman entering an exclusion zone, they threaten war). Set up the zone, sure, but it's still part of the country and the law still applies.

There were a few other holes in the story I won't go into, but I will say that the makeup on Bruce Willis was done very well, as when he was in his surrogate he looked just like his younger self. I would recommend seeing it as it is a good watch, even if you do leave debating about the ideas in it.

One cool point for Red Dwarf fans is the brand of Bruce Willis's refrigerator: Smeg.

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