Sure, the movie has a catchy slogan: “Anything you dream, you can achieve…” And it stars mega-star Bruce Willis. Unfortunately, not even a cool catchphrase nor Mr. Willis’ starpower could save this movie. Whatever these filmmakers were dreaming of, they did not achieve anything on the big screen.
The premise of Surrogates (Mostow, 2009) is fairly simple. Set in the near future, people are living their lives through robotic surrogates in a society free of pain and crime. But when someone commits the first murder in years, FBI agent Tom Greer (Willis) is forced to abandon his surrogate and venture out himself in order to uncover an elaborate conspiracy. Sound fairly promising? I thought so. But it is never a good sign when critics aren’t allowed to screen films prior to their release. This usually means that the film is less than stellar and they know the reviews won’t be motivating people to head to the movies. Too bad there is no way to prevent bad press once the movie is released. I don’t think there will be any way to save this movie from being a giant box office flop.
The movie is being marketed as an action-adventure, sci-fi/fantasy thriller based on a little-known five-issue comic book written by Robert Venditti. How a movie can be so many different genres is a mystery to me, but no matter what you want to call it, it wasn’t good. Film critic Robert Abele of the LA Times sums it up well in his recent review of the film: “Director Jonathan Mostow is a little too enamored with all the shiny, colorful surfaces and propulsive action to ever develop a truly creepy speculative-future vibe from the programmatic screenplay.” Sure the film has a few car chases, a sprinkling of explosions, and some action scenes but that’s about it.
The verdict? Don’t waste your money on this flick.
But even though I won’t be able to get a refund on my ticket, I’m not too upset. There was one absolutely fantastic pretty cool thing that happened at the movies Saturday night. The lights dimmed, the chatter ceased, I leaned back in my seat and... a trailer began for New Moon!! It was exciting, let me tell you. Probably the best trailer I’ve seen thus far. Only 53 more days till it comes out. Not that I’m counting.