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Surrogates - Blu-ray / action adventure DVD / suspense thriller DVD / science fiction DVD review
SURROGATES Rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Bruce Willis, James Cromwell, Ving Rhames, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike
Director: Jonathan Mostow Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
DVD release: 26 January 2010 Runtime: 88 min. (1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen , Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p HD, Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 - English; Dolby Digital 5.1 - French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), Commentary w/ dir. Jonathan Mostow, "I Will Not Bow" music video (Breaking Benjamin), A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates, Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life, Deleted scenes

Surrogates is an action-packed thrill ride of a movie, yet it also poses some interesting moral dilemmas that will cause the viewer to do some thinking. It's both a treatise about technology and about what it truly means to be a functional human being in the world.

Set in the near future, Surrogates explores a time where human robot surrogates (or avatars, if you will) have all but taken the place of humans in the world. The operators of these surrogates (which are designed especially for each person) take their place in a chair in their home and control these surrogates with their minds. This removes physical danger from the world, and the crime rate - especially murder rate - has virtually disappeared. There are a few groups of people, known as the "dreads" and headed by "The Prophet" (Ving Rhames), who despise surrogates and have formed their own reservations where surrogacy is not allowed.

The system has a bunch of failsafe protocols, one being that the operator is not harmed when the surrogate is harmed. Yet a weapon seems to have been developed that, when employed, kills both the surrogate and its operator. Two people are killed, and police officers Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) and his partner, Peters (Radha Miller), are dispatched to get to the bottom of it. The mystery takes on greater urgency when it's discovered that one of the people killed was the son of the initial developer of the surrogate, Dr. Canter (James Cromwell).

Surrogates is nearly non-stop action, but it also has many touching moments. Tom struggles with using his surrogate to the extent where he and his wife, Maggie (Rosamund Pike), never interact as their human bodies and therefore never have real conversations or physical contact. Conflicts like these cause the viewer to see both sides - the advantages and disadvantages - of such a system. Would we want to live in a world like this? No crime, but also no real human contact?

The Blu-ray high definition is crisp and clear, fitting for a futuristic thriller. The surrogates are made to look "perfect" while their human counterparts, with all of their scars, flaws, and issues, are flaunted in rough living color. The high definition makes this contrast exquisitely believable and realistic. The Blu-ray edition includes some exclusive bonus features, including a featurette on the translation of the graphic novel into a movie.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised at the intensity and depth to this movie. It's definitely worth watching, and maybe more than once.
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reviewed by Melissa Parcel
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