The world of science fiction has brought many ideas and inventions through the years. In 2009, Surrogates hit theaters and presented a futuristic world where people stay at home and live their lives through mechanical puppets and can virtually be anyone and do most anything. They control these “surrogates” through a type of virtual reality system where direct human interaction is nearly non-existent, as is most violent crime and any other dangers of daily life. Jonathan Mostow, whose most recent sci-fi directing venture was the third installment in the Terminator series, Terminator: Rise of the Machines, directed this film and seemed to do a better job with this material he was provided with by writers Michael Ferris and John Brancato than the Terminator film.
The script’s story had a somewhat interesting premise that might appear to be similar in other stories in the genre and poignant to today’s world where many people “live” their life with Smartphones. Here’s a look at the trailer below:
On the surface the film looked and felt like a piece of science fiction with a little mystery added to the story. Bruce Willis plays Greer, an FBI agent who, along with his partner Peters (Radha Mitchell) investigate a double homicide in the beginning of the film, an incident in which sets the story in motion. The homicide is of the destruction of two surrogates that have also killed their users. This is something that is not supposed to happen, and therefore the mystery and investigation unfold and develop. An interesting part is during the course of the investigation, Greer’s surrogate is destroyed and he ultimately opts to not get another one. And so, he spends the rest of the film without a surrogate. He is an actual human interacting in a world full of robots. During the run of the film, Greer begins to realize how much he misses actual physical touching and human contact. This is an underlying theme in the film and I think an important aspect to look at in today’s world with our dependence upon technology.
Surrogates is not a blockbuster but does have interesting overtones and themes in connection with technology, because in many cases today it seems our use of technology isolates us from others, just as Greer felt as he was venturing into the world in real life as others were still virtually living. Many people today are fascinated with technology and social media and become so engrossed in being “social” on their phone, they miss being social in “real life.”