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Surrogates – DVD Review

There are many reasons to add Surrogates to your DVD collection. Among them are: you’re a Bruce Willis completeist, you like a good film noir and sci-fi doesn’t turn you off, you’re an all-the-humans-are-robots-except-for-the-protagonist-completeist, or, perhaps, you just like science fiction thrillers. Surrogates qualifies for all those reasons. Even though this isn’t a one of those sci-fi movies based off a Philip K Dick short story, it does deal with a lot of the themes in Philip K Dick’s writings.

Surrogates is based off a graphic novel by first time author Robert Venditti and it struggled to find an audience when it was in the theaters. It had a big name star, a unique premise, and a great director. Jonathon Mostow directed the bit hit Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, so I think everyone expected Surrogates to follow in that vein.

So why didn’t it work? Well, I think the premise may have been a bit too out there for most of the public and, to be honest, the film loses its way a bit about two-thirds through. It’s still a great film. Just not as good as it could have been.

What did work was the Director’s vision for how the story would be told. It’s film noir and a lot of great techniques from the 60s era of film noir are used. Where the film goes off track is when they get away from that style of film and slip into the action thrill. It’s almost as if you can feel the studio executives complaining that there aren’t enough explosions and gun fights.

Surrogates will hit stores on January 26th, but you can pre-order it now on Amazon.

Lots of great factoids below the cut:


· First-time author Robert Venditti came up with the unique premise while working at Top Shelf Publications in their shipping warehouse in suburban Atlanta.

· SURROGATES” was filmed on location in Massachusetts, primarily in Boston and surrounding suburbs.

· In addition to mounting the film in several neighborhoods around Boston—the Leather District, the Financial District, the South End, Chestnut Hill, and the home of his alma mater, Cambridge, among them—director Jonathan Mostow also filmed in such Boston suburbs as Worcester, Taunton and Hopedale.

· Studies led the film’s scripters to a Japanese scientist named Hiroshi Ishiguro, who has been using a plastic version of himself to lecture around the world without leaving his Osaka office. They also uncovered a rhesus monkey in North Carolina that has been wired to make a robot in Kyoto walk, merely by thinking.

· The actual robotic look of the main cast and hundreds of extras appearing in the film came to life through the combined efforts of the film’s two makeup departments—the key makeup under the guidance of Oscar®-winner Jeff Dawn (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”), and the special prosthetic designs courtesy of another Oscar winner, Berger (“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”).

· Some of Howard Berger’s unique designs included the crucified corpse of the surrogate Greer after it’s destroyed; shotgun wounds that graphically reveal the mechanical innards of the robotic doubles.

· Director Jonathan Mostow directed “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which earned $450 million in global receipts in the continuation of one of Hollywood’s most fruitful franchises.

· The Surrogates Blu-ray contains the DVD extras plus exclusive bonus features that go into the heart of the film’s intriguing premise: A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates, Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life, and Four Deleted Scenes

· In addition to his film and television work, director Jonathan Mostow also recently created, for Virgin Comics, The Megas, a four-issue graphic novel series set in an alternative reality, in which the United States is ruled by a monarchy.

Previously: Surrogates on DVD.