Escape to the Movies: Surrogates

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How can you hear Rod Sterling nod? Unless he has bells in his hair.

CmRet:
Bruce Willis is always a very good actor and I personally enjoy his movies. And now that I saw this review I'm definitely going to see it.

Gft.

Bad actors: Christian Bale, Keanu Reeves, Nicholas Cage...funny thing is they get to play cool parts all the time and they suck balls at them. They also should play robots.

Back on topicland, an indie movie came out a while ago...it's called "Teeth". Look it up NOW. have not seen your Jennifer's Body review, but I saw the trailer...Megan Fox remains on my crap actor list.

Surrogates can also be compared to any part of the Ghost In the Shell IP. Or the good Matrix film.

Ponyo? Looks to be from Ghibli...Disney will be upping the weird for no good reason. If no one has noticed, the Miyazaki films have gotten really aimless.

Sorry Bob, but I can't read this.

image

Noticed that infernovolver posted the exact same thing, but hey, it only makes the case stronger, eh.

It looked fine to me. Here's what it said, if you're actually wondering:

Here's some fun movie-vocabulary:
"As-You-Know,-Bob"
It refers to scifi dialogue scenes where people tell each other stuff they both already know as a way to tell the audience how the made-up science "works."

Also, another up-thumb for mentioning Ginger Snaps.

Endocrom:
How can you hear Rod Sterling nod? Unless he has bells in his hair.

That's why you have to listen carefully. ;)

Just a thought about the idea for this. My understanding is that it was lifted by a writer from David Brin's 'Kiln People' when his studio at the time lost the rights for that book. (Brin wrote 'The Postman', but don't blame him, he hated the movie too. 'Kiln People' is a great read)

Also, thanks for pumping up Ginger Snaps. This is one of those movies I try like hell to get everyone to see. I didn't care much for the next couple. 3 was especially painful, but what the hell. The first one is fantastic.

Bob recommended 'Ginger Snaps'? God bless you Bob, I love that film and I regard it as one of the most underrated low-budget horror films of all time. It's one of those films that I always tell people about whenever I'm in film-buff mode. The sequel was alright, I liked the direction they took with it and I though Emily Perkin's performance was nothing short of excellent. The prequel however was a load of unnecessary nonsense. You should all go and watch 'Ginger Snaps' and then check out 'Ginger Snaps Back', but for the love of God don't bother with 'The Beginning'.

As for Surrogates, I'm not really bothered about it, I might check it out if I have nothing better to do but that's looking unlikely.

I think I'll go and see this movie, just to give it some support for exploring new and refreshing concepts. I don't think I've looked forward to a year in the movie industry as much as this one. Even if all these movies might not be masterpieces, I still praise them for daring to step upon new ground. We need more things like that! Though it's a shame money and expensive budget costs has to push down creative minds.

I've never been very much interested in Japanese animation pictures. I cannot find much depth, characters which you can take seriously or even a understandable story. Also alot of it seems to be way to immature for my taste. But maybe that's my own fault? I tend to sub-conciously regard it as TV-shows I saw as I was little. I've never really understood what has made all these animated movies so praised by critics. I guess we all have our own views to look at things. No offense meant to anyone, the genre just hasn't caught my interest despite my occasional attempts.

Nice review, I saw the traliers, and I wasn't too interested, but I might have to check it out. Thanks.

fail at trying to copy yahtzee

im glad you did this i wouldnt have gone to see it without this video

Surrogates doesn't interest me very much, but damn he brought up Ginger Snaps and he must be thanked! Back when it first came out I thought it was amazing, from the music to the tone to the relevance, but no one ever seems to want to watch it.

Surrogates was disappointing to me.

-It didn't address the economic aspect or impact of the majority of the population using surrogates, though it had several opportunites to do so.

-It didn't show much imagination. The world has essentially become a giant video game where personal consequences are largely irrelevant... yet our heroes, in one scene, use an elevator to go down two stories. Why? Why are people even still using elevators when you can invent a kind of vertical, express zipline that gets you where you want to go? The story takes place almost 20 years after surrogates first started being used... but we're supposed to believe people still take the bus to work? Do you get what I'm saying? Death and crime are off the table... so why has nothing changed?!?

The ending pretty much saves the movie, though. I won't spoil anything, but suffice it to say, without the ending, this movie would've been a waste of time. It actually takes some risk and it pays off.

For me "Surrogates" is a huge wasted opportunity. There were so many issues that could have been explored further (conflict between dreads and the surrogate lovers which never gets resolution, mistaken and stolen identities, question why someone would still limit himself to human-like form and activities when one's avatar could literally be anything and do anything) but it all went to hell in favor of standard thriller plot, cliche resolution and a deus ex machina ending. ESPECIALLY the ending. If there's something I hate, it's the character saying something in the veins of "Are you crazy dude? If you press that button it will [insert painfully detailed explanation of some random plot convenience which will eventually happen after the button gets pressed]". For a movie that relies so heavily on plot to finish off a movie with a courtesy of a "win game" button is inexcusable.

All in all, this flick could have been so much better if it didn't eventually insist on playing for the lowest common denominator (e.g. Michael Bay fans).

Boffc47:
fail at trying to copy yahtzee

You sir are a first class moron.
I did not see this coming. Moviebob liked the surrogates. Wonder if I round up my buddies to check it out.

I had low expectations from this one, and in the end decided to call it "serviceable." It moves very predictably, with very few surprises, and I wish certain elements had been handled differently or at least in more depth.
For instance, I fell Willis gave up his surrogate rather abruptly.
In the end? It was worth the few dollars it cost to see. I have no particular interest in watching it again, but it didn't actually disappoint so if I ever met this movie in the street I'd give it a smile and a slight nod in passing.
To put it another way, the really memorable and fun movies of the year (Watchmen, Transformers 2, Inglorious Basterds, Half Blood Prince) have nothing to worry about but I wouldn't put it in the same class as District 9, which I felt vaguely insulted by for some reason.

Well Ponyo was made by Miyazaki. So it should be pretty damn good.

The Ginger Snaps series is awesome, one of my favorite movie series ever, even though I did not like the sequels as much as the original (but isn't that the case with every movie series)
Good to know I don't need to bother with Jennifer's body now :)

Also, I'm new to your series and they're actually pretty enjoyable, keep up the good work!

Thread necromancy time!

Yelchor:

I've never been very much interested in Japanese animation pictures. I cannot find much depth, characters which you can take seriously or even a understandable story. Also alot of it seems to be way to immature for my taste. But maybe that's my own fault? I tend to sub-conciously regard it as TV-shows I saw as I was little. I've never really understood what has made all these animated movies so praised by critics. I guess we all have our own views to look at things. No offense meant to anyone, the genre just hasn't caught my interest despite my occasional attempts.

Just since this is often something that needs to be asked, what anime have you seen? I tend to presume that your experience was Dragonball Z and Pokemon since that's the case with a lot of people, and if so that's not the kind of thing that's praised by critics (in fact, popular things like Naruto, Bleach, DBZ, and non-abridged Yugioh are hated by a lot of us anime fans). As for the regarding them as TV shows you saw when you were little, I wouldn't really blame you since that's quite common, but are you holding an animation age ghetto mentality?

Sorry for any rudeness (I had to bring up that TV Tropes link), I just felt the need to come in, especially since you didn't seem to be aware of Miyazaki (he's beloved by pretty much everyone for a reason).

Edit: Sorry, pet peeve, but anime isn't a genre, it's a medium. Don't worry, a lot of people make that mistake.

Yes, A random person. In my youth I've watched Pokemon and the likes. Just like any other kids' program. And by things praised by critics I was reffering to the occassional anime movie being shown on cinemas. Only saw one. If I remember correctly the name was "Spirited Away"?

As for the "Animation Age Ghetto", I assume that the article shown means that you automatically assume that a cartoon program is soley for kids and can never be understood by adults? This I highly disagree with. However I do preffer movies containing stories, atmospheres and plots which can be interpreted by a more mature mind as well. As long as it provides depth and an immersion which I can relate to. If it's just the "Explosions, cool visual effects and more cool stuff just for the sake of it" approach I will grow bored quickly. Just as with any other form of visual entertainment.

There's also the lack of an understanding story which can be the true killing blow for my respect of things. Or the execution of it. Stories that compose of completely "Black and White" concepts are just dogmatic and immature in my opinion. It leads me to actually sympathize more with the actual "bad guys" since it all feels like childish propaganda.

These are the impressions which I have gained from anime and manga to the majority atleast. This includes the gaming industry as well. Game series such as Final Fantasy have a huge support and many positive views, while all I see is teenagers somehow managing to defeat ferocius monsters and armies with huge chunks of metal like it was made of paper, often aqcuiring god-like powers which enables them to destroy the world should they want to, or something in that direction... What's supposed to be interesting with characters and their development if they are invicible? Infact it's all reminding me of kids playing around in their fantasies pretending to be their favourite super hero/villian. What I've seen appears to be nothing more then shallow entertainment which I abandoned around the age of ten.

Not to mention the voices I hear being used often, sometimes even more unbearable then hearing my own home language on television!

But it seems I have just looked in the wrong places, A random person? If so, perhaps you could guide me in the right direction. Surely this form of media can't be all in the form I've witnessed so far?

Yelchor:
Yes, A random person. In my youth I've watched Pokemon and the likes. Just like any other kids' program. And by things praised by critics I was reffering to the occassional anime movie being shown on cinemas. Only saw one. If I remember correctly the name was "Spirited Away"?

Pokemon kinda started me getting into anime (keep in mind I was about 6), though for all intents and purposes it was a fun series to watch with my older brother (I knew it was anime because he told me). As for Spirited Away, I'm tempted to call heresy on you, but I'll just say that...you know what, I can't really describe it, the appeal to Miyazaki's works is very elusive.

As for the "Animation Age Ghetto", I assume that the article shown means that you automatically assume that a cartoon program is soley for kids and can never be understood by adults? This I highly disagree with. However I do preffer movies containing stories, atmospheres and plots which can be interpreted by a more mature mind as well. As long as it provides depth and an immersion which I can relate to. If it's just the "Explosions, cool visual effects and more cool stuff just for the sake of it" approach I will grow bored quickly. Just as with any other form of visual entertainment.

Well we agree on the animation age ghetto part, though I figured that wouldn't really be a problem with you. As for the part about explosions and cool visual effects, I'd be a liar if I said I didn't like them, but also agreed, I need some decent characterization and plot behind them; because of some lacking in those two, I'm not the biggest fan of 70's super robot anime.

There's also the lack of an understanding story which can be the true killing blow for my respect of things. Or the execution of it. Stories that compose of completely "Black and White" concepts are just dogmatic and immature in my opinion. It leads me to actually sympathize more with the actual "bad guys" since it all feels like childish propaganda.

While I can and do enjoy some stories that have tendencies like that as long as they have somewhat more complexity to their plots, I was always bothered by the whole "evil for the sake of being evil" thing too; you really should give your villains actual motives, save when "for teh evulz" motivations would actually help things (just leaving that avenue open). Even with said "black and white" stories that I enjoy, the villain has more motivation that mustache-twirling villainy.

These are the impressions which I have gained from anime and manga to the majority atleast. This includes the gaming industry as well. Game series such as Final Fantasy have a huge support and many positive views, while all I see is teenagers somehow managing to defeat ferocius monsters and armies with huge chunks of metal like it was made of paper, often aqcuiring god-like powers which enables them to destroy the world should they want to, or something in that direction... What's supposed to be interesting with characters and their development if they are invicible? Infact it's all reminding me of kids playing around in their fantasies pretending to be their favourite super hero/villian. What I've seen appears to be nothing more then shallow entertainment which I abandoned around the age of ten.

A note about the majority of anime giving you that view; sturgeons law, 90% of everything is crap. Anime is no exception, us anime fans thrive on the good 10% just as movie and literary fans do. As for the Final Fantasy part, I have a friend here named lordlee who's far more qualified to discuss that than me, but I have to say that you're probably missing something, at least with some of the games (you can't really judge it well as a series, since all the games are separate except in name and some shared things). Many of the games do in fact explore their characters (though a lot of people like to make emo jokes about that), Final Fantasy VI being a good example. Also, carrying off the earlier point about "evil for the sake of evil," Kefka's actually an effective villain because of it (of course, he's evil because he's insane). Oh, and they're not necessarily invincible, some of them do die.

I'm not going to deny the presence of tropes like eleventh hour superpowers, however, but keep in mind they're not necessarily bad. Hell, as I've grown older (within my teenage years, at least) and browsed TV Tropes, I've come to be more appreciative of fantastical elements and tropes seen in anime and JRPGs.

Not to mention the voices I hear being used often, sometimes even more unbearable then hearing my own home language on television!

Just for clarification, by the voices being used, do you mean the original Japanese or the English dub? While I'm not a dub hater, a lot of English dubs are flat-out embarrassing; as a kid I was embarrassed to watch Pokemon, and I preferred to read the manga instead with a lot of series. And just to throw it out there, I know there's a Finnish company that dubbed Digimon really, really badly.

But it seems I have just looked in the wrong places, A random person? If so, perhaps you could guide me in the right direction. Surely this form of media can't be all in the form I've witnessed so far?

And that I will do! Don't worry, anime isn't all stuff like Pokemon or drawn-out shonen (i.e DBZ, Naruto, Bleach) series, and even with shonen series some can be pretty good.

I would recommend Miyazaki/Ghibli works and Cowboy Bebop to anyone and everyone, and so would a lot of people. I'd also recommend Evangelion; don't be fooled by it being a giant robot series, it's really about the characters and is a deconstruction. Of course, as much as I love it, many consider it pretentious, and I'm a freak for not hating Shinji. Also, I haven't actually seen it, but Ghost in the Shell seems like something you'd like; it is full of action to my knowledge, but it's also philosophical (from what I've heard), and has a cyberpunk thing to it, if you're into that. And Akira, I can't leave without recommending that, it's pretty much required viewing.

Those are just a few things (Ghost in the Shell was a movie that spawned a series, just a note) that came to mind, try TV Tropes for other recommendations. And of course, maybe you could join and ask around in this group.

It would seem that you are unsettled over me with this particular long movie. Was seeing it, or being confused over it heresy?

And indeed. In my point characters that play "villian" roles does not have to have an "evil" mindset. In my view no single individual can truly be "evil". There are evil deeds which can create horrendous consequences, but such is often made by people having to choose between bad or worse, poverty or wealth, personal sacrifice or the sacrifice of others, and so on. What I want with villian roles are not to show that some people are "evil", but to give insight of how our way of thought shapes us and make us ponder on why we believe "Right" and "Wrong" are as they are. The "Just for the evil" concept is pretty much only fitting for comedy if you ask me, beacuse it's just silly. Atleast by judging what I have witnessed from such things.

I'm rather bad with Roman numbers. Is "VI" four or six? And in my meaning, insanity does not go with the "evil just for evil" concept either. There are many horrid things which we can be exposed to both mentally and physically. Frustration, sorrow, anger and many other factors can lead you to abandon responsibility and even gain an urge to take revenge on the world itself. Horrific acts can be easier to commit should it be for the sake of "justice" or making the world aware of your own perils. Just to name the tip of an iceberg of reasons.

"Some" do die? Well, it still doesn't excuse the ridicolous rambo-ness I see. A trailer to Final Fantasy XIII showed a thirteen year old girl being able to defy the laws of gravity while neutralizing a whole squad of heavily armed soldiers if not more with guns that she apparently didn't need to aim with. I admit that Japanese action is not alone in this. Many western entertainment franchises do the same thing, but atleast they do it in a way that doesn't look completely devoid of any logic. Since most of the time the characters are designed in a way that it makes sense for them to have some chance of survival in that kind of situation, oh, and they're most of the time -adults-.

What I get irritated by in overall is that most forms of media does not picture violence for what it is: Danger. Conflicts involving lethal weapons and the like are situations where the characters might -die- and affect the story to a significant extent. But this is thrown into the garbage container as everyone in the group possesses Spiderman senses along with the agility of teenage Yoda. It does not get exciting, it gets repetitive and uncreative.

As I look at this I feel trapped in the immature world view of a child, just wanting to wake back up to the serious reality.

As for the voices used, I reffer to the original Japanese with the dub not being much of an improvement, if at all.

And thank you for the suggestion! Hopefully I will have a reason not to look down on Japanese animation culture in the future by exploring those. For the moment I have difficulty in believing that there are any such without squeaky voices, super hero kids and overall immature story universes.

Yelchor:
It would seem that you are unsettled over me with this particular long movie. Was seeing it, or being confused over it heresy?

Your being confused over it, it's universally loved. Of course, I can't really explain why it's so great, as I said, Miyazaki's appeal is elusive.

And indeed. In my point characters that play "villian" roles does not have to have an "evil" mindset. In my view no single individual can truly be "evil". There are evil deeds which can create horrendous consequences, but such is often made by people having to choose between bad or worse, poverty or wealth, personal sacrifice or the sacrifice of others, and so on. What I want with villian roles are not to show that some people are "evil", but to give insight of how our way of thought shapes us and make us ponder on why we believe "Right" and "Wrong" are as they are. The "Just for the evil" concept is pretty much only fitting for comedy if you ask me, beacuse it's just silly. Atleast by judging what I have witnessed from such things.

I was kinda agreeing with you there, though when I cited Kefka as an example, even then he has the whole being totally insane (actually driven insane) thing (he works as a villain for the same reason as the Joker, hell, they're both evil clowns), and I probably wouldn't be making an exception if he didn't have that going on. The villains in works I enjoy do have motives and are at least somewhat sympathetic.

I'm rather bad with Roman numbers. Is "VI" four or six? And in my meaning, insanity does not go with the "evil just for evil" concept either. There are many horrid things which we can be exposed to both mentally and physically. Frustration, sorrow, anger and many other factors can lead you to abandon responsibility and even gain an urge to take revenge on the world itself. Horrific acts can be easier to commit should it be for the sake of "justice" or making the world aware of your own perils. Just to name the tip of an iceberg of reasons.

6, I'm gonna commit a little heresy myself and say I didn't like 4. And I'll give you the point about insanity not fitting "evil just for evil," I just cited Kefka because he's generally regarded as an example of that working.

"Some" do die? Well, it still doesn't excuse the ridicolous rambo-ness I see. A trailer to Final Fantasy XIII showed a thirteen year old girl being able to defy the laws of gravity while neutralizing a whole squad of heavily armed soldiers if not more with guns that she apparently didn't need to aim with. I admit that Japanese action is not alone in this. Many western entertainment franchises do the same thing, but atleast they do it in a way that doesn't look completely devoid of any logic. Since most of the time the characters are designed in a way that it makes sense for them to have some chance of survival in that kind of situation, oh, and they're most of the time -adults-.

I still say talk to lordlee (profile link provided for your convenience) on the topic of Final Fantasy, he's infinitely more qualified than me. As for the rambo-ness...you know what, you're actually right about that, all I can say that justifies it is that they have magic/magitek/other systems depending on the individual game. As for the kid hero thing, lordlee would bring up Fire Emblem in response, and I'd say that a lot of main Final Fantasy characters are actually young adults, though granted with emphasis on young. Of course, even with the crazy magic powers and teen heroes I've come to enjoy tropes like those, so that's a taste thing.

What I get irritated by in overall is that most forms of media does not picture violence for what it is: Danger. Conflicts involving lethal weapons and the like are situations where the characters might -die- and affect the story to a significant extent. But this is thrown into the garbage container as everyone in the group possesses Spiderman senses along with the agility of teenage Yoda. It does not get exciting, it gets repetitive and uncreative.

While I think a good bit of that can be resolved with good action scene and plot direction, it's true that you know the hero will reach his/her destination/goal most of the time. Of course, at least in my experience these dangerless-by-writing scenes of conflict can still be rather effective for plot progression and character development.

As I look at this I feel trapped in the immature world view of a child, just wanting to wake back up to the serious reality.

I contest the "immature world view of a child" part, but I can see your preference for more realistic (in the plot and character sense, not everything being brown) works.

As for the voices used, I reffer to the original Japanese with the dub not being much of an improvement, if at all.

Dubs get a lot of hate for a reason, though they're not universally bad by any means. As for the original Japanese, I'm personally not bothered except in voice-by-voice cases, but they do have a thing for high-pitched voices. Of course, since we're talking about Japanese voice acting, this joke has to be made:


Since you don't get the joke, he's a beloved anime voice actor.

And thank you for the suggestion! Hopefully I will have a reason not to look down on Japanese animation culture in the future by exploring those. For the moment I have difficulty in believing that there are any such without squeaky voices, super hero kids and overall immature story universes.

A lot of your problems with anime seem to be more with fantastically-leaning fictional works, as shown by your remark about waking up to reality and your paragraph on Final Fantasy (I'll repeat this, lordlee is who you should talk to about Final Fantasy). Of course, as mentioned, I personally enjoy such tropes and fantastical elements, even on an intellectual level (though sometimes in an affectionate MST3K kind of way); TV Tropes, having an English professor father (hooray for bragging on the internet!), and going to a couple of pop culture conferences helped with that.

To add notes to a couple of my recommendations: Cowboy Bebop and Miyazaki/Ghibli works are things that are recommended to everyone. The dubs are also quite good, probably superior in the formers case. Evangelion does have teens piloting giant robots, but it's revealed early on (as in, second episode) that NERV (the organization running said giant robots) is only using teens because they have to, and the results of such a practice are delved into quite a bit (as in, a pretty damn central aspect of the show). They also explain why they use mechs, but I'm not gonna tell you since it's a pretty big spoiler.

For more, browse TV Tropes, you'll find something; you don't even have to be looking for anime, you'll find something. Also, our Escapist anime fans group can help you much, much better than I ever did or could. And again, talk to the guy I linked to a couple of times, he'll handle the Final Fantasy part much better than I could.

Edit: To make this even longer and more confusing, a difference we're probably having is that you want realistic character dramas and I simply enjoy a good story with interesting characters, and that I'm perfectly OK with fantastical elements. This explains why I'm OK with some of the things that are points of complaint for you, like kid heroes, magic powers, and rambo-esque action. However, I really love it when these elements are lampshaded, and I do quite enjoy deconstruction and philosophical stories.

Edit 2: I think you'd love Monster. The cast is mostly grown up, the characters are more realistic, and it explores whether someone can be a monster or not. It's the kind of mature, psychological thing you seem like you're looking for.

When I first saw a trailer for this, I thought it was Second Life: The Movie.

No joke.

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