Surrogates: “Look at yourselves, unplug from your chairs, get up, and look in the mirror what you see is how God made you we’re not meant to experience life through a machine. ” This seems to be the moral of this movie in the year 2017 and takes place in Boston, MA. Bruce Willis plays an FBI detective named Tom Greer working on a very mysterious murder of a young man who is the son of a prominent inventor. A news style montage opens the movie and provides you with the fundamental basis for the movie. The viewer learns that the technology of Surrogates took 14 years to develop into the everyday application as it would be depicted in the film.
The surrogate project started as a way to help the disabled experience life in a way that would not be possible and soon was taken over by military application to use these surrogates and warriors in the battlefield to preserve human life. It was the Military application that set up mass production of surrogates and this made surrogates affordable to the average consumer. Near the end of the 14 year montage it is established that 98% of the entire world has a surrogate and is using them for their everyday life so the user can remain at home in safety and never needs to risk the danger or inconvenience of leaving home.
There is a group of people however that are in strict opposition to the new surrogate way of life. This group is called the Human Coalition and they live in Dread Reservations which are located within major cities all over the world. These reservations are considered surrogate free zones and are completely sovereign. This group of people does not tolerate any type of surrogate technology and preach the experience of the human condition as the truth. This seems to be a cut and dry good vs. vil movie at first and the two sides clearly established but as the movie moves along the lines become blurred and the twists are pronounced. Tom Greer and his partner are called to the scene of a seemingly normal vehicle accident late in the evening only to discover fairly quickly that this is not just an accident scene it’s a murder. While at the scene of the accident only surrogates are present and it is assumed the operators of the surrogates remain at their homes unharmed, but after further investigation by Tom the operators are dead in their operator chairs.
Highly unusual because there haven’t been any murders in Boston for so long the Agents do not remember the last one. And this starts the investigation into the would be conspiracy that is the plot of the movie. The inventor of surrogates is a man named Dr. Lionel Canter, who was the target of the murder but instead of killing him the murder a Human Coalition member Miles Strickland killed his son who was borrowing his father’s surrogate. Tom is convinced that the Human Coalition is responsible for the murder and takes his surrogate into the sovereign territory in Boston where his surrogate is destroyed.
Tom is now forced to abandon the surrogate and continue the investigation in the flesh. This is a shocking experience for him but eventually causes him to remember the human condition and experience. No matter the difficulty he experiences as a result of the sensory overload he continues the investigation. Next Tom discovers that the military had developed the weapon that would overload many surrogates with a single shot but an accidental byproduct of this weapon was that it actually killed the operator.
The Military officials ordered that all if the weapons be destroyed and somehow one slipped through the cracks and was not destroyed and fell into the hands of manufacturer of the surrogates. The manufacturer VCI is proclaimed as one of the largest companies in the world and is a very powerful corporation. It was originally founded by Dr. Canter but due to differences in philosophy he was removed as President of the company but remained a beneficiary of the profits from the sale of surrogates. The excitement builds as Tom pursues the investigation and gets closer to figuring out the conspiracy.
So far he has learned that a Human Coalition member murdered the son of a Dr Canter and that the target was actually Dr Canter himself but because his son used a surrogate belonging to Dr Canter the murderer thought that he was killing him but accidentally killed his son. The military in cooperation with VCI developed a weapon that would overload surrogates and shut them down in an effort to quickly win battles without casualties. A major problem was discovered with the weapon during its initial tests and it had unintentionally killed the operators of the surrogates.
The weapon was ordered to be destroyed and of the 5 that were created only 4 were actually destroyed and one remained. The military did not know who had the remaining weapon but an assumption must be made that VCI had the weapon and somehow it had fallen in to the hands of the Human Coalition who were bent on the murder of Dr Canter for creating this new society that is an abomination. Tom reveals to the military that when he was in the Human Coalitions Boston reservation he knew the weapon was there and in the hands of their leader Zaire Powell. His attempt to convince the world that the surrogates are evil seems to be failing up to now.
He now has the power to shut down every single surrogate all over the world but this action would result in the death of billions of people. The Military tells Tom to stand down and that they would take over the recovery of the weapon. Tom is drawn back in when his partner is killed and her surrogate is being used to gain access to the FBI surrogate control center. He discovers that Zaire Powell is actually a surrogate being controlled by Dr. Canter. This discovery takes Tom to Dr Canters home that is protected by surrogate guards that he must take down to reach Dr Canter in time.
Canter had taken control of his partners surrogate and was in the headquarters of the FBI where he can access every surrogate at one time and use the weapon to download the overload virus killing every operator connected to their surrogate. When Tom reaches Dr Canter has already begun downloading the virus. Tom confronts Dr Canter and tries to convince him that killing this many people is not the way to accomplish his goal but it’s too late and in order to prevent Tom from stopping him Dr Canter takes a cyanide pill killing himself.
Tom has no choice but to take over the surrogate of his partner and try to stop the virus from taking hold and killing billions of people. With the help of the programmer at the FBI surrogate control center he is able to isolate the operators from the virus. He then has to stop the isolate the surrogates themselves from the virus but in a last minute decision decides to allow the virus to shut down all the surrogates. He had saved the lives of many people but after having experiencing the human condition again decided that everyone should have that same experience again.
This movie is full of twists and changes that are hard to follow. Overall, I don’t find this movie to be a great movie. The concepts could have been developed better and the twists should have been made with more information. The twists came without warning which is good for a twist but there was no information used to explain the twists in a way that would make it believable. I have learned that this movie was first a book and it is common that the themes in a book are not completely developed when it is turned in to a movie, however the concepts could have been portrayed and explained better.
I did enjoy the idea of unplugging sometimes and to experience life outside of our home and disconnect from the internet and television. There are experiences our modern technology allows us to not have and in some cases this is not always a good thing. As a child I took a vacation to Yellowstone National Park and my children have not been able to experience this yet except for on the internet. They are not excited about making this trip because they believe they have experienced this park on the internet but as many adults know it is just not the same.
I am concerned that as our children develop with more access to technology they will lose touch with the human experience so any movie, book, music, or other medium that express or shows the importance of the actual physical human experience is a great thing. I would recommend this movie to anyone for this purpose and I might also suggest that in order to fully understand this movie itself that it be watched two or three times. Watch it, enjoy it but most of all experience it.
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