|SF Movie: Surrogates
||[Sep. 24th, 2009|04:07 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
Had an advance screening pass to see Surrogates tonight, so I convinced rmd to accompany me & made plans to meet ~45 minutes before the movie started in hopes of getting a seat.
There was confusion, but we made it into the theater, then got stuck in the 2nd row. Disorienting. But it was free and it was damn good.
The movie is based on a graphic novel of the same name written by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Brett Weldele. We first heard about it at the shop last spring (2008, that is) when some extras for the movie (which was filming in Boston) came by looking for a copy of the graphic novel.
We ordered a bunch of copies - the production crew & acting extras bought theirs & sent their friends over to buy more. I bought myself a copy & liked it very much. We started recommending it regularly. Helluva good story with interesting characters set solidly on a science fiction foundation. It's got a nifty premise and an absorbing take on morality. I don't think we ever saw the original issues (from 2006), but we've sold quite a few of the graphic novel during 2008 & 2009. A prequel was recently released along with a special edition hardcover that contains the original and the newly published prequel.
The movie follows the same premise - it's the near future and people use Surrogates, robots, to go out into the world while they stay in their homes. Advanced models have a full range of senses, so you can even eat awesomely fatty foods & get to enjoy the flavor without gaining any weight (although you do have to empty the foods out of your "surry" as they're called; but of course, the designing corporation made it no muss no fuss). The human user just has to wear a small head rig that's mostly fancy eyeware (same design as it was in the GN) and sit in a comfy reclining seat.
However, the movie is set in Boston - I can't remember if the GN was or not. I seem to recall it was set in "The City" rather than anyplace in particular. Boston plays a big role in the movie, with clearly recognizable places showing up in every exterior shot.
The movie shifts focus from the book, introducing new characters and rearranging what happens in the GN. It's considerably more dramatic and the emotional side is more immediate, which is more appropriate for a movie rather than a GN. My main problem with watching the movie was doing the constant comparison between the GN & the movie in front of me. I'm not sure I watched the movie so much as just took it in.
As an adaptation, I think it's pretty awesome. Yes the bad guys & ending are completely different and so the emotional impact is very different, but it was well put together as a movie, which SHOULD have different pacing and greater clarity of motivation. There was a tiny bit of bullshit with regard to how computers work, but otherwise the technology was solidly done, consistent, and futuristic without being unwieldy or absurd.
What's funny is, when asked who he thought should play the main character in the movie, Venditti supposedly admitted that he wrote the character based on Bruce Willis. And it really is the perfect part for him.