“Surrogates is not that far off the mark…”


Here is a teaser which tries to convince us that the robot puppet movie Surrogates is in anyway the near future of humanity. The idea that in just ten years nearly the entirety of the North American population will be agoraphobic housebound ninnies strapped into chairs controlling a robot version of them seems to fail the basic rule of science fiction. Namely how did we get there? Well according to the film

Step 1: James Cromwell invents the stem chair which can wirelessly and remotely control and feedback data to a user of a remote robot. It is invented for disabled people.

Step 2: Rich people start getting lifelike surrogates of themselves for a laugh.

Step 3: Within ten years the cost of this technology, and the availability of teh surrogates has replaced all humans with their surrogates.

Step 4: Crime is eliminated.

Some of these steps require somewhat implausible leaps. Step 3 strikes me as being a somewhat odd step, just looking at basic economics. Building that many robots? Not to mention the problems with glitches in wireless transmission and what happens when the basic novelty wears off. Because in reality with these perfect superhuman robot bodies, everyone is still doing the same shit jobs they were doing before. So the baker is now a robot baker, the cop a robot cop. And the bum, well a robot bum. Which then leads to the ridiculousness of Step 4.

Step 4 suggests that because we are not in our bodies, there will be no crimes against the body. Murder is eliminated. Completely forgetting that everyone is in charge of a pretty unstoppable killing machine / robot. Which not only can get into any building to kill anyone, but also comes with the cast iron potential alibi that someone has hijacked your surrogate and is using it instead of you. Indeed incidents of theft should skyrocket. And all of these problems come out within the hugely narrow parameters the film has set for itself. Namely that society will not really change except everyone will look a bit plastic.

And all of this in in service to a pretty dumb murder mystery plot which I have already spoiled below but frankly isn’t much of a spoiler. All said Surrogates is 90 minutes of Bruce Willis + fighting robots. Its Westworld where Westworld itself is our world. Basically preposterous, but at least vague fun. Just do not think about its premise for a second or you will want to find a Surrogate to watch it for you.

&*James Cromwell as a cameo avuncular minor character. Hmm, I wonder whodunnit?