Surrogates parents guide

Surrogates Parent Guide

This "Matrix"-like plot uses elements of that blockbuster trilogy but fails to achieve the same intensity or unexpected twists.

Overall C+

Talk about putting your best face forward! In this futuristic world, people create surrogate copies of themselves that have no flaws or imperfections. Now, they can interact with others without ever having to leave home. But a murder mystery threatens to change all that, especially for the FBI agents (Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell) called into the investigation.

Release date September 25, 2009

Violence C-
Sexual Content B
Profanity C-
Substance Use C

Why is Surrogates rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Surrogates PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Official Movie Site

Parent Movie Review

There is nothing subtle about Surrogates, a futuristic sci-fi movie based on the graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele. The warning in this script is that living a virtual life devoid of any human contact, even with those who share your house, is not everything its made up to be.

Yet since the creation and refinement of robotic human surrogates in this ultramodern world, no one wants to be on the streets. Instead, from the safety of their homes, the operators, who come in a realistic array of body shapes, ages and physical appearances, lie around all day in their stem chairs. Plugged into their beautiful, young, personally designed robots, they live a vicarious existence as the avatars go out in the world and interact with everyone else’s substitute self.

The few humans who have refused to buy into the virtual life live in a fenced off compound where they eke out an existence with crude, primitive tools. Meanwhile the surrogates engage in every kind of human activity from office work to sexual encounters without the operator being subjected to pain, danger, discrimination or sexually transmitted diseases.

But the safety factor of this lifestyle changes when two police officers, Greer (Bruce Willis) and Peters (Radha Mitchell), trace the identification numbers of two destroyed surrogates back to their operators. The officers find the humans dead in their chairs and oozing blood from their mouth, eyes and nose. They’ve been murdered by a weapon capable of killing victims who are online. The agents continue to carry out their investigation in an undercover manner to avoid widespread panic among the public. Then Greer’s surrogate is ambushed, crushed by a car and hung on a makeshift cross by the humans as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the robotic beings.

The self-imposed isolation of these characters makes them not only afraid of real life dangers, but also fearful of human interactions and emotion. Having to experience the world for himself for the first time in years is terrifying, even for the hardened cop. Yet Greer is driven to locate the specialized weapon that is killing both surrogates and humans and disarm it before more operators die.

This Matrix-like plot uses elements of that blockbuster trilogy but fails to achieve the same intensity or unexpected twists. Rather it unfolds in a predictable, by the numbers formula. (I guess there is safety in that too.) Graphic depictions of blood-splattered operators, a suicide and people who are crushed or hit by speeding cars are combined with the depictions of inoperative surrogates.

With the proliferation of social networks and the increasing popularity of virtual video games like Second Life, living vicariously online is more of an option than ever. Unfortunately the comparison between the "perfect" surrogates and their less-than-perfect humans makes choosing the real world an unappealing alternative.

Starring Bruce Willis, Radha Mitchell, Rosamund Pike, James Francis Ginty, Boris Kodjoe, Ving Rhames. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release September 25, 2009. Updated

Surrogates
Rating & Content Info

Why is Surrogates rated PG-13? Surrogates is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence, disturbing images, language, sexuality and a drug-related scene.

Although the surrogates in this film can engage in sexual activity, all that is portrayed is brief, passionate kissing, scantily dressed women and some bare backs and shoulders. A nude mannequin is seen. During encounters in the outside world, characters are shot, crushed between cars run over, beaten and electrocuted. Characters are involved in car chases and police takedown operations. Robots have their body parts torn off. A character jumps from a high platform and lands among a group of people. Corpses are seen with blood oozing from their faces. A man suffers injury and facial lacerations after being kicked and punched. A surrogate has it’s arm blown off, is shot at and eventually hung from a makeshift cross. Robots eyes are burned out by an electrical overload. A dead body is burned on a pier. Parents discuss the loss of their children. A character commits suicide by ingesting a pill. It is implied that a character uses an excessive amounts of prescription pills. Characters are involved in some social drinking. Surrogates induce drug-like effects by shocking or “jacking” themselves.

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More parents' guide for Surrogates after the break...

Surrogates Parents' Guide

What advantages does a virtual world like Second Life or these surrogates provide for people who are handicapped? What are the dangers of becoming overly involved in such a world? Do you agree with the human prophet in this movie who says we are not meant to experience the world through a machine? You may be interested in reading this article by Rod Gustafson for the Parents Television Council on “Massively Multiplayer Online Games” like Second Life.

Why does Greer’s wife prefer to interact with her husband only as a surrogate? How does isolating oneself from others impact a person’s emotional and social health?

If you created your own avatar (or if you already have), how does it compare with the real you? What are the costs of living a risk-free life? You may be interested in reading this article by Rod Gustafson for the Parents Television Council on “Massively Multiplayer Online Games” like Second Life.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Surrogates movie is January 26, 2010. Here are some details…

Release Date: 26 January 2010

Surrogates releases on DVD<\b> in widescreen, with audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish and French). Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish and French. Bonus materials include:

- Commentary with director Jonathan Mostow

- Music Video: I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin

Surrogates releases on Blu-ray in widescreen with audio tracks in Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish and French) and DTS HD Master Audio (English, Spanish and French). Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish and French. Extras consist of:

- Commentary with director Jonathan Mostow

- Music Video: I Will Not Bow by Breaking Benjamin

-Featurettes: A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates and Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life.

- Four Deleted Scenes

Related home video titles:

When a producer’s film is threatened after his actress walks off the set, he digitally creates an actress that everyone believes is real in S1m0ne. A detective in a futuristic world worries about the programming of the androids that are serving humans in I, Robot. And in the children’s movie Spy Kids 3D, a group of kids interact in the virtual world of a video game.