Sunday, September 27, 2009


After a nice Italian dinner last night, a small group of hardy SF fans headed to the local cineplex to catch this science-fiction extravaganza. It was a pleasant enough couple of hours, but it ultimately exhibited two sorts of flaws that meant that the only way to enjoy it was not to think about it.

First, its internal logic sucked. You can feel everything your surrogates feel, but you can handle being beaten senseless. No. No, you can't; if you've never been beaten up, trust me when I tell you that it hurts like hell. Surrogates had to work, which one would expect, but none ever appeared to be doing the jobs necessary to keep their meat-puppet masters fed and housed; instead, all the jobs we saw were surrogates taking care of other surrogates. People rarely move, but none of them have atrophied muscles. Etc.

Second, and here I must warn of a spoiler, the ending displayed a complete lack of second-order thinking. When Big Bad Bruce lets the bad guy's virus destroy all the surrogates, the film acts as if this development just means that people will have to go back to living on their own. What about all the planes in the sky, the ships at sea, and the trucks on the road that are now moving without control, their cargoes essential to the economy? The economic collapse that would rapidly follow this film's ending would be sure to kill a lot of people.

I'm fine with bad movies. I'm even a fan of good bad movies, a term bad movie fans understand. I'm also a fan of SF action flicks, and on balance I had a good time watching Surrogates. I would, though, occasionally like an intelligent, well-thought-out SF action movie that didn't force me to turn off my higher analytical functions to be able to enjoy it.

Speaking of which, Will Smith, the film rights to my books remain available. Should my people call your people?

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