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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Surrogates [Blu-ray]


(Jonathan Mostow, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Video: Touchstone Home Entertainment



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:36.352

Disc Size: 29,380,858,385 bytes

Feature Size: 21,910,935,552 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.72 Mbps

Chapters: 17

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: January 26th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3705 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3705 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Feature Audio Commentary By Director Jonathan Mostow
Exclusive To Blu-ray: 4 Deleted Scenes (6:02 in HD!)
Exclusive To Blu-ray: A More Perfect You: The Science Of Surrogates (14:34 in HD!)
Exclusive To Blu-ray: Breaking The Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes To Life (6:33 in HD!)
I Will Not Bow Music Video By Breaking Benjamin (3:49)





Description: How do you save humanity when the only thing that's real is you? From the director of TERMINATOR 3 comes a jaw-dropping psychological thriller starring the ultimate action hero, Bruce Willis. In the not-so-distant future, where people experience life through perfect surrogates controlled from the safety of their own homes, murder is a thing of the past. But when a college student linked to the creator of these replicants is killed, one FBI agent must re-enter reality and risk his life to unravel the mystery. In the battle of technology versus humanity, who can you trust? Experience every electrifying moment of this mind-blowing movie. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel and exploding with unforgettable action, SURROGATES is nonstop entertainment from start to finish!



The Film:

Surrogates was not pre-screened for critics. Most of the time, I understand when a studio takes this route - it's a way to avoid undue negative publicity before the release of a movie that is recognized behind-the-scenes as being a turd. Once in a while, however, a non-screened movie turns out to be a pleasant surprise, and this is one of those instances. Surrogates is better and more thought-provoking than about 2/3 of the fare currently showing in multiplexes, yet it has been given a "no confidence" vote by Disney. Why? Who knows? Maybe the decision was made to cut this loose and spend as little on marketing as was viable without offending star Bruce Willis. Perhaps an assessment was made that there weren't enough action scenes (although there are plenty) to energize the target teen audience. Or, most disturbingly, maybe it was thought that the premise was too cerebral for the throngs of movie-goers who clog multiplex corridors on Friday and Saturday nights. Whatever the reason, Surrogates was shielded from the eyes of critics before its opening, and that's a shame. Because, whatever its flaws, it is a good movie.

Excerpt from James Berardinelli at located HERE



Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

There is a pretty dominant aqua-marine hue over much of this entire film. I'm not complaining - it appears to be a period representation of a kind of sanitized future (which is essentially present-day). The Blu-ray reports this fairly well but either the style or the limited feature size (less than 22 Gig on the dual-layered disc) still shows some awkward noise.  There certainly is an intended 'look' of plasticization (DNR-ish) with surrogate characters appearing ultra-smooth (no blemishes, scars etc.) - so, it's hard to know where the line is drawn between the visual effort and the modest transfer or tinkering. For the most part it looks quite good. Colors seem brighter and truer than SD could relate. There is grain there - and it's not unacceptably blocky. Like the premise behind 'Surrogates' there is a darkness inherent - and contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. Detail shines infrequently and effects and costumes seem a bit slap-dash.  By modern standards this is fairly tame visually and I suspect looked superior theatrically. This Blu-ray may not be demo material but it's consistent nature will produce an enjoyable presentation with fewer 'ahhhs' than you may have anticipated.

















Audio :

No complaints with the audio - the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3705 kbps. There are plenty of effect noises with active confrontations and chase scenes - all quite immersive spreading around the room. Richard Marvin's score plays well under all the action being crisp with punchy bass when called upon. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked Blu-ray disc.



Extras :

I can't imagine that it is especially easily to bring an existing graphic novel to the screen under the yoke of a studio system. In the commentary Mostow describes some of the challenges of production and where dollars were allocated. He comments on the narrative direction utilizing some of the detective/noir intent of the graphic novel and the frequent wide-angle directly to extreme close-ups - and giving the film a '60's look'. He seems to be 'selling' a bit but overall it was acceptable and those keen on the film will probably enjoy it. Aside from the 4-minute I Will Not Bow Music Video by Breaking Benjamin the featurette supplements are all 'Exclusive To Blu-ray'. We get 15-minutes on the concept - A More Perfect You: The Science Of Surrogates with brief input from many including experts in the field. There is a surface over view of Breaking The Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes To Life and we get 4 Deleted Scenes lasting just over 6-minutes. There are expectant trailers and previews.



I suppose, for some, the jury is still out on director Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, U-571) but I kind of like his style. There is an honesty about his filmmaking. The concept is the big seller here on Surrogates. I was keen with both emotional overtones of Tom Greer's (Bruce Willis) life and the techno-adventure he is immersed in. The Blu-ray doesn't produce the best of the format visually, but makes up for it sonically - bottom line is that it gives an easy ride for enjoying the film. It's a passable sci-fi thriller and fans of Bruce Willis will want to indulge. 

Gary Tooze

June 14th, 2010




About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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