Surrogates/Zombieland Double Pack



Surrogates Review

It’s like World of Warcraft, only everyone is playing. And in robot avatars.

This movie got largely negative reviews, which after seeing it was a bit of a surprise to me. I suspect to some degree readers of the graphic novel are willing to give the film a bit more leniency, as the graphic novel did not seem like a ripoff of Minority Report and I, Robot, especially with its numerous fake scientific journal articles and Paul Giamatti-esque lead.

Not that many details have been changed in the screen translation, there’s just not enough time to dig into the central concept with enough depth to set the film that much apart from something like I, Robot.

Bruce Willis is great at playing this type of character, a detective-type who doesn’t buy into the system and happily thumbs his nose at it. He has a line at one point about a girl lawyer for the shady robot manufacturing company who for all he knows could be at home touching her male member that I thought nicely summed up his character.

No one else gets much to do, and for some reason Willis’ partner is female in the film adaptation (in the graphic novel he was male) and noticeably lacking in the sense of humor the same character had in the graphic novel. Surrogates is a pretty grim affair so that levity might have helped.

Still it was mostly working for me, I think this might be a case where reading the graphic novel first actually helps the impression the film leaves.


Just got back from this. Judging by all the positive reviews out there you might think this was an incredible movie. It’s not, but it’s still a pretty good one.

It’s zombies, it’s the apocalypse, you know the drill. Like Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland mixes actual scares and actual emotion with witty nonsense.

That mix is mostly effective and the film is often funny, particularly during the opening credit sequence which is absolutely hilarious and honestly probably the highlight of the movie, showing slow-mo scenes of zombie-dom such as a bride jumping her unwitting spouse.

Once we’re into the film proper the story coasts along largely on the charm of Jesse Eisenberg as the post-apocalyptic nerdy teen, whose Woody Allen-lite routine has yet to grow old in my book. Also clearly having a good time is Woody Harrelson as his zombie-killing partner.

They meet up with Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone, the latter of whom provides a love interest for Eisenberg.

There’s a frequent voiceover that often over-explains basic elements of the story and emotional feelings of the lead character. It’s a crutch and just unnecessary.

Apart from that this is a lot of fun, and I found particularly intriguing how the story takes two simple plants (Eisenberg’s character dreams of brushing a girl’s hair over her ear and is afraid of clowns) and really pays them off.

The movie works, for sure, but it could have been a smidge better. The unecessary voiceover and a certain petering out of comic momentum hold it back from greatness but it’s definitely a good time.

-Dan Benamor