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Disney Previews Surrogates at Comic-Con

Source: Edward Douglas
February 8, 2009

Disney Pictures attended the New York Comic-Con on Saturday to show off a couple of their upcoming movies. We already gave a preview of Pixar Animation's next movie Up yesterday--you can read that here--but after showing some clips from that movie, the remainder of Disney's presentation was dedicated to Touchstone Pictures' Surrogates, an adaptation of the graphic novel, directed by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines director Jonathan Mostow.

The graphic novel by Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele was published by Top Shelf in 2005. The story takes place in 2054 where people use artificial bodies or surrogates to communicate with each other. In the movie, Bruce Willis and Radha Mitchell play FBI agents investigating the murder of the college student who helped create the surrogates that enable people to live their lives through these fit and good-looking machines from the safety of their home.

Disney showed the first trailer for the movie, which starts by introducing the concept of surrogates as we see a robotic face (think Westworld) having a synthetic face applied onto it and the "informercial" advertises how the surrogates allow you to "see what they see, feel what they feel and become anyone you want to." Essentially, it's like a virtual world ala Second Life but the surrogates are allowing you to sit in the comfort of your own home and interact with others, or rather their surrogates, in the real world. It's an interesting concept like something Philip K. Dick might come up with and sure enough, the trailer makes the movie look like a cross between Blade Runner, Total Recall and Minority Report with lots of the type of action we've seen Mostow handle so well in "Terminator 3."

This "perfect world" has been infiltrated by someone who is destroying surrogates and killing the people controlling them through their interface. We first see Bruce Willis' detective character, as his surrogate is jumping from building to building before we see it get slammed into full-on by a truck, and we later see his surrogate strung up like an effigy, presumably by the same killer he's hunting. With Bruce Willis' surrogate destroyed, he's forced to go out into the world of these perfect and unstoppable beings as himself trying to solve the murders. We see a little bit of Radha Mitchell as his partner and even less of Rosamund Pike, who plays Willis' wife in the movie, but quite a bit of action and the surrogates being exposed as robots (Done very much in a similar way as Westworld.) The trailer ends with a striking scene of hundreds of surrogates collapsing and the camera pans back to show that everything in the city has come to a full stop without surrogates being operational. It actually wasn't a bad introductory teaser-trailer for the movie, which makes the movie look like a good September sci-fi action thriller option, similar to Eagle Eye last year.

After the trailer finished, as many as 50 or 60 pretty male and female model-types streamed out of the backstage area--obviously meant to be "surrogates"--and when the lights came on, they started handing out business cards advertising Summit's viral site ChooseYourSurrogate.com. (Obviously, this was Disney's take on the Sony stunt for Resident Evil a couple years ago where they had hundreds of women dressed as Alice come out at Comic-Con, and if you think about it, the "informercial" aspect of the trailer is also borrowed from Resident Evil, as is the post-apocalyptic nature of the last shot. Hm...)

It's unclear when this trailer will show up in theaters or online. Touchstone Pictures does have Confessions of a Shopaholic opening next week although that doesn't seem like the right match for a sci-fi trailer like this.

Surrogates is scheduled for release on September 25, 2009.




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