Out on Tuesday is the DVD for Surrogates, the Bruce Willis action movie based on the Top Shelf graphic novel about a murder in a world where everyone uses a robot version of themselves to leave the house. Here’s the trailer:
I’ve already talked about my opinion of the film, in that first link when I saw it in the theater, so here I’ll focus on the DVD. (Although I did want to mention that I’d forgotten how luminously lovely Rosamund Pike is.) Even before I got the disc, I was disappointed that the four deleted scenes and two featurettes were only available on the Blu-ray version.
The first, “A More Perfect You: The Science of Surrogates” (14 minutes), talks about advances in robotics as well as a little information on the making of the movie, especially in terms of how to turn an older actor into an ageless robot by combining makeups, prosthetics, and special effects. Here’s a clip:
The second, “Breaking the Frame: A Graphic Novel Comes to Life” (7 minutes), was the one I really regretted missing, since I like comic/movie comparisons. I even tried to find it online, but while there are many versions of the movie available, no one seems to care about the extras. (Update: MTV has a two-minute clip.) Which may be more reflective of general opinion than I realized. Is a half-hour of puff pieces really all that desirable? Anyway, I already got to speak with the comic writer, Robert Venditti about comparing the two, so maybe I already hit the high points.
My first impression when I held the physical package was unfortunate. Due to environmentally motivated packaging reductions (something I support), the DVD case feels lightweight and flimsy. When combined with the lack of bonus features, it looks like this should go straight to the $5 discount bin. I don’t know how you overcome that impression while using less unnecessary plastic, but it’s part of the battle studios are fighting, creating the perception of the value of DVD ownership. If the product doesn’t seem worth the $30 list price (although it can be had for almost half price almost immediately), especially when there are much less costly options ($1 rentals, digital versions), that’s a battle that’s so uphill it’s perpendicular.
Both DVD versions do contain the director’s commentary. I found that educational, as he points out a number of interesting things about the film, why choices were made about setting and set dressing, for example, or what he thinks was left out of the movie. Jonathan Mostow previously directed Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, so he’s known for his science fiction action. But more on him in another post. (The studio provided a review copy of the DVD.)