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Section Header
Surrogates
(2009)
Composed and Produced by:
Richard Marvin

Conducted by:
Nick Glennie-Smith

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Suzette Moriarty
Kevin Kaska
Walt Fowler
Ken Thorne

Label:
Lakeshore Records

Release Date:
November 23rd, 2009

Also See:
U-571
The Matrix

Audio Clips:
1. Pix Title Sequence (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

2. Drive to Club (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

4. Warrant Received/Foot Chase (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

10. T-Bone/Stone Zapped (0:29):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release. A promotional album with identical contents was released by Costa Communications several weeks before the commercial album debuted; it features gray cover art.

Awards:
  None.










Surrogates

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Buy it... only if you specifically noticed the strong brass performances of the score's compelling title theme or its more harmonious synthetic ambience in the context of the film.

Avoid it... if you expect Richard Marvin to provide a truly unique sense of creative style in his symphonic/synthetic blend to match the technological intrigue of the concept.



Marvin
Surrogates: (Richard Marvin) A truly interesting premise was butchered in Surrogates, the 2009 adaptation of a 2005 comic book that explored the idea of a future utopia in which much of society conducts its lives through surrogate avatars that represent them while they lounge around at home. There is a split in society between the surrogate-allowable areas and the human-only ones, opening up all sorts of possibilities for socio-political conflict. The perfect world of the surrogates is rocked when there is a rare murder, one involving a government experiment with a weapon that was intended to neutralize the real person using the surrogate but in fact can override the safety mechanisms and kill the operator instead. Bruce Willis plays the aging cop searching for the truth, and when his surrogate is destroyed in a pursuit, he must continue his investigation in his own body at significantly more peril. Response to Surrogates was largely negative, the enthusiasts of the comic book disgruntled by the many changes to the story (including a happier, Hollywood-style ending) and critics lamenting the fact that the script degenerated into formulaic action rather than taking advantage of the concept's most intriguing aspects. The film wasn't a hit with audiences, either, requiring worldwide grosses to have a chance at recouping its $80 budget for Disney's Touchstone division. Director Jonathan Mostow had used the services of several composers over the previous dozen years, but for Surrogates he chose to extend his collaboration with Richard Marvin to a fourth entry. Their best known work together was for the submarine thriller U-571 in 2000, generally considered to be an entertaining duo of film and music but not particularly original on either front. Marvin's career has been mostly defined by his concentration on television music, earning his way with "Six Feet Under" and "Without a Trace," among a plethora of others reaching a hundred total titles as of 2009. Major feature scoring assignments have been elusive for the composer, however, and largely because of the promise he showed with U-571, film music collectors seemed cautiously optimistic that Marvin would rise to the occasion in Surrogates. The blemish upon the music for U-571, of course, is that it's a highly derivative score, betraying its temp-track influences quite distractingly, both on screen and its highly sought promotional album. That tendency is diminished in Surrogates, though Marvin still seems to struggle when attempting to create his own sound for this film.

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While there is no overwhelming feeling of deja vu for a soundtrack enthusiast when listening to Surrogates, the score does give you a sense that no really original territory is being explored. There is one very obvious reference to another score during Marvin's most impressive action sequence, but otherwise, the score adheres to general conventions and cliches in this genre that make it serviceable but not memorable. On the whole, the demeanor of the score matches some of the suspense and thriller work by Marco Beltrami, but the ensemble, which consists of bloated string and brass sections supplemented by a substantial dose of electronics, is never really applied to constructs that will impress. Thematically, Surrogates is served with one very compelling idea, a touch of compassion with enough brawn to represent both sides of the Willis character. This highlight of the score is introduced with propulsive conviction in "Drive to Club" and is alluded to throughout the score in lesser forms before continued brass statements in "Shift Enter" and the conclusion in "Aftermath." It's a shame that Marvin didn't find ways to incorporate this idea into more of the mechanically procedural underscore in between. That said, he does boil it down and romanticize a variant of the idea for solo piano with soft, noir-like orchestral backing in "I Want You" and, to a lesser extent, in "Aftermath," the former a pivotal scene of personal reconciliation. The action cues in Surrogates are not plentiful, dominated by "Warrant Received/Foot Chase." This cue is unfortunately the clearest source of temp-track regurgitation, however, starting immediately with the rising cello rhythms from Don Davis' The Matrix and emulating the 1999 score in several places thereafter. The low-key suspense portions of Surrogates aren't worth noting; they alternate between stereotypically rambling string ostinatos (executed with far less performance enthusiasm than anything ever produced by John Powell) and a variety of sampled electronic effects for atmosphere. One noteworthy exception to the rather bland style of the entire score is "Pix Title Sequence," a mostly synthetic three minutes of light rhythmic bubbling, sound effects, and soul-flavored layers of female vocals. It's an attempt at a super-cool, futuristic posture, and it's generally harmonious enough to suffice as a guilty pleasure. But the cheesy orchestra hit stingers make the cue sound like a tired local television news theme, too. Overall, Surrogates is a functional score that barely scratches out a moderate three-star rating. It was released as a promo on behalf of the composer before being picked up for an identical commercial CD release, both in 2009. ***   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download




 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  


Regular Average: 2.7 Stars
Smart Average: 2.8 Stars*
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 41:05


• 1. Pix Title Sequence (3:14)
• 2. Drive to Club (1:39)
• 3. Cam's Apt/Greer's Apt (4:06)
• 4. Warrant Received/Foot Chase (6:20)
• 5. Urine Abomination (0:57)
• 6. Prophet Lies/Greer Rides (1:29)
• 7. I Want You (2:03)
• 8. Operation Prophet (1:49)
• 9. Stone's Headache (3:01)
• 10. T-Bone/Stone Zapped (5:41)
• 11. Shift Enter (5:26)
• 12. Aftermath (5:21)




 Notes and Quotes:  


The insert includes a list of performers, but no extra information about the score or film.





   
  All artwork and sound clips from Surrogates are Copyright © 2009, Lakeshore Records. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 12/8/10 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2010-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.