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Minority Report (DVD, 2003)
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Minority Report - A Potential Sci-Fi Classic
Jun 20, 2002 (Updated Jun 20, 2002)
Review by BigJack
Rated a Very Helpful Review
The Bottom Line: One of the best of the year and a must see for science fiction fans.
For fans of science fiction, a distinct difference has always existed between Star Wars and Star Trek beyond the fact that the former’s fans are merely devoted while the latter’s are certifiably wacko. To the sci-fi fan, Star Wars is “space opera” – a primarily action movie that happens to be set “in the future.” True sci-fi (and frankly, Star Trek wanders into space opera too frequently to really qualify), deals with issues involved in the advancement of technology and its impact upon the human race, such as the classic Blade Runner or 2001: A Space Odyssey. Minority Report delivers a first-rate intelligent thriller dealing with such technological issues – and thus qualifies as a potential sci-fi classic.
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The Department of Pre-Crime
The main issue in Minority Report is “precrime.” In 2054, Washington D.C. has developed a system to determine when murders are going to be committed, and who the victims and perpetrators will be. Tom Cruise portrays Detective John Anderton, head of D.C.’s Department of Pre-Crime. He leads the investigation of murders before they happen, using three “precogs,” individuals with precognitive abilities who see murders in their minds before they actually happen. The brainwave images of the precogs are scanned by computers, and Anderton and his team read those images to stop the perpetrators of murders before they commit their crimes. In the opening scene, Anderton’s team stops a double homicide barely in the nick of time, the 1008th prevented murder since the inception of the program. As Anderton tells Danny Witwer, an FBI agent sent to evaluate the program before it goes national, “The system is perfect.”
Or is it?
That question is raised when the next murder predicted to occur is by Anderton himself against a man he has never met. Anderton goes on the run, convinced that Witwer has set him up and determined to prove his innocence. What follows is an engrossing tale filled with tense chase scenes, innovative fight scenes, and suspenseful cat-and-mouse games, as well as ultimate questions – is fate really predetermined, and is it justice to arrest someone for a crime they have not yet committed?
D.C. – 2054 A.D.
Director Stephen Spielberg has created a futuristic society that is well-done, on the level of Blade Runner or The Matrix. So often, bad sci-fi films simply look terrible – think Johnny Mnemonic. The world of Minority Report projects our society 50 years into the future while maintaining enough links to today to keep it realistic. The cars are different, but they aren’t flying. Nice touches are thrown in, such as an annoying cereal box with a built-in video commercial. The computers, which are integral to a good sci-fi story, are very slick, with huge clear glass screens, holographic images, and controls built into the screens that are operated by hand motions. I found this to be a coup for the film, as it allows the audience to really experience it along with the actor, instead of just watching a boring screen.
Cruise and Cast Deliver
I neither love nor hate Tom Cruise – some of his movies are classics and some are drivel. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he can only do so much when given drivel to work with, but when he has quality material such as this, he shines. His performance, as the chief of the precrime department who fervently believes in both the system and his own innocence in the face of that system’s accusation, is compelling. The supporting cast seemingly has no holes. Max Von Sydow portrays his aging mentor, the Director, with a grace that comes with his experience. Colin Farrell’s FBI agent rivals Cruise when they share the screen together. Steve Harris (one of my favorite actors from TV’s The Practice), Neal McDonough, and Samantha Morton all fill their roles well, fleshing out the movie and giving it the depth a good film needs.
On the Best of the Year
Minority Report is gripping throughout its two hours plus running time, raising ultimate issues about how far technology should go, whether anything is ever perfect, and how far man will go in his pursuit of what he believes in. I recommend it as one of the best films of the year, and should redeem Cruise for Vanilla Sky and Spielberg for A.I.. For the sci-fi fan, it’s simply a must see.
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