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Minority Report
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The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick : The Minority Report
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Minority Report Review

Directed By: Steven Spielberg.
Starring: Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Samantha Morton, Peter Stormare, Max Von Sydow.

Synopsis: Based on the short story by Philip K. Dick (Bladerunner), Minority Report is set in a futuristic judicial system in which killers are arrested and convicted before they commit murder. Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the head of this Precrime unit and is himself accused of the future murder of a man he hasn't even met.

There is a lot to praise and love about Minority Report...almost as much as there is to sadly dismiss.

The mere idea of "pre-crime", preventing acts before they happen...which will now never occur, is a great concept of a sci-fi film. In fact, many of the concepts and ideas introduced or fed to us in this film are fascinating...it is just disappointing when the same logic and intelligence of one scene is (repeatedly) turned in on itself and destroyed.

There may be a few spoilers here and there within this review so please, despite my nit-pickings, see this film if you are a Spielberg/Cruise or Sci-Fi fan and then come back. I don't need the guilt of my own pre-crime on my conscience.

Ok...I warned you, from here on in your on your own. No whining.

Ok...some faults...first off the most idiotic aspect of Minority Report hits you right at the beginning with the wooden ball sequence that shows you the victims and perpetrators. A wooden ball? With all the technology they have? A wooden ball? Ok...fine...I will, god knows why, accept that, but then the two people come out as the same colour? Well, boom, there's an obvious plot device. How about one being red for the killer one being green for the victim. Red means this is the person we stop?

Jet packs that cook burgers but do not so much as lightly scorch the clothes of those who wear them. Eyeballs which bounce and roll like little plastic dice on a crap table. Sneaking into his old job with his old eyes without setting off alarms...and the fact that the doors were not immediately programmed against a fugitive in their own ranks raises an eyebrow. Cars that come off an assembly line and seemingly would go nowhere unless driven off with either already full gas tanks or fully charged electrical systems (if not, then why isn't there a pile of cars already sitting at the end of the assembly line). Which also leads into what I would call one of the most surprising Spielberg cop-outs ever! Cruise, trapped in a car being built by robots...when last we see him he is about to be crushed by a driver's seat. Cut to the pursuing officers, cut back and cruise sits up into the driver's seat! It's a cheat! How did that happen? We don't know...Spielberg almost never cheats but here he does it without any guilt whatsoever! Hell, Cruise could have rolled back into the trunk of the car and then back out...but no...we just get the cheat! Ok...enough whiney geek moments...despite the fact that there are more slip ups.

Here's a middle ground moment...a both bad and good scene. The spiders. The cops walk into a tenement and using infra red say there are I think something like there are so many people in the building with 2 per floor. Now the following shot, all one floor as these spiders go around hunting each warm body down and scanning their eyes for identification is very cool...but there about 10-12 people on that floor...kinda goes against what we just saw and heard...but does make for a great shot.

However, as much as there is to hack at here, there is an equal amount of praiseworthy material and moments presented by Spielberg and Cruise. Having the nerve to let John Anderton's (Cruise) character wander through life divorced and with a dead child on his conscience is a pretty big step for Spielberg, add to the mix that Anderton does designer drugs to help numb the pain and we have a pretty tormented man that usually avoids a Spielberg film.

As for the future...well, it all looks pretty real with Spielberg's budget and there are a couple of standout scenes. One is the Jet Pack sequence that despite it's cooking of hamburgers (for a laugh I assume) it is pretty exciting and the electric prod that Cruise uses on a fellow office is another surprising touch. But the scene just prior to this one is what made the movie for me.

Anderton is alerted that he is going to commit murder. A friend gives him two minutes to run before hitting the alarm and then he runs into Det. Ed Witwer (Colin Farrell) a man looking for flaws within the pre-crime system. He jokes that Anderton won't kill him as he doesn't hear alarms...and then they go off. The look on Farrell's face not only sells his fear but makes this dark joke one hell of a movie moment.

In fact, some acting kudo's are deserved here. Cruise gives a really solid performance. Farrell, if only for the scene with the alarms, is on the mark...too bad about the natty van dyke he sports on his face as he spouts his slightly menacing lines. Max Von Sydow...sounds like he is on a respirator for half of the movie...maybe not the best choice for the role but he is an icon. Peter Storemare as a back-alley doctor who does eye transplants is wonderfully creepy and would have been played by Peter Lorre if he were around today. Another great character was Rufus Riley at the cyber parlour played by Jason Antoon.

I can only give this film 3 stars out of 5. I want to be able to give it more but the plot, despite (or maybe because of) countless red herrings and simple cheap scripting moments (like a simple slip-up of dialogue from a major character that would have been out of a 50's film) really drags down what could have been one of Spielberg's best since Raiders and what could have set a major precedent in the realm of sci-fi. As it is...it is worth watching, just hard to be entertained or in love with this flick.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul



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