***SPOILERS*** ***SPOILERS*** Getting the introductions out of the way, it is 2054 in Washington D.C. and Tom Cruise plays, John Anderton, a Precrime enforcement detective who heads up a crack team specializing in preventing murders before they occur, also arresting criminals before they kill. Out of the loop, the cops come calling in the form of Colin Farrell's character, Detective Witwer who backs Anderton into a corner, seizing control of the experimental operation and taking control of Precrime's affairs. Through the minds of three precognitive and abnormally gifted youths who, when asleep, dream only of murder in technologically projected second sight, Anderton sees his own criminal fate and sets out to alter his unknown predestination.
Estranged from his wife and a father struggling to cope with the disappearance of his son, Anderton seeks a temporary high in the dark world of illegal street drugs but when his murderous number comes down the pipe, both the law and Precrime chart a course for his apprehension before he kills. In a highly advanced and technologically sound society, Anderton goes on the run in search of the truth behind the world's most advanced crime unit and a precognitive flaw in its design know as a "Minority Report."
After seeing the trailers, I immediately thought A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) meets Mission Impossible and, for the most part, that's exactly what it is. However, it's much more the former rather than latter. Although I'm still spinning from the theatrical experience, I essentially see Minority Report as an extension of Spielberg's previous Kubrick inspired interpretation. Visually interchangeable with both worlds in its visual presentation, Minority Report most definitely shares the same headspace as A.I... which isn't a bad thing at all. Based on a short story by acclaimed science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, the underlying subtext is equally complex as the film looms heavy in theme, tackling such debatable issues as divinity versus science, the right to life, God's will, man's innate feeling of superiority, and our preoccupation with technology.
Visually, Minority Report is awesome. Although this similarity may seem strange, it's very much a case of the future catching up with the past, as Steven Spielberg is most certainly the Tiger Woods of filmmaking. You'd tend to think people get soft as they grow older but with regard to Spielberg's last two films, the director continues to, not only, challenge himself with complex subject matter but also reinvent himself as a director at the same time. Hell, amid the dazzling imagery and computer-generated eye-candy, Spielberg even takes to a few-held shots, jumping back into the days of Guerilla filmmaking to set the appropriate tone.
Set fifty-two years ahead of us in 2054, the seamless blend of CGI used to create the future Washington is staggering and strikingly impressive. Unlike many preceding and recent science fiction films, Minority Report is a unique identity all to its own. In creating such an invigorating visual world, as previously mentioned, Spielberg's vision is very similar to A.I. in both structure and spacecraft, but the limitations of the film's 21st Century setting only helps to demystify the unknown, making society much more familiar while also giving the audience an identifiable future to look into. All cityscapes and highway sequences are both astonishing and highly innovative, somehow proving to push the envelope of the science fiction genre itself.
Much to my surprise and Spielberg's credit, the film sticks religiously (no symbolic reference intended) to Anderton's immediate world, which of course is filled with a lot of cool eye candy and technologically advanced gadgetry. A very creative look at what the future may have in store for us, society is ripe with eye identification scanners and interactive advertising (which is very cool). including song and dance cereal box characters that look a lot like those Mini-Wheat guys. A hot topic especially in the last decade, holographic imagery comes to life, preserving Anderton's family memories in transparent 3-D files. To say the least, Spielberg has crafted a very dark but believable future with a grounded sense of realism that's not too far fetched given some of today's strides in modern advancement.
Having proven himself to be more than just a pretty face with performances in Jerry Maguire and Magnolia, Tom Cruise is rock solid in the role of Precrime specialist, John Anderton. One of the more appealing aspects of the film is seeing Cruise jump into the skin of a tortured drug addicted cop on the run. certainly a nice break from the safe confines of superstar status. Although Cruise maximizes the role's potential, unfortunately, he's also bound by the film's pacing. In certain scenes when sympathetic emotional intent is clear, the film's fast paced storyline doesn't give Cruise time enough to shine, or the audience occasion to feel his pain. In addition to momentum, the story also suffers from certain logical loopholes with regard to the entire concept of "Precrime," leaving many unanswered questions when reflecting back on the plot, which could be interpreted as justification for such a fast paced adrenaline ride.
My main problem with Minority Report is the the film, at least the idea of it, should have never happened. We've run into this problem before with movies such as Terminator 2 and Back to the Future. Here's the problem; Anderton would have never went to kill Crowe had he not seen it in the Precrime room. But the Precogs show it to him as if he had planned it. That's another thing; the precogs only give an ample amount of time to catch these `murderers' when there is premeditation. In the opening scene, we are explained that when there is no premeditation, there is little time to stop there murders from happening. Assuming that Anderton didn't see his crime, and also assuming that Anderton was thrust into a position where he was face to face with Crowe, there would have been no premeditation. My problem is, again, Anderton would have never went to find (and kill) Crowe had he not seen it happen. So it would have never happened therefore never been shown to him. As much as I enjoyed Minority Report, the film left me bruised with a few bumps on the head after my theater chair also served as an ejection seat which, at times, launched me out of the movie to the roof, then back again. Believe me, too much exposition hurts. However, with a supporting cast that includes the great Max von Sydow as Precrime Director Burgess, Colin Farrell, Steve Harris from ABC's The Practice, Tim Blake Nelson, Samantha Morton and a slew of highly recognizable cameos, Minority Report isn't soft in the acting department.
At times, Minority Report also upholds a level of class and orchestral dignity as Anderton also serves as a visual conductor to John Williams' haunting, mysterious and heart pounding score via visual precognition. With famed cinematographer Janusz Kaminski working his magic, Minority Report's presentation is second to none in visual appearance. From this reviewer's perspective, Minority Report represents a new benchmark in the science fiction genre in subject matter and visual appeal. I admire the places Spielberg is willing to explore as a director. Sure, he could make "E.T. 2" but instead, he chooses to take on challenging films such as this. Simply put, Minority Report is an impressive visual extravaganza that takes the mind on a cerebral action packed ride into the future.
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