Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review: Minority Report - I finally sat through it!

Believe it or not, I just got around to watching Minority Report. For those of you that live in a cave like I do, Minority Report is a 2002 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story "The Minority Report" by Philip K. Dick. It is set primarily in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia in the year 2054, where "Precrime", a specialized police department, apprehends criminals based on foreknowledge provided by three psychics called "precogs". The cast includes Tom Cruise as Precrime officer John Anderton, Colin Farrell as Department of Justice agent Danny Witwer, Samantha Morton as the senior precog Agatha, and Max von Sydow as Lamar Burgess.

This movie was a commercial success and was a multi-award winning film, however awards like the Academy Award were not for science fiction but for sound editing... and that might be indicative of what I felt troubled me about the movie. Tom Cruise again shows he has no acting range. You could take his character here and drop it unchanged into Top Risky Mission if you catch my drift. Plus the fact that the movie is different enough from the story that I had trouble relating to the characters. It's set in a different place, a different agency and the main character John is unrecognizable (you get a clear impression from Dick on howAnderton should look and act ....which is not Cruise)

The movie is really just an action flick. Even in Blade Runner, Ford's character is allowed to question and suspect the status quo. That being said, the action and overall look of the film is really good. What is really telling is that the tech which I have to say is quaint. Now, before you call me on this, let me explain. I suspect that Spielberg used something akin to what I would call "the Star Trek " extrapolation. Look at tech existing now, and look at how Star Trek used it's tech....then add on 40 some odd years. What I mean is, look at how communications, computers, entertainment and transportation changed from when Star Trek was on to about now.....and you can see the changes and growth and also how really wrong Star Trek got some of it, because of the fundamental changes in technology. Spielberg did a good job of extrapolation of the technology but got the time frame almost laughably wrong. Now, given that movie was made in 2002 and almost none of the tech used was even close to being mainstream so I can see it being a dazzling 50 years into the future.... We are in seven short years, well familiar with touch screens and gesture control is already being done with no need for lights for reference points...Large flash cards are all but innocuous. Robots in law enforcement may not have reached the level of sophistication, but at their present level of adoption, I would suspect that level will be reached in 10 years or less.

Of course science fiction movies continue to offer real break away visions of transportation both mass and individually. We have not even come close to the vision that were offered in the sixties, so again I feel Spielberg may have missed by more than 50 years in jet-paced policed and vertical roads....50 or better 100 years too early, if ever.

So, in the end, what did I think? von Sydow, Farrell and Witwer all put in good performances, Cruise was predictable. The plot telegraphed itself, but as far as mindless entertainment much like "Total Recall" it certainly does a workman like job of it. I certainly am not sorry I waited so long....perfect late night movie on tv cause I can't sleep scenario.


Shaun said...

"You could take his character here and drop it unchanged into Top Risky Mission if you catch my drift."


MOstly I agree, but then after seeing him in 'Collateral', I saw that he can do something very different.

Beam Me Up said...

reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally.... you wouldn't want to back them words up there boy would ya? lol

I haven't seen Collateral, however I did see "A Few Good Men" and "Jerry Maguire" where you have two radically different movies and very competent cast both movies led by Cruise and basically what you have is "Show me a few Jerry Maguires" the movies are entertaining, but Cruise is a cookie cutter character that is just dropped into the set.