75 of 83 people found the following review helpful
Critics say this is five stars. For once they're right!,
I probably would have waited until Minority Report hit the rental stands if it weren't for all the five-star ratings critics have been giving this movie. After being digitally assaulted by the current crop of high-budget special effects films like Spiderman and Attack of the Clones, I was already weary of acting and storyline taking a backseat to gee-whiz computer graphics. I underestimated Spielberg's ability.
So what is the plot exactly? Well, dear reader, take comfort in knowing I will not spoil the movie for you. In the year 2054, Americans are subjected to Gap clothing stores (that scan your retina and hard-sell khakis by your name) as well as USA Today newspapers with animated front page covers that update in real-time. Tom Cruise is John Anderton, Washington D.C.'s top-cop in the experimental pre-crime unit that seeks out and eliminates would-be murderers through the use of precognitive beings that are able to sense murders shortly before they happen. The premise sounds wonderful until John discovers he's about to murder someone he has never met. This is the story on the surface yet it is not the story. I fear many will avoid this movie because this is all they will expect. I will stump for this movie because it's not just an action-thriller and it's not just a thinking-man's science-fiction movie. What lies beneath the story is much deeper and darker.
You see, even in knowing the future, Mr. Anderton is confronted with an awful dilemma. How can he prevent himself from killing the person he is supposed to murder if he has never seen the person he is supposed to kill or the location the murder is supposed to take place? Is the future preordained or does man create his own destiny? As Anderton uncovers the answers to these questions, viewers will find that this is not the underlying story either.
Minority Report is a dark and disturbing vision of the future made believable with Cruise's much more human characterization of Anderton than his previous Mission Impossible persona. Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, and the incomparable Max von Sydow all serve to effectively help and hinder Anderton's quest. Are there flaws in the movie? Perhaps. The action scenes are impressive and appropriate, but one particular scene in the LEXUS factory contained so much eyeball-jarring camera manipulation that I felt I was hit by a "sick stick." And speaking of brand-names, reviewers complain of the blatant commercialization of the movie. Without question, an obscene amount of advertising permeates almost every frame. Did Spielberg sell out to the highest bidder or is he making a statement about the not-so-distant future, or even the present? I'll let you decide. Finally, the fact this movie received a PG-13 rating is a statement in itself. I remember all the controversy generated by parent-groups when Poltergeist received a PG rating. It seems so long ago...
Yet credit must go to Steven Spielberg as there was much of this movie that could've been done ineffectively. After the disappointing box-office numbers of A.I., many (including myself) were expecting a dumbed-down formulaic hack to swing alongside the rest of the massives. Instead, Spielberg shows he's master of the technology as the impressive display of visuals serve to add to, not overwhelm the story. By the time the movie ends, you may find yourself pondering the kind of questions only philosophers argued over.
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Initial post: Apr 21, 2010 4:11:35 PM PDT
James N. Smith says:
Minority Report is what good SF film should be. It's interesting that two of the best examples of SF on screen are by the same author. You are correct that credit is due to Spielberg in this instance. At least on this occasion he realized that although CGI does allow film makers to now do whatever they imagine, being able to do everything you imagine does not necessarily produce good movies. As a result the SFX serve the story. Also interesting is that this movie came out at the same time as the aforementioned "Attack of the Clones". Both movies include a similar scene; a chase in flying cars, yet Minority Report's chase seems more real, and as a result did not cause me to break my suspension of disbelief, and the scene was tense and nail biting; whereas the chase in AotC was so over the top and SFX heavy, I sat shaking my head. I couldn't care for the characters because I just didn't belief any of it.
Posted on Aug 13, 2010 4:04:00 PM PDT
This an excellent review! Thank you!
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