Minority Report (2002)
Ebert: San Francisco Examiner: TV Guide:
Warning, minor plot points revealed!
Summer 2002 has now become the best summer movie season in history. Spideman spun onto the screen and set the tone, then two weeks later, Yoda pulled a light saber from his belt and renewed our faith in The Force! Now Tom Cruise and Lord Spielberg have created one of the best Sci-Fi movies ever made. Minority Report is a masterpiece of modern filmmaking.
The movie tells the story of John Anderton, chief of the Department of Pre-Crime in the District of Columbia, where there has not been a murder in six years. The Pre-Crime unit uses the pre-cognitive abilities of three genetically engineered psychics to arrest people prior to their commission of a homicide. The beta-testing period is now over and the program is about to go national. Justice Department agent Danny Witwer has been sent to debunk the program prior to it's nation wide implementation. Soon after Witwer's arrival the pre-cogs foresee a murder committed by Anderton and the chase begins. Like The Fugitive, Anderton must try to clear his name before being apprehended and imprisoned by his own Pre-Crime unit.
Although Tom Cruise never comes to mind when I'm listing off my favorite actors I have to admit he is one of the best. He never makes poor choices with the roles he's offered and as I look back over his career I realize that many of my favorite films have Tom Cruise in them! Vanilla Sky, Mission Impossible 1 and 2, Interview with a Vampire, A few Good Men, Born on the 4th of July, Rain Man, The Color of Money, Top Gun and Risky Business are all great films! Minority Report is without a doubt his best to date. Also outstanding in their roles are Colin Farrell as Danny Witwer and the legendary Max von Sydow as Pre-Crime bureau director Burgess.
During pre-production Spielberg assembled a think tank of futurists to fill in the details of what the year 2054 might look like. Holographic computer interfaces that are manipulated with hand gestures, magnetic propelled cars that zoom up, down and around skyscrapers as well as along M.C. Escher-like freeway systems, retinal scanners are everywhere including the billboards and advertisements that address you personally when you walk by. The Pre-Crime unit is outfitted with personal jet-packs, pulse rifles, jet-ships (kinda like Boba Fett's in Star Wars), robotic recon-spiders that can search an entire building in a few minutes, and a prison for their criminals that is similar to the battery pods in The Matrix and the cloning chambers in Star Wars: Episode II.
The special effects are some of the most seamless ever created. Many critics have said that CGI (Computer Generated Images) effects do not blend smoothly enough with live action. This is a critique that bothers me. CGI has opened up limitless possibilities to film makers and the benefits far outweigh the few drawbacks. Unless you're watching a documentary, you should be willing and able to suspend your disbelief the second a movie begins. If you can't do this, then I suggest you stop watching movies.
If there was one thing I didn't like about this movie it would be the ending. Spielberg films refuse to let you leave the theatre on a dark note. The end of the movie should have come about 10 minutes before it does. I had this same problem with Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence. That movie should have ended with the little android trapped in his ship, staring at the "blue fairy" for all eternity. Of course, American audiences would never have tolerated that. For an example the most perfect film ending ever, see the 1991 Dutch movie The Vanishing by George Sluizer (Do not, under any circumstances, accidentally rent the American remake that was made a few years later).