Review By Paul Mount, 4 out of 5
The omens really weren’t good for this one. Steven Spielberg, the most over-rated film-maker of his generation, whose last genre outing was the mawkish and exasperatingly-overlong AI and the pompous Tom Cruise who recently dabbled with fantasy film in the sprawling and flawed VANILLA SKY. It was either going to be a marriage made in Heaven or it was going to be Hell on Earth. Fortunately for everyone concerned, the Angels came out smiling and MINORITY REPORT is not only the best SF film of the year, it’s also probably the most intelligent and thought-provoking future thriller since BLADE RUNNER.
It’s the year 2054 and Washington is experimenting with a most effective method of bringing down its murder statistics. Three talented young psychics (known as ‘pre-cogs’) are linked up to a battery of super-sophisticated recording equipment, held in liquid suspension and their predictive abilities utilised to foresee violent murders which are then prevented before they can happen by the officers of the Department of Precrime. It’s an impressive, apparently flawless system of crime detection and John Anderton (Cruise) is one of the Department’s most respected officers…until a psychic image of him committing murder appears and Anderton, convinced he’s been set up, goes on the run to prove his innocence.
It’s been an odd summer for blockbuster movies. STAR WARS rather came and went, SPIDER-MAN wrapped up the box office in its web despite not being outstandingly good. MEN IN BLACK 2 and AUSTIN POWERS IN GOLDMEMBER promise yet more flashy effects and mindless spectacle. Into all this whiz-bangery comes MINORITY REPORT, the thinking man’s science-fiction movie, a film boasting a plot heavy script whilst proudly displaying its film noir sensibilities. The film’s trailer does the film a great disservice, painting MINORITY REPORT as an all-action, special effects extravanganza. Granted, there’s action and spectacle but, just for once, it’s incidental to the machinations of the plot, the icing on the cake rather than the filling. Cruise gives a career-best performance as tormented cop Anderton and Spielberg finally overcomes his mawkish tendencies and creates a startlingly adult film, the stark, bleached cinematography giving the film and its characters an even greater sense of unreality. Scott Frank’s script is brutal and uncompromising, even where some of the expositionary dialogue is a bit clunky and of the ‘Oh, I should have realised …’ variety and the vertical freeways and the insidious mechanical spider-like people-seekers creature a future dystopia entirely believable despite the fact it’s only half a century away.
MINORITY REPORT, with its engrossing, labyrinthine plot and its dozens of neat visual flourishes, will undoubtedly reward repeated viewing. Perhaps inevitably, box office in the States has been healthy, if not outstanding; this is a difficult, awkward film, far removed from the expected disposable popcorn fare. It’s a film that finally sees Spielberg grow up in public and it’s a film, like BLADE RUNNER, whose reputation can only grow and grow as it slowly finds its appreciative audience. Count me amongst that number.
DVD Special Features:
From Story to Screen Featurettes: “The Story, The Debate”and “The Players”
Deconstructing Minority Report Featurettes: “The World of Minority Report”, “Pre-Crime and Pre-Cogs”, “Spyder Sequence”, “Pre-Cog Visions”, and “Vehicles of the Future”
The Stunts of Minority Report Featurettes: “Maglev Escape”, “Hoverpack Chase”and “Car Factory”ILM and Minority Report featurettes: “An Introduction”, “Holograms”, “Hall of Containment “, “Maglev”, “Hovercraft and Hoverpacks”and “Cyberparlor”
Featurette: Final Report: Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise
Still Gallery consisting of over 200 images from the film.
Cast and Filmmakers’ biographies
Activision game trailer
Three Theatrical trailers