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Minority Report DVD

Minority Report DVD Starring: Tom Cruise, Max von Sydow, et al.
Director: Steven Spielberg
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Neil Karnegie's Review

The fact that you prevented it from happening doesn't change the fact that it was going to happen.

On paper the teaming of Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise for Minority Report, a movie based upon a Philip K Dick short story, looks a sure-fire winner but then so did Vanilla Sky. The problem is movies aren't made on paper but whereas Vanilla Sky was a great disappointment, thankfully, this is not the case with the excellent (but very cold) futuristic noir thriller Minority Report.

As previously mentioned, Minority Report is based on a Phillip K Dick short story and is similar in tone to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, which was subsequently made into the rather excellent cult classic, and benchmark for all subsequent sci-fi movies, BladeRunner. Set only 52 years in the future, Tom Cruise plays Detective John Anderton, a driven cop with a self-medicating drug habit, still haunted by the abduction and disappearance of his son, whilst in his care, at a public swimming pool five years previously. Anderton is chief of the Washington DC Pre-Crime police unit, whose SWAT teams stop murders before they can be committed by swooping down from the heavens and arresting the future perpetrators before they can carry out their intended crimes.

Pre-crime is reliant upon the visionary powers of three "pre-cogs"; apparent mutated shadows of human beings, interconnected by computer whilst floating in a tank of water, in a semi-comatose state, at police headquarters. Their dream-like premonitions are displayed on a giant screen, the images conducted and deciphered by a cyber-gloved Cruise, as coloured wooden balls bearing the name of both the prospective victim and perpetrator, roll down plastic tubes like this weeks 'winning' lottery numbers. There is no apparent debate about civil liberties because the pre-cogs are never wrong, nobody gets hurt and the capital's murder rate is down to zero, making it a very desirable system for federal law enforcers. The pre-crime system is almost ready to go national. However, just when everything seems to be going swimmingly Detective Anderton's balls drop (down the plastic tube that is), as the pre-cognitives identify him as a future murderer in a vision on the big screen. As he's in charge and convinced the premonition is fake, he has the opportunity to go on the run in order to prove his innocence, an opportunity denied to every person he's arrested for the past six years.

Minority Report is an excellent and exhilarating ride into the future, full of action, suspense, FX and more twists and turns than a country road. Spielberg's collaboration with the late great Stanley Kubrick (on A.I.) has obviously left an impression in that Minority Report has a distinctly Kubrickian cold alienation about it. In many ways it looks and feels very un-like a Spielberg movie except for the Hitchockian (or Spielbergian if you like) type suspense and mass of product placement (from Gap to Bulgari and Guinness). It is also very much unlike any previous Tom Cruise vehicle, which is refreshing, although some parallels in the action sequences could obviously be drawn to the Mission Impossible movies. However both Spielberg and Cruise are on top form here, ably supported by Max Von Sydow and an all too smooth Colin Farrell (Tigerland) and a virtually unrecognisable Samantha Morton (Sweet and Lowdown). Much credit should also go to cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, and Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor from Industrial Light and Magic, who helped make Minority Report a work of art.

Intelligent, very entertaining, ingenious and dark. Minority Report is another great success to add to Mr Spielberg's and Mr Cruise's very impressive CV's. 4.5 stars.

From Amazon.com

Amazon.com Editorial Review

Amazon.com Set in the chillingly possible future of 2054, Steven Spielberg's Minority Report is arguably the most intelligently provocative sci-fi thriller since Blade Runner. Like Ridley Scott's "future noir" classic, Spielberg's gritty vision was freely adapted from a story by Philip K. Dick, with its central premise of "Precrime" law enforcement, totally reliant on three isolated human "precogs" capable (due to drug-related mutation) of envisioning murders before they're committed. As Precrime's confident captain, Tom Cruise preempts these killings like a true action hero, only to run for his life when he is himself implicated in one of the precogs' visions. Inspired by the brainstorming of expert futurists, Spielberg packs this paranoid chase with potential conspirators (Max Von Sydow, Colin Farrell), domestic tragedy, and a heartbreaking precog pawn (Samantha Morton), while Cruise's performance gains depth and substance with each passing scene. Making judicious use of astonishing special effects, Minority Report brilliantly extrapolates a future that's utterly convincing, and too close for comfort.

Jeff Shannon

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