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…
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
Full of flawed characters and shot in grainy de-saturated colours, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report is futuristic film noir with a far-fetched B-movie plot that’s so feverishly presented the audience never gets a chance to ponder its many improbabilities. Based on a short story by Philip K Dick, Minority Report is set in the Orwellian near-future of 2054, where a trio of genetically modified “pre-cogs” warn of murders before they happen. In a sci-fi twist on the classic Hitchcockian wrong man scenario, Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the zealous precrime cop who is himself revealed as a future-killer. Plot twists and red herrings drive the action forward and complications abound, not least Anderton’s crippling emotional state, his drug habit, his avuncular-yet-sinister boss (Max Von Sydow), and the ambitious FBI agent Witwer (Colin Farrell) snapping at his heels.
Though the film toys with the notion of free will in a deterministic universe, this is not so much a movie of grand ideas as forward-looking ones. Its depiction of a near-future filled with personalised advertising and intrusive security devices that relentlessly violate the right of anonymity is disturbingly believable. Ultimately, though, it’s a chase movie and the innovative set-piece sequences reveal Spielberg’s flair for staging action. As with A.I. before it, there’s a nagging feeling that the all-too-neat resolution is a Spielbergian touch too far: the movie could satisfactorily have ended several minutes earlier. Though this is superior SF from one of Hollywood’s greatest craftsmen, it would have been more in the spirit of Philip K Dick to leave a few tantalisingly untidy plot threads dangling.
On the DVD: Minority Report on disc brings up Janusz Kaminski’s wonderfully subdued cinematography in an ideal anamorphic widescreen print. John Williams’s Bernard Herrmann-esque score is the major beneficiary of Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS sound options. There is no commentary, and the movie plus everything on the second disc, which contains five short featurettes and an archive of text and visual material, could probably have been squeezed onto just one disc. The featurettes are: “From Story to Screen”, “Deconstructing Minority Report“, “The Stunts of Minority Report“, “ILM and Minority Report” and “Final Report: Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise”. There are subtitles in English and Scandinavian languages. —Mark Walker
Barnes and Noble
Chalk up another triumph for Steven Spielberg, whose latest sci-fi effort ranks among his very best films. Minority Report, a futuristic thriller based on a story by author Philip K. Dick (Blade Runner), is also something of a tour de force for Tom Cruise. He plays police officer John Anderton, whose “future crimes” task force uses scientific technology and psychic premonitions to identify contemplated crimes and arrest the would-be perpetrators before they follow through with them. This expansive, revolutionary approach to law enforcement, overseen by visionary Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow), seems to be foolproof—until Anderton himself is identified as the potential murderer of a man he’s never met. Minority Report’s script synthesizes sci-fi stories, psychological thrillers, and police procedurals; the result is a complex melodrama that plays out like a particularly intricate whodunit. Spielberg’s trademark virtuosity manifests itself in the film’s striking visuals and elaborately staged action sequences. But the muscular performances of Cruise, von Sydow, and Colin Farrell (as a skeptical cop who becomes Anderton’s nemesis)—along with those of supporting players Lois Smith, Tim Blake Nelson, and Steve Harris—keep the story’s human element in the forefront and prevent the film from becoming an extravagantly produced piece of eye candy. To those disappointed by Spielberg’s previous genre offering, A.I., Minority Report will be seen as a much-welcome return to form. Ed Hulse
While Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi detective thriller revolves around the intriguing premise of future cops arresting criminals before their crimes, beneath its high-tech veneer it asks a simple but infinitely powerful question: Do we have the power to alter our own destiny? Coming on the heels of the director’s posthumous collaboration with Stanley Kubrick, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, it also affords longtime Spielberg musical collaborator John Williams a rare back-to-back opportunity to construct a musical future-world. The composer’s efforts here…
Many thousands of readers worldwide consider Philip K. Dick to have been the greatest science fiction writer on any planet. Since his untimely death in 1982, interest in Dick’s work has continued to mount and his reputation has been enhanced by a growing body of critical attention. The Philip K. Dick Award is now presented annually to a distinguished work of science fiction, and the Philip K. Dick Society is devoted to the study and promulgation of his works.
This collection includes all of the writer’s earliest short and medium-length fiction (including several previously unpublished stories) covering the years 1954-1964, and featuring such fascinating tales as “The Minority Report” (the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s film), “Service Call”, “Stand By”, “The Days of Perky Pat”, and many others. Here, readers will find Dick’s initial explorations of the themes he so brilliantly brought to life in his later work. Dick won the prestigious…[more]