If there ever was a movie that suffers for its insatiable
desire to please, ladies and gentleman I present to you
Minority Report. This is understandable, however, because the
collaboration at hand - the one that sells this movie in any
market in the universe - is between Spielberg and Cruise, two
men who have built careers ("careers" being an understatement)
packaging the product humans crave. Of course both have
occasionally (and more recently) taken risks. Cruise did
Magnolia and a few Cameron Crowe flicks and Spielberg, before
making last years A.I., told the media, "I have spent my
career making movies that make others happy, now I'm making
movies that make me happy". Well hell Steve! We obviously have
better taste. But regardless of Mr. Spielberg's statement, I
have to accuse him of lying or at least telling a Hollywood
A.I. was some cerebral anti-establishment work of art that
will be reevaluated in ten years and then be praised to the
heavens (just ask that Dworken guy), but Minority Report is an
unabashed attempt at a summer crowd pleaser and there is no
shame in that; the shame is in Spielberg being exposed so
nakedly as a sentimentalist (although Schindler's List is one
of the most raw motion pictures of all time), a man who
overindulges at the expense of the story, and a director who
may need to study some of his earlier work to reacquaint
himself with the purity of filmmaking.
is based on a sci-fi bag of tricks from writer Philip K. Dick
and it teems with imagination and philosophical imponderables,
but perhaps in screenwriters Scott Frank and John Cohen's
extraction, they grabbed blindly without enough consideration,
or added plot points without consideration. Something was done
without considering the
audience, our patience, and intelligence. Like A.I., the great
movie that should have made it to the screen is forty five
minutes shorter than the rather good movie we get in its
place. So we put our money down and in return Spielberg
delivers the fireworks early and throughout. The special
effects and ingenuitive futuristic sets and gizmos are
plays a fine flawed hero glossed to perfection by a director
who knows how to treat his cast to their matinee idol
advantage. Cruise, a natural talent, eases his way through
this role - although it does require some range, he never
needs to stretch; he has covered all of these emotions before
in various projects. We also get smolderingly good Colin
Farrell (Tigerland) who wins rookie of the year after going
head to head and holding his own, first with Bruce Willis
(Hart's War) and now with Cruise. The heavy artillery on
display here is not anything or
anyone that we "see"; Minority Report is essentially an
exhausting decathlon for the brain.
plays Detective John Anderton, the top cop of an elite and
experimental Pre-Crime unit, working in Washington D.C. 50
years into the future. What is Pre-Crime? Oh, that's easy
enough...After designer drugs become so vile that....women taking
these drugs give birth to sick children who have the ability
to visualize events that never happened yet... wait...not just
events...tragic events like murder..wait... not all murders..forget
it, you'll find it cool and it doesn't even matter. The story
is inherently impossible and so many bonus twists and turns
were thrown in to make the whole thing a jumble not worth
completely unscrambling. What does matter is only how
many times you offer up this expression: "Ohhhh?cooool" (you
say this when you think you get it). Our
transcendentalist theme for the day is - Can we justify
punishing the criminal before any crime has been committed,
even if the crime is supposedly inevitable. This wont exactly
be a novel concept for those of us raised on Torah study or,
in the alternative, those of us banging our rabbis
occasionally over the past twenty years (that was one of those
"in context" jokes). For anyone who sat through the yearly
"why was Pharaoh punished even before he did anything"
discussion, the Pre-Crime contradiction is kind of old hat,
but it still tingles the ethical curiosity. As you will learn
in drama class, every story needs a beginning, a crisis, a
climax, and a conclusion. Spielberg nails the beginning,
presents an intriguing crisis (Anderton is "convicted" of a
pre-crime and runs from the law in order to discover the
truth), but from there?.not so much.
dismay, we are provided with a barrage of unnecessarily overt
"quirky" characters in bit parts (Lois Smith's scientist, Tim
Blake Nelson's dim bulb prison guard, and Peter Stormare's
plastic surgeon who's motives are incomprehensible) and too
many way-too-standard-for-this-caliber-of-movie plot
contrivances (everyone knows by now to ignore the
outstandingly "bad" guy and to watch out for the trusting
confidant - especially when that confidant is played by an
actor know for roles as villains). Furthermore, we receive
heaping tablespoons of bogus and hollow moments of "anxiety"
(by far the most irritating is the one with those balloons -
yuck!), a performance by a presumably talented actress,
Samantha Morton (haled for work in Woody Allen's Sweet and
Lowdown), given nothing to do but whimper with freakish
absurdity as one of the "precognitive" murder prophets, and
plenty of Spielbergian heart (A kidnapped and murdered son
spurs Anderton on to inner and outer struggles - will he find
peace!?). Whether you are sick of that or not by now is a
personal decision, but why settle for manufactured emotion
when there are movies out there like In the Bedroom and
Moulin Rouge. I guess I'm done venting now. It would
have been nice if this was a better piece of work, that's all
- a solid summer entertainment with smarts it is, I can't take
that away. With a little bit of editing it would have been a
four star, two thumbs up, whatever your way of saying "damn
good". One more thing - besides the fact that within the movie
there is something called a minority report, I have no clue
why it deserved to be the title of this movie. Think about it
and get back to me.
PS - I actually wanted to try something if there are enough
readers out there who saw this one. Just
write in and we'll place
at the bottom of the page the list:
Name any part of this movie that you felt does not make
sense, click, or mesh. It could be logically, scientifically,
physically, philosophically etc.
READERS COMMENTS HERE:
· The real reason it is called 'Minority Report': so the
headline 'Minority Wins!!' can write itself.
· Would the world really be any better off solely without
murder? Big deal - so you turn to busting kneecaps…DC would
· The old lady who is obsessed with life (flowers etc.) but is
so in touch with death kissing a young guy who is obsessed
with death - no, sorry, wrong movie…I'm thinking of Ruth
Gordon and Bud Cort in Harold and Maude. Was I the only one
looking for tattooed numbers on the old lady's arm? Blatant
ripoff or homage? You decide. (And if you haven't seen
Harold and Maude, do not see another movie until you have.)
· I approve of Speilberg's underplayed use of Von Sydow for
his Mengelesqueness (why does that come up on my spell-check
· "Ok, we'll have a huge fight scene in a manufacturing plant
that they just happen to walk in to…everybody but the main
guys will disappear and then the two of them will have it
out…and let's do it...get this…on a CATWALK!!!…great idea, JD!
· Blade Runner is always the template for futuristic movies:
· Vangelis vs. John Williams: Vangelis wins.
· Large digital billboards: BR for originality, MR for
· Weird detached eyeball in bags scene: BR for originality,
MR for use of Ziploc bag
(product placement people: nice!)
· Depiction of the future's gap between the haves and
have-nots: the high-tech high-
touch vs. the wet slimy abyss: BR for originality, MR for
· Author whose work was used for the movie: Tie: Philip K
Dick wrote both books
(well that answers a lot of questions…)
· Bald hysterically shaking teutonic babe: BR wins for use of
· And speaking of hysterically shaking people: why are they so
darn scary?? And can't you see into the future or the past or
have all these powers without all that shaking? Refer to:
Minority Report, Jacob's Ladder, The Exorcist, Rainman, Back
to the Future (sorry, I couldn't help myself).
· Number of Rabbis who will prepare speeches with the title
"Minority Report: Bechirah Chofsheet in a Crime Free World":
Here is my major problem
with the movie:
The Homeless Anorexic Precog: My bladder almost exploded by
this overgrown fetus. How many times did I have to see this
scene - The homeless precog performs some simulated shivering
act then limps over to a dooror a corner where she squats,
breathes as if she is about to give birth and screams “RUN!”
Hey there, a few
hey - here's a response to the profound question brought up by A Jordan Fan
1. In response to it not having been a premeditated crime (and seemingly not
deserving of the accompanying brown ball), Cruise commented, upon learning
that Crow was the "murderer," that he had dreamt of only 2 things every day
since his son's death: what he would look like today, and exacting revenge
on the murderer. In having Cruise say this, Spielberg was establishing an
intent dating back years, thus meriting the crime's status as premeditated.
However, why the precogs didn't see this 10 years ago and produce a brown
ball then is another story...
2. On another note, one would think that the advertisments, having
recognized Anderton, would have perhaps been able to inform Pre-crime of his
whereabouts. Also, since they said his name about a gazillion times after
the public was notified of his criminal status. did not one passerby care to
notice the WANTED guy walking next to them?
3. It mentioned in the very beginning how precogs could only predict murders
due to how they upset the balance of the universe and all, yet it goes on to
mention in advertisements for Pre-crime how one woman's rape was prevented.
So if you were to argue that the rapist may have meant to murder her as well,
how does that then explain how the need for umbrellas and balloons was
important enough to be picked up on. AND if you were to say that Agatha was
special and more perceptive, what prevented her from picking all this kind of
stuff up in the pool?
4. If the big bathtub with the pre-cogs had a drain, you would think that
the designer would at least supply it with a faucet or a safety mechanism for
the drain so that drainage wouldn't so easily occur.
From A Jordan Fan:
1.) In a movie that wants itself to be taken seriously -
Anderton trapped at the bottom of a car that is in the process
of being manufactured, where we see about 8 different steel
tentacles charge their way with lightning speed into the
vehicle and administer a flurry of bolts and flames - AND
ANDERTON IS COMPLETELY UNSCATHED!!!! not only that - sitting
upright in the drivers seat ready to go....wait same scene....
2.) He gets up, smiles at his pursuers, and drives the car
right off the manufacturing floor and onto the road! Who
opened the door? Who turned on the ignition? Are car keys not
a tool of the future? That vehicle went from an iron shell to
a ready for driving machine in 15 seconds.
3.) The Big One: Anderton "kills" someone who was artificially
implemented into existence (a faked set up where the man
falsely claims to be the kidnapper of his child). Anderton
finds this man ONLY through a series of events and through
information provided to him by the vision of the precogs. It
must be admitted, in an existential sense, without Anderton
seeing the vision, the murder could not have happened (a la
Macbeth). He would not have known which building to go into,
or what room, or certainly would not have been on the run and
thereby finding himself in the position to even be in front
the building and recognizing the "third man." Therefore the
murder with which Anderton was charged, was not fateful -- it
was the very opposite. It took an unnatural chain of events to
come into being. This unnatural chain of events begins ONLY
when the precogs toss their vision up on the screen and it is
observed by Anderton. Before Anderton sees the vision and the
process of chase begins - there could not be a murder or even
the possibility of one. The point is - and it must be agreed -
existentially, no vision = no murder. So here is the question
- If the murder of this false kidnapper is entirely initiated
by the precogs and their vision, and preceding the exposure of
Anderton to the vision the murder never would have taken
place, THEN what is the source of their vision? They could not
see something ahead of time that is entirely based on them
seeing something ahead of time. This is my point...I spent
much time thinking about how to formulate this and in the end
I said screw it and typed this up.
4.) It was a bit strange that Anderton would make his way with
such blind determination to the exact place where the murder
was predicted to take place. If he was as smart as we are
expected to believe, his best bet would be to sit out the 36
hours in some hotel and thereby prove his innocence when the
murder was not committed. That move is beyond obvious, but I
guess we don't have a movie that way.
Jeffrey D. Zack:
Hey there, a few
Most of the inconsistencies have been covered, but also:
1) Cruise pays for his new eyes with a credit card? While he's
on the run? How dumb is that? And how does an underground
surgeon take VISA???
2) Early in the movie Cruise is told "in the land of the
blind, the one eyed man is King". Then he's told that if he
takes off the bandage before 12 hours, he'll go blind.
Speilberg had a perfect chance to tie the two
together when those spider things zap one of Cruise's eyes to
ID him. But Cruise didn't go blind at all! What the hell?
3) those car things that went every which direction on the
sides of buildings, etc, were cool, but did you notice that
despite going upside down and sideways, nobody wore seatbelts?
how did they not go tumbling around
inside those things?
4) The movie is called Minority Report because of the short
story upon which it is based. In the story, there actually
WAS a minority report that said that Anderton didn't do it,
and that this was the whole flaw that was
exposed in the system. I guess the title is just an homage to
the story then. Along the same vein, I think you criticized
Speilberg for having Farrely be such an obvious fake bad guy,
while the old man was an obvious
secret bad guy. Except for anyone who read the book...because
in the book Farrely's character actually was the one who set
up Cruise and the old guy helped him get away. So anyone who
read the story would have been shocked.
5) Conspiracy theory: wasn't this just another version of
Mission Impossible? Examples: Cruise changes his face,
Cruise's mentor/boss is the bad guy that betrays him, Cruise
has to somehow break into one of the most
secure buildings in the world, steal the most important thing
there, and then get out free and clear, Cruise is trying not
get caught by sensors and let's out a bubble of air (reminds
me of the drop of sweat in MI), Cruise
has a buzzcut.
6) Ok, ready to blow your mind Matrix style? Precogs predict
future murders, but Precrime prevents them. So if they never
happen because Precrime always stops them, then how do the
precogs see them in first place?
If your answer is that the murders would have happened, but
Precrime changes the future, then it makes sense that Agatha
would see Anderton murdering Crowe, but later it happens as an
accident. Precogs see the future and the future FOR SURE
happens, so long as the people involved don't acquire any
foresight. But Precrime gets foresight into the murders, and
can prevent them. Thus any future murderer (such as Cruise)
who gains foresight about the murder, can then change the
future by not committing the murder. So for all those
Constitutional sticklers out there worried about due process,
the best way to implement the system would be to inform people
about the future murders, rather than simply arrest
them...after that, if the precogs still
see muuuuuuuuuurrrrrder, they can swoop in.
Here's what did not make sense to me:
If Agatha saw John kill Leo Crow, she knew that he did not actually kill
him, nor did he want to kill him, and that it was an accident.
Since that is the case, first, why did it "precognitively" come up as a
murder image? Considering that the death of Leo Crow was an accident,
doesn't that undermine a significant premise of the story????
Second, what does that mean for all those "murders" that were actually
accidents? Where is the due process of law? Manslaughter, involuntary
manslaughter? I agree that the "life sentence" for the alleged murderers is
pretty harsh considering those factors.
I read your review on bangitout, not bad. Of course I am
referring to your writing, not the movie. You literary skills
have certainly diminished since highschool, but they are not
entirely lacking. With regard to that question you posed, I
was also troubled with several aspects of the movie. Here
goes, in no particular order.
1. What was the prison sentence for murder? I know you had to
wear a halo, but for how long? It seems imprudent that the
man who kills his wife in the heat of passion (voluntary
manslaughter) should receive the same sentence as a serial
killer who premeditates his crimes.
2. When Agatha became animated and awoke from her catatonic
state, did you experience any déjà vu. She was totally the
same character as that chick from the 5th Element.
3. Was the computer hacker really scared that Tom Cruise was
going to bust him, considering he was on the run for murder?
For a genius, that was pretty dumb.
4. There's subtle foreshadowing, and then there's blatant
giveaways to the end of the movie. Spielberg should know the
difference. One gently stimulates the senses, and the other
is as delicate as being run over by an 18-wheeler. Not that
it ruined the movie, but giving that old guy the general's
gun. Who in the theater didn't know that he was going to use
it, and most certainly on himself. Probably the same person
who picked Apollo Creed over Ivan Drago.
5. Why couldn't you just close your eyes to avoid the scanners
in the subway? It seemed like everyone looked directly into
6. This bothered the hell out of me. It made no sense that
Tom Cruise still had access to the 'Temple' once he was on the
run. Remember he used his eye in a bag to open the back door.
You gotta be kidding me. The temple was the most revered
place in DC, and they knew he was trying to get back, why
don't they revoke his clearance. Everyone knows the first
thing you do is change the locks.
From Shifra G. :
you guys covered almost everything.. i spend the movie noticing which
corporations made it to the year 2056 (aka who paid big buck for
advertising) lexus, gap, nokia, bvlgari, aquafina....
- How come the obviously Jewish Computer Hacker ('what, I
should hit her on the head?') bows to his knees and does a
cross sign when seeing Agatha? He totally should have said
- Tom Cruise vows he can't kill anyone, and yet every time he
runs from the cops, he takes out about 3 city blocks of
- What's up with the 80 year old founder of Precrime, kissing
Tom Cruise? Is this Eyes Wide Shut all over again?
- Just because it is the future, does it mean cops must wear
slut gear? ( bangitout.com slutgear of course)
- How come Agatha wasn't played by Sinead O'Connor?
- How are the precogs not all pruney from being in the water
- There is a striking resemblance of the pool ball telling the
future and the magic 8 ball I have at my desk at work
- The rolling ball is such a rip off of the fortune telling
machine in the movie, Big
- The Cop's jet packs are such a rip off of GI-JOE
- So based on the last scene does that mean the precogs are
- Typical reason why it's called minority report: Because
there is only one black actor in the entire movie.
- The shady eye doc says he will get revenge on Tom Cruise for
putting him in jail for years, and all he does is give him a
rotten sandwich? Someone explain.