Minority Report (2002): ***
Directed by Steven Spielberg
I give Spielberg all the credit for making this a good movie. In someone else's hands it
could have turned into an awful mess. But Spielberg has turned this (pretty good) script into
a gorgeous tapestry of the near future.
I really loved the future world that Spielberg has created. It seems plausible, and
just far enough advanced that it doesn't seem like magic (like Star Trek science). There are
hundreds of tiny touches that completley immerse you into this world and make you belive it.
It is damned spectacular.
The story is also pretty good, and surprisingly morally ambiguous (an area which seems to be
Spielberg's new stomping grounds, which is weird but nice). It flows logically, and there are
some sequences which are written and directed so well that I was grinning and I said "Yes!" out
loud once or twice (like during the Pre-Cog flight from the cops). The story is genuinely
unpredicable (which is ironic because it deals with predicting the future) in many places.
There are some standard twists, but they're directed in a way that makes them seem less standard.
However, there were some major, major problems that kept me from getting really invovled in the
Tom Cruise was the wrong person to play the main character, John Anderton. He strides around and poses the
entire movie. His acting is all mannerisms. He never seemed the least bit beliveable. This character
needed to be played by someone who can actually pull off the "everyman" type character and
be belivably weak, and yet still plausible when it comes time for action. Tom Cruise
never gives us any hint as to why his character can go from a lonely, drug-addicted cop to
a Schwarzanegger-esque action hero (his drug addiction is also completely underused and never
brought up after the plot starts going). One the way home in the car we were trying to think
of who could have made this character belivable, and we realized that it should have been
someone like Bruce Willis (the 12 Monkeys and Unbreakable Bruce Willis, not
the Die Hard-style Bruce Willis), who can convey complex emotions without going
googly-eyed, and can actually make us belive that he's vulnerable.
Also, John Williams is a brialliant composer. But he SHOULD NOT write music for Spielberg
anymore. John Williams is the master of simple, emotional themes, which suit movies with
simple, direct, obvious emotions like the Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies, which are
essentially cartoons. Spielberg has moved beyond that. His films are now extraordinarly
complex emotionally, and Williams just can't do that with his music. As in A.I.
Artificial Intelligence, there were many times when I was watching images on the screen
which were telling me to feel a complex set of feelings, and yet the music was blaring away
telling me to think something completely different. Awful.
Both these facts kept me from getting drawn in and engrossed in the film. My heart never raced
and I was never particularly worried about what would happen. However, I would be remiss if I
didn't mention the fantastic supporting cast, each of whom manages to act more belivably than
the strutting Tom Cruise. Especially nice are the inimitable Max Von Sydow as Cruise's boss and
Kathryn Morris as his wife, who suddenly rises in the third act to become a major force in the movie, which
was surprising and delighting. She more than holds her own opposite Max. Samantha Morton really kicks ass (not literally) as the Pre-Cog Agatha.
The movie is also suprisingly funny, but in a very weird way. All the humor comes right out
of left field, and makes us laugh out of it's shocking appearance more than the actual humor
itself. I'll give one scene in particular away: During a tense scene in which Tom Cruise
is trying to break into Precrime headquarters, he needs to use his eyes (which by this time
have been removed and placed in a plastic baggie) to open a retinal-scanner door lock.
Well, the eyes slip out of his hand and go rolling down the hallway as Cruise chases after them.
It was like some Laruel and Hardy routine to watch him scramble down the hallway after his
fleeing eyes. Hilarious, and completley out of the blue and unexpected.
So I did enjoy this film quite a good deal. Tom Cruise and John Williams just prevented it
from drawing me in and making it the GREAT movie that Spielberg was trying to make (he almost pulled it off).
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