It’s easy to hate Tom Cruise. Nonetheless I still seem to put a lot of effort into it, avoiding his films as often as possible. Ultimately though the plot of Minority Report was too tempting to continue to ignore. Leaving me once again reminded of a quote from the great Akeem, Prince of Zamunda;
“The first impression is usually the right one.”
Consider this: Three bald, perpetually damp humans are hooked up to an ornate kid’s candy dispenser and laser wood lathe combo, through which they predict crimes.
Different coloured balls indicate the seriousness of the crime – red is especially bad. (It seems oddly specific that these submerged seers can only have advance knowledge of crimes. Why crimes? At what point does it fall under their range? Are there beige balls calling for parking violations on the corner of 7th and Broadway? Can they spot people smuggling in Africa and relay the information to a sub-office in a wading pool somewhere in Nairobi?)
Pointless ponderances aside for a moment. The candy-crime balls are dispensed lottery style into the offices of John Anderton (Cruise) and his crack team of pre-crime stoppers. Armed with minimal information John and his crew must use a giant virtual iPad to uncover more detail and ultimately stop the crime before it happens. Thankfully Anderton is a great cop. In the opening scene of the film he lipreads a bystander mouthing ‘merry-go-round’ and uses this information to crack the case.
Seriously; ‘merry-go-round’. For reals…
Which brings me to my next – and primary – cry, of BULLSHIT! If these aquatic Nostradamus’ can be so very specific in their predictions, how come they don’t see Anderton and friends swinging in at the last second to save the day? I realise it would be confusing to get a message like “bad guy about to kill small child in the park on Wednesday the 12th at… oh don’t worry, you’ve already pre-solved that one. Good job. Carry on…” But sci-fi reality is sci-fi reality and must be carried to the sensible illogical conclusion.
I mean by all that is unique and wonderful about Scientology, that’s a lottery-ball dispenser riddled with plot holes right there.
Moving on. When not on duty Anderton is haunted by memories of his wife and late son, taken before the misdemeanour candy machine was invented. He takes drugs to cope and focuses all of his energies on the next case.
Unfortunately for Anderton, the next case arrives with a big red ball that labels him as the perpetrator of the next big crime, one that will take place in the next 36 hours. Furthering the unfortunateness is the arrival of Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), a gubmint employee sceptical of the whole bald candy lathe thing (Keep digging Danny! You’re on the right track.)
And on the run we go. Even with his little legs and unaerodynamic set of prominent teeth, Anderton manages to stay one step ahead of Witwer, even though in this future world everyone is instantly recognisable through fingerprints and eye recognition software.
But some nice visuals and a decent scene or two are hardly sufficient reason to cast bouquets.
Of course being a Spielberg helmed film, the cast (Cruise aside) is top notch. Peter Stormare steals one scene as a seedy black market surgeon. Max Von Sydow appears as the boss of the pre-crime taskforce, and while they aren’t well used, Neal McDonough and Steve Harris appear as Anderton’s other colleagues.
Minority Report is one of those films that spends half the film painstakingly crafting a (BULLSHIT) premise, then the second half being a stock standard chase film – covering up the cliché with a glib recurring ‘Everybody runs’ motif seems lazy. Like Tom Cruise this is pretty and not nearly as impressive as it thinks, despite some impressive visuals. The somewhat vertical nature of traffic running up and down buildings in this future looks quite striking, but is likely less effective for those people who need to go across town.
Similar to the vertical traffic, Spielberg’s film seems to spend a lot of energy moving in the wrong direction for the sake of pleasing aesthetics, only at the expense of logic and practicality. Sure there’s lots to look at, but the same can be said of Kim Kardashian’s ass – and we all know what that’s full of…
Final Rating – 6.5 / 10. Another case of pre-acclaim being granted thanks to the names behind the film before the ‘act’ is even perpetrated.