Minority Report

After two abortive attempts, I was finally able to see Minority Report.
I’d read and believed the hype surrounding the movie. I’d also read and been told on no fewer than 5 seperate occasions that it was great – except for the last 20 minutes.
The movie was very good. Starting with understated titles (diminished somewhat by the enormity of the studio identifications) and a hot, anonymous kiss, we were on the trail right away. The introduction to the world was quick, detailed and entrancing. Watching Tom Cruise conduct video images captured from the pre-cogs’ minds on a beautiful, curved and transparent view screen was mesmerising (although, being petty, what’s up with his nose?). We are quickly introduced to the antagonist, a federal agent, quickly delved into the story when the agents break the cardinal rule of interacting physically with the pre-cogs. The story then hops a long at a fairly frenetic pace until, yes, the last 20 minutes.
The visualizations are beautiful. I was thrown off some by the fact that this is set only 52 years into the future. That’s not a terribly long time, although I suppose that the world of 2002 is fairly unrecognisable to one from 1950. A more pleasant visualization of the future than Blade Runner, there are still appropriate echoes here – with this also being adapted from Philip K. Dick short story. What truly sets it apart, in the same way Blade Runner did? Imperfect technology. The holo-videos seen in MR were not perfect holograms. They had the smack of brand-new technology that is cool because it is new, but nowhere near perfect. In fact, all the video watched in the film paled in comparison to the crispness of contemporary digital images. But the media were new for them, which would make them exciting. I’d certainly trade sharpness to watch tv immersively, had I the money for the new tech.

I was quickly lost in the movie’s world and plot, always a good sign. However, I found the car-plant sequence really jolting and out of line with both visual and content themes – it was suddenly a mid-80’s Schwarzenegger film.

The lighting throughout the film was fantastic – airy here and there, dark, earthy, oppressive in others – perfectly setting the mood for each scene. What was a really poor choice was the music. At virtually every turn, I disagreed with the choice of music for the scene – it felt far too manipulative, epic and hollywood-y for the scale of the film, which felt intensely personal otherwise.

I’ve heard said that this film is everything AI should have been. In many ways, I think the opposite is more true. AI has stuck with me since the moment I saw it. Even with it’s unforgivable ending, it was such an incredibly disturbing film, with so many levels, with such a complete and grandiose vision of our dystopian future, that the film will stand the test of time far more than this one will. In many regards, Minority Report is just another action film, like any other sci-fi action film. And there’s nothing wrong with that – I like the genre a lot. But having believed the hype, I think I expected a little more from it than I got.