Minority Report
Grade: A
Year: 2002
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Philip K. Dick
Genre: Action
Rated: PG-13

Steven Spielberg proves once again, that he is the master of science fiction via another mind blowing movie that is a caliber above the George Lucas titles.

Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is one of the Department of Pre-Crime's top cops. With only a window of minutes, he is able to figure out where and when a murder is going to take place, track him down and make the arrest himself. All of this comes of course with a little help from a trio of three brilliant beings with the ability to see into the immediate future. They provide the names, and then a team of agents scramble to find the exact location of where the crime is going to take place, usually minutes before it happens. I’ll explain this process only a little more, later in the review.

Minority Report became this summer's highest anticipated film, as it is the first movie Tom Cruise partners up with the great Steven Spielberg, and it couldn't be any more clear why the movie world got so excited to see Cruise in action. You don't get that gorgeous smile, charming attitude or that mushy Jerry Maguire/Top Gun personality that we are all too familiar with, in Minority Report.

Although Minority Report stands out from Spielberg's earlier works, there are still some resemblances that you‘ll pick up on. Like in Artificial Intelligence, Spielberg treated us to the future, and how it is a dark and depressing time to live in. It’s the same concept in Minority Report. Billboard advertisements know you by name and remember the last time you bought a pair of GAP shorts, then recommend another GAP product for you to buy. Confidentiality is a term of the past as anybody can access to your private life with the ease of an eye scan. Look for other popular brand names such as Lexus, Aquafina and Pepsi to make Spielberg's idea of the future, possibly our next reality.

An additional eerie element of Minority Report is the number of modern looking environments. One moment Anderton is jumping magnetic cars that climb the walls of sky scrapers, and the next he is having coffee in an old fashion middle class house that would appear normal in today's time. With Minority Report taking place only fifty years from now, you can't help but wonder if this is the type of life our great-grandchildren will be living.

Minority Report is about a cop who captures murderers before they can actually commit the crime. After the "cogs" see the murder take place, the names of the victim and the killer are imprinted on a wooden ball that is picked up by the detectives. While working on his newest case, Anderton sees that the name on the ball of the killer is his own, and has to flee before his own colleges can arrest him. One of the lab workers even tells him that he’ll get a short head start before he sounds the alarm, a brilliant way for Spielberg to show us how liked and well-respected Anderton was on the force . While he is in hiding, Anderton must figure out who set him up, that is, if it is true he was set up at all.

While on the run, the movie reveals Anderton's background and the tragedy that has happened involving the kidnapping of his son, which leads to the divorcing of his wife. The occasional flashback sequences slowly fit the puzzle, the other pieces that we either don't see or get the explanation about from one of the characters.

Minority Report tackles the issues of error, even in a perfect system. The term “Minority Report” refers to the major loophole in the Pre-Crime department. The faulty measures of the system introduces the ethics of the film. Interest groups and politicians who know that there is a slight chance that the system isn’t perfect, will still push to have it nationally adopted by the rest of the country.

Spielberg successfully hits the nail on the head and drives home the issue of confidentiality. The day when you can't keep anything a secret from the government is the day you are miserable and the world becomes a depressing place to live in. While off duty and on his routinely jog, Anderton meets up with his drug supplier and sees that he has removed both of his eyes. Because the government, media and market can only identify you through an eye scan, those that fear big brother or those that are paranoid enough will have their eyes surgically removed.

The drug element is another aspect of Cruise we’re not too familiar with. Spielberg never revealed how taboo it was, for cops to be taking drugs during that time. We know it's illegal and it's a part of his life he keeps secret, but we don't know what would have happened if he got caught. He’s not a pretty boy this time. Even in the Mission Impossible films, you couldn’t get away from his trademark charm.

There are very few, if any flaws in Minority Report. Of course you can argue the physics of predicting into the future all day long, but I don’t think that the main plot was really the main focus at all. While the movie was about Anderton trying to figure out why he was labeled a future killer, it was mainly about life in a world without privacy.

In today’s time, law enforcement officers must obtain a search warrant to go into someone’s house. In Minority Report, they just simply send little robotic spiders to rummage through property and to find their suspects. In a scene where we see the robots in action, they find everyone in the house, and scan their eyes, regardless of what they were in the process of doing. (And I mean regardless)

When you think the movie is about to end, you will only find yourself twisting around the plot once more until it happens again and again. Minority Report could have been a little shorter, but Spielberg justifies the entire two and a half hours of solid performances, including a memorable sequence by Peter Stormare, who plays a street surgeon that removes and replaces retinas so his patients can obtain new identities.

Steven Spielberg is truly one of the all time greatest directors. We know he has produced some of the finest action, drama and war movies, now it is clear that he is the best when it comes to science fiction. Minority Report is simply a solid movie. There is no fluff (take notes Mr. Lucas) or sugar on top of the stunning visual effects, just one movie that set the pace early on this summer; one that was clearly hard for most to follow.

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© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. Contact Editor: Scott Spicciati