Friday, September 2, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #88: "Minority Report" (2002)

Movie Stats:
Released 2002 (USA)
American, in English (IMDB says there’s some Swedish. My subtitles said it was Russian. Sounded Russian to me as well. Whatever it was, it’s non-translated but unimportant to the plot.)
Director - Steven Spielberg
Stars - Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow, Samantha Morton

Plot Summary:
In the not-so-distant future, D.C. police are using people with psychic powers to stop crimes before they happen. When John Anderton (Cruise), chief of the pre-crime unit, is accused of a future murder, he goes on the run to prove his innocence. Farrell co-stars as federal agent Danny Witwer; von Sydow as Lamar Burgess, director of the pre-crime unit; and Morton as Agatha, one of the psychics.

Violence; gore; blue language; sexy times; drug use.

Bad Stuff:
It’s got a pretty slow start.

I wasn’t wowed by most of the acting. It wasn’t bad, but I came away feeling like any of those actors could’ve been replaced by anyone else and it would’ve been just as good. [SPOILER-y side note] And if you put Max von Sydow in the cast, I immediately know he’s the bad guy. That reveal was the furthest thing from a surprise. [SPOILER]

The soundtrack doesn’t fit AT ALL. It belongs in, say, an Indiana Jones movie, something with some amount of lightheartedness and fun. This film has neither of those things. I found the chase scene music especially puzzling. It took me completely out of the film.

Good Stuff:
I really liked the concept. I specifically liked the question it raised about the morality of arresting people for crimes they haven’t yet committed. Also, that it addressed that age-old dilemma of whether our fates are predetermined or if we have free will.

Most of the special effects have held up really well. I was quite surprised, given the age of the film.

It’s a pretty masterful blend of sci fi, action/adventure, and drama. I feel like it’s difficult for sci fi to hit the right note. Either it’s weird, or it’s wacky, or it’s boring, or it’s more horror than sci fi. This film avoided all of that. It was futuristic with a minimum of weirdness, it had plenty of action, no wackiness, and nothing lurking around any corners to jump out for a cheap scare. It was quite satisfying.

The Verdict:
Amongst my friends, it’s well known that I don’t like Tom Cruise. I’ve spent practically my whole life avoiding his movies, to the point where I haven’t seen most of his famous ones (including “Top Gun”). So I hadn’t seen this before, and I was frankly dreading it, although I figured I would probably like it in the end. I don’t think Cruise was terrible; I’d say he was serviceable. Actually, the only actor who stood out to me was Tim Blake Nelson, in a bit part as Gideon, the prison warden. But I liked almost everything else about it. It’s really a pretty good film.

I give it 3.75 stars.


Patricia said...

Tim Blake Nelson! Always reliable!

I have not seen this, due to the presence of Mr. Cruise (unlike you, I saw all of his movies up to the saturation point*, then no more). My mom really liked it, although reading your list of cast members, I see Mr. C. Farrell was present, so that always helps.

It seems like it has some good points to it. Perhaps when they remake it without Tom Cruise, I will watch it. :-)

*IMDB tells me the saturation point was Vanilla Sky in 2001, so I just barely missed this one. I probably would have seen Vanilla Sky regardless, due to Cameron Crowe directing. I wonder what will happen if Tom Cruise and Channing Tatum appear in the same film? Actually, I don't wonder, I know that Tatum means required Cruise watching.

balyien said...

Yes, when I had to make the choice between "watch that movie because Simon Pegg is in it or don't watch it because Tom Cruise is in it," Simon Pegg won. And that's why I've seen way more Mission Impossible movies than I care to think about.