AI, Spielberg’s previous science fiction outing. Both films disappointed me in the theater, and I’d avoided both ever since. Despite these links, they’re actually very different films – almost mirror opposites.
Loosely based on a Philip K. Dick story, Minority Report follows the pre-crime unit, led by Tom Cruise (Cruise is not the kind of actor who disappears into a role, so his character’s name isn’t worth the time). In 2054, a team of three pre-cognitives have visions of future murders which can be recorded and replayed by the police, who then have to figure out the crime’s location and rush to stop it. This procedure has led to the end of homicides in the D.C. pilot program, but it is not without controversy, since it leads to people being convicted of crimes they don’t commit. When a Department of Justice representative (Colin Farrell) shows up to investigate, Cruise discovers some inconsistencies in a few of the precogs' visions. Then, when he is himself accused of a future murder; he has to go on the run, and in the process of investigating the murder he is destined to commit, he puts himself into the position of fulfilling the prophesy.
It’s a very exciting film with fantastic effects. There’s all sorts of fun near-future tech from Apple-influenced/influencing touch interfaces (RIP Steve Jobs) to vertical highways to jetpacks to eye-scanning spider robots. The chase scenes are fast-paced and well-filmed. And, there are some interesting questions about destiny and justice in play as well. A fun, fast-paced film with believable future tech and interesting speculative questions? I told you it was the anti-AI.
So, why did I have a problem with this film? A lot of my issues concern the film’s conclusion, so I can’t really get into them without spoilers, but I will say that I wanted this film to be about the ethics of precrime and/or the question of causality. However, a twist late in the film takes it in a different direction, and it becomes a more conventional mystery/thriller. There are a few efforts made to return to the central themes, but they’re buried, I think, by efforts to give the film a simpler conclusion.
In the theater, this bothered me a lot. It really ruined the whole film for me. This time, perhaps because I knew it was coming, I wasn’t bothered nearly as much. I was able to enjoy the ride, and have fun with one of the richest and most compelling future visuals since Blade Runner.