Minority Report: overrated, unrealistic

July 2nd, 2003

Minority Report Finally got around to seeing "Minority Report", I've had it on tape for a couple of months but never was in the mood to have a look at it. And I have to say I wasn't missing out on much. The vision of the future was somewhat interesting, the cars, the computer equipment, not to mention the advertising. Pretty much based on ideas scientists play around with these days I imagine.

I have a fundamental problem with the predicton of the future, it goes back to Greek mythology and the Oracle which made prophesies. It's been far too long since I read up on the subject, but there was a God to whom a son was born. The God went to the Oracle to hear about his son's future and learnt that his child would eventually kill him. He ordered for the son to be killed but he wasn't, he was adopted by a family. Then the son grew up to kill his father, the dictator, without knowing his relation to him. And that's a very superficial summary but the irony here is that hadn't the father gone to the Oracle and learnt the future, it wouldn't have been what it was. That's the core issue here, hearing the prophesy will alter the future from what it would be if you hadn't heard it. And "Minority Report" reiterates that concept in John's case, but not fully. John sees the future and learns he will kill a man whom he doesn't know. In the quest of learning what is supposed to happen and how, he fulfils the prophecy. Had he not known the prophecy, he would never made it happen. The man he doesn't know turns out to be the same who killed his son, and that almost drives him to kill, so far so good. But then he alters the future from what it's supposed to be. So here the author needs to make a choice, either the prophets do see the future or they don't. You cannot foretell the future and change its outcome both at the same time. The same goes for Lamar, but remember the case is not identical. Lamar hasn't been told he will kill John, but his mind is set on it. Meanwhile, the prophecy has been made and the future has been seen. And again, the prophecy is false, Lamar commits suicide. So what's it gonna be, do the cognitives actually see the future or don't they?

One way or another, I think there is a weak link between the whole futuristic aspect of this and the actual psychic proposition. What is so high tech about precrime? Not a thing. The whole concept is based on the fact that the cognitives have a gift of seeing the future, as in a God given talent, not science, they might as well live in the stoneage, there's nothing special about this day and age. And another thing, if this is 2050, we got retinal scanners in the subway, why are these men running around shooting 50-year-old guns? Doesn't it stand to reason that in 50 years we'll have far more sophisticated weapons, given the otherwise high technical advancement in the story? And what's with the crime scene around Danny's death? He's killed by Lamar in John's apartment and everyone just assumes John is guilty? If you got CSI and DNA evidence swingin' in 2003, how trivial must it then be to trace back the murder to Lamar 50 years down the road? And why doesn't John go blind? The eye doctor tells him about 100 times not to remove the bandaid prematurely, yet he does. Why doesn't he at least go blind on his left eye?

I guess the story is the weakest link and I'm a little surprised this picture got as much noise as it did. Well not by looking at the movie poster surely, Spielberg and Cruise. I certainly think Cruise was a little weak in this part, as regards Spielberg, I think the camera angles were poor on most occasions. Clearly one I could afford to miss.

I should mention the score is very poor, despite it being John Williams.


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