Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 143: Minority Report (2002)

PG-13, 2 hr. 24 min.  Directed by: Steven Spielberg.  Release Date: June 21, 2002.  DVD Release Date: December 17, 2002.

For science fiction, the hardest part of making an effective story, be it on film or in print, is the suspension of disbelief.  The rational part of my brain rejects the very concept of putting precognitive human who foretell the future of violent crimes into slavery, and thus ending crime in the D.C. sprawl.  The rational part of my brain yawns and rolls its eyes at the thought of every city in the country finding MORE precognitive humans and doing the same thing.  The rational part of my brain goes into absolute REBELLION at the mere thought of being incarcerated for something you haven’t actually done yet.  And yet, somehow, the rational part of my brain never engages in this engaging piece of near-future sci-fi.   

What we have is a pretty slick piece of science fiction.  Once I abandon my rejections of the various irrational incidents that occur, I can’t find many problems.  The technology we witness is a semi-logical outgrowth of existing technology.  I’ve actually worked with a computer “virtual touch” monitor that worked with gloves to allow you to interface with various software systems in lieu of a traditional keyboard and mouse.  It wasn’t all clear with transferable inserts that let you exchange data more quickly than you can with modern thumb drives, but still.  The actions sequences are really nice, and the special effects help to make everything a little more effective.

I also like how the movie depicts America with two separate classes:  those who live in the sunlight and those who live below the tracks in those neighborhoods that are probably nice today.  There’s a bit of cultural commentary to be found:  some on the disparate tendencies of economic classes in the United States, some on the invasion of government into our personal lives, and some on the nature and impact of technologies that we use.  I’ll probably be alive to see this “time” happen, and I’m wondering how close they’ll come to predicting the truth (with the exception of the precognitives).  

But, my favorite thing is how tragic a hero John Anderton is.  He does what he does because he’s been wounded, and his entire life is an effort to make up for what happened to his son.  Anderton is terrifically flawed, and in the way of life, no one around him can see what he’s doing to escape his own pain.  It’s a very well-written character that is one among many in Minority Report.  
If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s probably time to check it out.  It’s a quick summer blockbuster.  There’s some stuff for the thinking man and some stuff for those looking for mindless entertainment.