SF Movie Review: Minority Report

Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, came out in 2002.  The premise is that for the past six years, three psychics have been predicting any murders that would happen in the DC area, and the government set up a Precrime Division to go out and stop the murders before they happen.  Then, Tom Cruise is accused of a future murder of a man he’s never heard of.  He protests his innocence and flees. 

There are a lot of logic flaws in the movie.  First off, the "criminals" haven’t actually killed anyone, and instead of prison or any kind of rehabilitation, they’re put into a weird cryofreeze state.  No trial, no due process, no rights, nothing.  It’s… hard to swallow.  Also, they treat the psychics like crap and lie about it to the public.  Way to stay classy, law enforcement. 

A large portion of the film is Tom Cruise on the run from the law, and there are a lot of moments where they add in some false tension.  His auto-drive car gets taken over by the cops and they’re driving him back!  But he just kicks out the windshield (they’re made to pop out super easy, you know) and does some jumping and gets to safety.  He climbs over a wall and is attacked by LIVING VINES!  They are full of POISON!  Then he gets an antidote and is fine.  Then he has to get his eyes replaced because everyone in this society is constantly eyescanned for advertisements and stuff (creepy Big Brother style) and the eye replacement doctor is a guy who he locked up!  And he’s CRAZY!  And then he has to remove his bandages early to get scanned by CREEPY SPIDER ROBOTS!  But it all works out okay.  Cause taking off the bandages early and getting light flashed into his new eye doesn’t blind him at all. 

Colin Farrel is presented as his antagonist, until he figures out a key piece of information and is murdered.  Tom Cruise is framed for that, too.  And the character wasn’t even a bad guy.  He wanted Tom Cruise’s job, and well, Tom Cruise was on drugs because he couldn’t deal with his son’s death (ah, a fresh emotional motivation.. wait, no, nevermind) and so the guy was actually pretty justified.  But he wasn’t likable, because he was working against our protagonist. 

Then, they catch Tom Cruise because the real villain is a guy that he and his estranged wife trust.  But then his wife gets him out with no trouble at all, because she’s got one of his eyeballs (eeew) and they still haven’t bothered to remove his clearance (durrrr). 

I’m normally all about happy endings, but this one stretches my ability to really buy it.  He gets his wife back and they’re going to have another kid and everyone who got locked up under the precrime system gets pardoned and released.  Oh, and the bad guy conveniently kills himself, so there’s no mess there. 

Even with all of these problems, it wasn’t an unwatchable movie.  The acting wasn’t bad, they mystery elements of the plot do actually work, and the action scenes were pretty compelling, as long as you didn’t think about them too hard.  Really, the movie, as a whole, works fine until you start thinking about it.  So, if you want a fun SF thriller this is worth your time.  If you’re looking for something with depth, go for something else.  Overall, I’d give it 3/5.    

About Jamie

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking. You can find her online at www.jamielackey.com.

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