Free Critical Thinking On Minority Report
Minority Report was directed by Steven Spielberg and was released in 2002. On first viewing the film, it’s plain to see what Spielberg was going for. He was trying to imagine the future of the world in the present. It’s apparent with his attention to set design and the look of his film of his sheer enjoyment of playing within an imaginary world full of toys. It’s been said that Spielberg use to make films using his toy trains to burst into flames on impact. But as the Joker said, ‘Where does he get those wonderful toys?’
Before delving into technology that is highlighted for the film, it’s important to note who Spielberg cast as his leading man and that’s Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise was at the height of his powers never losing a step with every film being a hit at the box office. This is around the time where Cruise was starting to explore the science fiction genre. The year prior, he starred in the psychological thriller Vanilla Sky. Though he was this larger than life movie star, he takes nothing away from ability as an actor. In a review of the film, “Tom Cruise's Anderton is an example of how a star's power can be used to add more dimension to a character than the screenplay might supply. He compels us to worry about him.” (Ebert, 2002). Acting as a foil to Tom Cruise is Colin Farrell. Farrell is perhaps one of the greatest supporting actors in the last 10 years. While there is no doubt about his talent, his inability to carry a film has always been held against him. He’s the opposite of Cruise in real and reel life. For the film, he acts as his moral compass and feistiness to search out the truth. Farrell’s ability and lack of star power is actually a plus point as he fits into the tapestry of Spielberg’s world.
There is a lot going on in the film. Take the technology which Spielberg loves to explore within the film. Take the scene where several characters are using this multi touch pad interface as they go through the visions that the three precogs just encountered. Then, it was this larger than life interface. Today’s it’s the IPAD and touch tablets. While it isn’t as ‘cool’ as it was in the film, it’s certainly on the path on making it a reality for the regular user. Another wonderful invention is the use of retina scanners that is employed to push the plot forward. It’s amazing that it was a wonderful that can be fully explored on film but this was in 2002. In airports today, it’s used coupled with finger print scanning to identify people who are flying across the world. It’s even used by major corporations to prevent fraud and corporate espionage. To say that Spielberg came up with these ideas by himself would be a fallacy. It’s quite apparent that he consulted a number of technical scientists, inventors and perhaps his own research over the years. It’s also important to remember that Spielberg is the founder of the modern blockbuster with hits like Jaws, the Indiana Jones films, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park and A.I. .
In terms of production design, the film was astounding with its blending of the current with the modern. Considering the film is understandably a detective noir film with a sci-fi thriller, the design adds to that intrigue. Its use of spiral stair cases within a large building or the multi user interface gives the holistic feel with the cinematography adding this bleaching filter effect which is prominent pushing the film noir effect to the hilt. Alex Mcdowell in an interview with denofgeek.com says, “It was a very important film for me because it really changed the way we worked. An accidental collision of time, technology and opportunity” (Brew, 2010). The design adds to the themes of the film of what is real and what is not. For instance, take the concept of precogs. When they have a vision, it comes on the screen for police forces to apprehend the criminal before he commits the crime. In essence, it’s a film within a film. By design, Spielberg manages to explore ideas of civil liberties, concepts of truth and deception as well as morality of incarcerating a human being for having a thought. With the Spiral stairways going round and round and old architecture blending with modern digital technology, it’s a testament to those themes. Are human beings willing to give up their free will with a dependence on microchips that makes decisions based on chance and not certainty? Minority Report will go down in history as the film that changed the science fiction genre for the better with stories that explored the soul and heart of the human psyche.
The promotion of the film was a wonder by itself. Spielberg is known for keeping the plots of the film close to his chest. Considering the film is a mystery thriller of the detective genre that is even more apparent. Take the main poster for the film which has Cruise in it. He has a bandage across his eye with only his right eye exposed. He appears disheveled and bloody. The copy that reads below at the bottom of the poster is ‘everyone runs.’ This is a wonderful marketing technique. It’s important to keep in mind that Cruise is a movie star and he was probably the biggest at that time. To see a clean cut star being presented like that on the poster is sure to put butts in the seats. The trailer is even more telling as the first word that is uttered is murder by the precog. That is sure to catch anyone’s attention. There are several action scenes with hints of corruption within the system that to everyone works. Editing a trailer with action and chase scenes is very important as it stands as a summer blockbuster film. The truth of the matter is that the film betrays the trust of the audience. It relies on highlighting the cheap action thrills betraying its science fiction truths. Like the film itself, it tries to cover up this fact. In its own way, it’s blending the truth to its own will. That being said, the movie business was never meant to be an honest one. With the tag line of ‘everyone runs’, it’s marketed as a run of the mill chase film with Tom Cruise in the lead role. But when a studio markets a film, the idea is to get people to come in and watch the film in a futuristic world. Boring them with themes of unlawful incarceration, subversion of the truth and loss of civil liberties is not something a movie studio can fit in a trailer. They will always take the easy way out and hope that word of mouth makes the film a success.
The film was a hit with both critics and audiences alike. Made on a budget of over a 100 million, it was a success making 358 million dollars worldwide. Critics praised the film with its thought provoking and visceral premise. In the science fiction genre, it will always stand apart from the rest with its blending of genres and exploration of various themes.
"Box Office Mojo." Box Office Mojo. Accessed March 30, 2015. http://www.boxofficemojo.com.
Brew, Simon. "Alex McDowell Interview: Designing Minority Report." Den of Geek. May 12, 2010. Accessed March 30, 2015. http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/15773/alex-mcdowell-interview-designing-minority-report.
Ebert, Roger. "Minority Report Movie Review & Film Summary (2002) | Roger Ebert." All Content. June 21, 2002. Accessed March 30, 2015. http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/minority-report-2002.
IMDb. Accessed March 30, 2015. http://www.imdb.com.
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