Even though Stacee Jaxx is still tattooed in our minds and Jack Reacher will beat his way into our brain pan before Jack Harper (Tom’s character in Oblivion) stands at the top of the mental movie heap, the release of the official Oblivion plot synopsis and the announcement of the composer selection—M83, a French electronic act— put us in a sci-fi kind of mood. Tom’s most significant work in this area—Minority Report and War of the Worlds— has been under the direction of cinema’s master of big-screen epics, Steven Spielberg. Science fiction may not make up a large portion of his filmography but when the genre calls, it calls in a big way.
With Oblivion a long way off (pun intended), we thought a visual stroll through Minority Report, with some key editorial help from Roger Ebert’s original review, would help assuage the anxious wait in front of us all.
Ebert was a big fan of the movie, taking special note of a number of “stunning sequences” that stay with the viewer long after the film ends. In this condensed review, he outlines the general plot.
“The year is 2054. Futuristic skyscrapers coexist with the famous Washington monuments and houses from the 19th century. (John) Anderton presides over an operation controlling three “Pre-Cogs,” precognitive humans who drift in a flotation tank, their brain waves tapped by computers. They’re able to pick up thoughts of premeditated murders and warn the cops, who swoop down and arrest the would-be perpetrators before the killings can take place.
The plot centers on a rare glitch in the visions of the Pre-Cogs. Although “the Pre-Cogs are never wrong,” we’re told, “sometimes … they disagree.” The dissenting Pre-Cog is said to have filed a minority report, and in the case of Anderton the report is crucial, because otherwise he seems a certain candidate for arrest as a pre-criminal. Of course, if you could outsmart the Pre-Cog system, you would have committed the perfect crime …
Finding himself the
hunted instead of the hunter, Anderton teams up with Agath (Samantha Morton), one of the Pre-Cogs, who seemed to be trying to warn him of his danger. Because she floats in a fluid tank, Agatha’s muscles are weakened . . . and Anderton has to half-drag her as they flee from the pre-crime police
The film is loosely based on a Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, and like Blade Runner, another Dick story, Minority Report achieves a brooding, edgy veneer. To go deeper into the story, watch the lengthy clip below. Not only does it establish the premise of the pre-cogs, but it highlights many of the gestural technologies that were created specifically for this movie (and written about here) and which are now finding their way into everyday life. Enjoy!
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