MORIARTY Embraces LILO & STITCH And Issues His MORI... Er, MINORITY REPORT!!
Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
All the hubbub about these two films at the start of the week so far has been about which one is really number one at the box-office.
And honestly... who cares?
I am constantly delighted that no one expects box-office analysis from me. I consider it about as interesting as discussing insurance policies or tax law. Going into this weekend, all I knew is that I wanted to see both films equally, and that I hoped both were good.
Now, early Tuesday morning, I’ve finally seen them, my viewings bookending the last few days for me, and as I reflect, I find that I’m surprised by my reactions. Once again, I am reminded that a script is just a script, and good intentions mean nothing when it comes to the end result in movies. Until something is locked and shipped to theaters, it is a work in progress, and anything can happen.
On Friday night, I picked my girlfriend up from work and took her straight over to the Galleria for a bite to eat and a movie. Didn’t really matter what. I knew they’d be playing something I hadn’t seen yet, so we just picked based on what was starting when. LILO & STITCH... 8:05... perfect. We found ourselves in a little tiny theater tucked all the way back in the inner recesses of the Galleria’s 300-plex.
I’ll be honest. Disney stopped mattering to me a long time ago. I think they do technically beautiful work, but it’s all become so plastic and so uninspired that it just doesn’t mean anything to me as a viewer. I remember how exciting it was in the early ‘90s to go to the El Capitan when BEAUTY & THE BEAST opened or ALADDIN or THE LION KING. People were excited to see each new picture. People were talking about Academy Awards for these films. And now, the standard seems to be amiable but uninspired films like THE EMPEROR’S NEW GROOVE or ATLANTIS.
I must be a sucker for the “kid-gets-friend-from-somewhere-else” story because I keep falling for it. I was 12 when E.T. came out, and I remember seeing it over and over that summer with various friends and family. I am still a great admirer of William Dear’s charming HARRY AND THE HENDERSONS, due in large part to just how remarkable Rick Baker’s work was in the film, and how well John Lithgow played off of it. My feelings for Brad Bird’s powerful IRON GIANT are no secret; I was one of the film’s earliest and most vocal cheerleaders. As a result, it should be no shock to anyone that I thought LILO & STITCH was a vast improvement on the fare that the House of Mouse has been offering as of late, and a pretty wonderful all-audiences film overall.
I was convinced by the end of the opening sequence, in which Experiment 626 is revealed in front of a meeting of the High Galactic Council. When was the last time ANY Disney film had a sentence that cool at the start of a story summary? The design of the film walks a fine line between cute/funny and science fiction, but with soft-edged watercolor backgrounds, and the result is visually appealing in a way that I thought Disney had forgotten how to do. It’s easy to just get lost looking at the detail in the film, the characters at the edge of the frame. There’s wit to spare on display here. I loved the way the creator of Experiment 626 looked with his freaky spider eyes, and when the Experiment is brought in front of the council and revealed to be a strange blue koala bear looking thing, it’s both a laugh and a challenge. How can something this innocuous be a dangerous menace, a genetically designed super-weapon intended to do one thing only: destroy? Still, it scares the council enough to order it to be sent into permanent exile on a rock where no one else lives. The creature does what it’s supposed to do, though, and manages to not only escape but also disable the council’s chase ships and steal a personal space cruiser which it uses to flee to a planet nearby.
That, of course, would be Earth.
The opening credits finally start here, after the long and dizzying prologue, and you’ll know right away if this film is for you. Alan Silvestri’s Hawaiian-influenced songs for the film and seas of colorful fish set a mood, a time and a place, in a few dazzling images.
And on the beach we meet Lilo (voiced by Daveigh Chase), a round-bodied little Hawaiian girl, who is late for something. In animation, design is everything. If you can make a character visually appealing, you’ve done half the work for the audience. Lilo’s got Calvin’s wide triangular smile, Charlie Brown’s giant beach ball head, and a pudgy little frame that should win special awards just for promoting a positive self-image. She doesn’t look like the typical Disney hero or heroine. Her skin’s too dark. Her legs are too short. She’s not glamourous, and no one would ever mistake her for a princess. Beyond that, she’s got emotional problems. She goes to a rehearsal for a dance recital and ends up starting a fight, punching another little girl in the face and actually biting her. She gives her sister Nani (voiced by Tia Carrere) fits with her obstinance and her violent outbursts, and Nani is afraid that she’s going to lose Lilo to the social services system, especially when she meets Mr. Bubbles (Ving Rhames), who gives her a day to work things out, or at least show that she has a plan.
One of the things that Nani can’t help but react to is Lilo’s extreme loneliness. She doesn’t get along with other kids her age, and since the death of their parents in a car accident, Nani’s too busy working to spend any time with Lilo. Nani takes her to get a pet, and that’s where Lilo meets “Stitch,” as she names Experiment 626, who is desperate to find some safe place to hide. He figures he’ll just use the kid for a while, then move on when he can. He’s designed for urban destruction, though, and there are no major cities on the island where they are, so he finds himself stymied. He can’t do what he was built to do. This forces him to look inside himself to figure out what to do instead. And once he’s done that, Stitch begins to change in ways that no one... not the Galactic High Council, not his “evil genius” creator, and not even Stitch himself... could have guessed.
The audience, on the other hand, has a pretty good idea where this is going, so don’t expect to be surprised by some innovative turn of the story here. This isn’t that kind of film. Instead, it’s all about the process of figuring out that you need someone in your life. Stitch’s transformation is believably etched, and aside from one bit of dialogue repeated about two too many times, never heavy-handed.
I also have to give special thanks to whoever cast Kevin McDonald, KIDS IN THE HALL veteran, to voice one of the aliens sent to retrieve Stitch. I can’t get enough of McDonald, and he doesn’t work the way he should, so finding out he was in this as the film progressed just pushed me into delight overload. The use of the Elvis Presley music throughout is much more enjoyable than it originally sounded to me, and the choice of “Devil In Disguise” and “Suspicious Minds” indicates some taste on the part of the filmmakers. Hats off to Dean Deblois and Chris Sanders and their entire crew. I don’t think this will ever be thought of as one of Disney’s “significant” films, and that’s a real shame, because for the first time in a long time, they seem to have made an entertaining animated feature that feels effortless, and that alone makes it significant. Let’s hope they learn from this one and that TREASURE PLANET can live up to its stunningly beautiful trailer.
Now... I’ve gotten a lot of mail about MINORITY REPORT over the last few days, and I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I thought the film was as good as the script. They’re such different beasts, though, that I’m going to try to avoid playing the game about “Well, in the script, they did it THIS way.” It’s not fair, since that’s not the way most people saw the film. When I walked into the 10:15 late show on Monday night, I had no baggage with me. Not Harry’s negative review. Not Ebert’s glowing review. I didn’t take in anything except the desire to see what Spielberg and Cruise were up to, and the hope that it was good.
And, for most of the film’s running time, it is good. There are flashes of the old Spielberg here, but wrapped in a new more complicated aesthetic, and I enjoyed that. He can never go back to making movies the way he did during the days of JAWS or CLOSE ENCOUNTERS or RAIDERS, and it’s not because he’s a “sell-out” or a “hack” or any of the woefully ignorant terms that our Talk Backers use. It’s because he’s simply not that person anymore. He’s like a shark, always pushing forward, always moving, and I admire that about him. Many of his peers have fallen stagnant as artists as they’ve gotten older, but Spielberg doesn’t seem content. He always seems to have something to prove, if only to himself.
Spielberg is working with a remarkable collaborative team here, headed up by production designer Alex McDowell, whose work on this, FIGHT CLUB, FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, and THE CROW makes him not only one of the best in the business, but also an intriguing choice for next year’s CAT IN THE HAT. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski continues to help Spielberg redefine his style with each new picture, and however they decided to shoot in 2.35:1 this time, I wish it would happen more often. I love Spielberg’s eye in scope, and I realized as I watched this just how much I’ve missed it since he quit making Indiana Jones movies. Michael Kahn’s editing is, as always, crisp and exciting. He gives Spielberg’s movies a distinct pulse. Many people wrote to tell me that I was an idiot because I complained about Danny Elfman’s SPIDER-MAN score this summer. “Not every score has to have a big theme!” they said, and they’re right. I still think Elfman’s score was recycled wallpaper, but John Williams contributes a score to this film that doesn’t have any big memorable themes, but that provides solid support to every sequence, doing its job without ever distracting. It is a great underscore, and proof that Williams doesn’t have to just rely on bombast to elicit a response.
But all of what I’m talking about so far is the icing on the cake. It’s gravy. It’s extra, the sort of thing that we have come to expect from Spielberg. I would be shocked if his collaborators hadn’t all come to the table with such exceptional contributions. This is really a two-person show. Tom Cruise has to carry us emotionally through the story, and Spielberg is the one who has to get us to not only suspend our disbelief, but engage our hearts and minds in equal measure. No small feat, that, especially when dealing with a truly bizarre concept like Philip K. Dick’s. Scott Frank’s script struck a smart, consistent tone that gave room for both dark humor and emotional annihilation. It was a challenge, a dare to Spielberg, and so much of this movie is made up of Spielberg trying to rise to that challenge that I want to just brush aside my nitpicks and say, “Great job” and move on.
I want to...
... but I can’t.
Perhaps I need to reset my expectations for Spielberg now. Perhaps I have to learn to expect flawed films of enormous ambition that are technically accomplished on a level that most filmmakers can only hope to achieve. Both A.I. and MINORITY REPORT have left me sputtering in frustration at the end now, although I think MINORITY REPORT comes closer to working as a whole. And I’m not of the school of mind that says “Lop off the last 20 minutes and it’s a masterpiece” that seems to have developed around the two films, since I think they both go where they need to structurally. They work when you break them down to ideas and theories, but it’s in the execution that I find myself simply numb. They don’t connect with me in any sort of significant way, and I am near-manic about that sense of being stroked without any release. It makes me crazy. And much of it boils down to a tonal difference of opinion. There’s a tone that this material suggests that Spielberg seems to only occasionally settle into here, and the slapstick nonsense with bouncing eyeballs and the wacky cartoon grotesquerie of Peter Stormare’s snot-machine of a doctor and his ass-grabbing mole-faced nurse and the way he tosses aside some of the better notions here unexplored all ends up rubbing me the wrong way as I watch it unfold.
Is it remarkably different from the script? No... not really. There are things that I didn’t really notice on the page that seem more evident on the bigscreen, like the almost pointless nature of the business with the eyes. If he’s going to have his changed, then why use his to get into the Temple? That’s one of those glaring things that can pull you out of a film as you wrestle with the logic of it. Yes, he would need his because of security clearances, but why weren’t his clearances yanked when he was accused of murder? His car turns against him, so it’s obvious PreCrime can get into the system and alert it to Anderton’s new status. All I can figure is that the guilty party wanted him to be able to waltz in and out of PreCrime, that he wanted Anderton to keep people distracted while PreCrime was being voted on. But that explanation isn’t in the movie, so it becomes a distraction.
I like that people are arguing about whether or not the Leo Crow situation would count as “premeditation.” I think it would, considering how the real murderer worked to set Anderton up. There was obviously thought and malice behind those actions, and that’s what the precogs picked up.
I just wish Spielberg had given us more to argue about. A film like this should force to walk outside with your friends and start debating what certain things meant and what was real and what happened. Much of this film plays like an homage to BRAZIL, with the police figures crashing through skylights and sliding down cables and the way justice and punishment have become slippery, morally questionable things. If Spielberg could have found a way as a director to force us to question all of act three, everything after Cruise is put in the halo, then he could have left people debating the ambiguity of the thing forever. Instead, he works very hard to wrap it up and put a bow on it at the end, something I wouldn’t have minded if he could have at least just left the final line of dialogue.
The following is a SPOILER, so don’t read it if you haven’t seen the movie yet:
The film ends with shots of the PreCrime division, now closed down, and the empty precog tanks and Cruise with his wife, now pregnant, and then finally the precogs, alone on an island, where no one is around, and where they are free of the visions of murder. Over all of this, Cruise talks about how the division was closed down and everyone was given an unconditional pardon, although police departments kept a close eye on some of the released for years afterwards, and how the precogs found a place for some peace. As the camera starts to pull back, there was one final line that Spielberg cut just before the film started screening for critics: “The following year, there were 161 murders in the District of Columbia.” To me, that line alone redeems much of the “happy” ending, forcing you to think about what is good and what is bad, and what is acceptable if we want a world without fear. It refuses to let the viewer of the hook. Cutting it says volumes to me about how Spielberg views his audience. He loves you. He’s afraid to hurt you. He desperately wants to avoid leaving you unhappy as you head for the theater doors. And I can respect that. I just wish that sometimes he’d realize that we sign up for darker rides, and that we’re prepared to forgive him for taking us someplace painful as long as he does it with the same skill as he’s always shown us the light.
The performances in the film range from good to very good, and I think Colin Farrell (as Danny Witwer, not Ed, as people keep mystifyingly calling him in reviews) is on the very good side of things. He and Max Von Sydow provide valuable support to Cruise in the film, and looking at Von Sydow now just confirms how much of a genius Dick Smith was when he did THE EXORCIST. Von Sydow has finally become Father Merrin completely. With Cruise, the verdict is a little more mixed. There are places here where I think he’s very good, and I do feel for Anderton in the film’s first half. I think Cruise finds a way to play both detached and destroyed at the same time, and it’s effective. As the film goes on though, we don’t see him shake off the fog that Anderton lives in. Instead, he simply is Tom Cruise in one moment, the broken and troubled Anderton in the next. It’s inconsistent work, and a bit of a surprise. I actually consider Cruise a very good actor for a movie star, and he’s normally so sharp about how to build a performance. Here, he’s all over the map, and part of that seems to be a desire to match Spielberg’s radical shifts in tone. It doesn’t work, though, and the result is that by the end, I wasn’t rooting for Anderton anymore. I wasn’t caught up in his guilt or his innocence. Instead, I was more interested in his supporting cast, never a good thing.
One last thing... I’ve heard people complaining about the “product placement” in the film. Good. It means you notice it. But it’s not product placement for the purpose of selling you anything, and that’s where Spielberg got subversive. He got Nokia and Lexus and Pepsi to all pony up and plaster their logos all over his film, never realizing that he was making a movie that is, in part, about how invasive consumer culture is already becoming, and how much worse it’s going to get. That scene where all the ads are calling his name as he walks between them is my personal nightmare. I crave anonymity when I am out in public, and I hate being marketed to directly. Phone solicitors, spam e-mail, good ol’ fashioned junk mail... it all offends me. The idea that companies are going to get more aggressive about how they sell us what they sell us and how they keep track of what we bought is as terrifying to me as any other concept in the film, and if you can’t see this film as a warning about that, then maybe the steady stream of commercials has already dulled you too much.
So is this a positive or a negative review? Neither. It’s mixed. I am glad I saw the film, and there are things in it to like. I was not satisfied, and I do have my gripes. In the end, I think you’ll have a very personal reaction to the picture, and that’s why I would suggest you see it. You may love it, or you may hate it, but you will not walk away unmoved. For that reason alone, MINORITY REPORT stands out in a summer movie season. Ambition counts, and this movie has it in spades.
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June 25, 2002, 7:50 p.m. CST
That is all. Too bad Mori and Harry didn't like this great movie.
June 25, 2002, 8:02 p.m. CST
by the barking dog
Geez, sometimes I feel like the only geek in the universe who liked THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE. Sure, it's not as self-important as THE LION KING, and it doesn't have Robin Williams' manic energy going for it, but hey, put all the baggage of years of Disney history aside, and you have one hell of a fun and funny movie. I'll take it over anything else in the Disney catalog any day.
June 25, 2002, 8:04 p.m. CST
if you didn't notice, kevin is the voice of one of the Tallest on invader zim.
June 25, 2002, 8:12 p.m. CST
I just wished for a much stronger and graceful resolution. Technically marvelous with a lot of great ideas that were well executed, but the way the storyline ends just doesn't feel very satisfying or provocative. Still, light years better than Spiderman and more admirable than AotC. Best of the year, so far, but that's not saying much at all. I think the best is yet to come.
June 25, 2002, 8:13 p.m. CST
June 25, 2002, 8:17 p.m. CST
Spoilers: > > > > > > > I STILL think the ending could have been a dream. It's the ONLY way this movie really would work for me. The ending is unapologetically too happy, and too much of a ripoff of the Fugitive's ending. That exposition at the end DOESN'T belong otherwise, IMHO. Hell, the warden even makes some remarks that SUGGESTS Anderton is dreaming the whole thing near the end. He says your whole life will flash before your eyes and your wildest dreams might come true. I'm just hoping this is a possibility, because that ending otherwise REALLY sucks, and Minority Report ends up being an EXTREMELY overrated movie. I don't know otherwise how critics could call this movie so amazing when the whodunit aspect is so mundane, the ending is extremly cliched, and there are a TON of plot holes/plot contrivances. > > > > > > End spoilers I think Spielberg's a good director, but a great one? No, not if the ending isn't as ambiguous as I think it is. I forgave him for AI, but for Minority Report, I expected a certain level of darkness that just seems to pop up every once in a while and is completely invalidated with that terrible ending.
June 25, 2002, 8:19 p.m. CST
While a bit more mixed than my thoughts on the film (overall, I really enjoyed it, but it's far from great) I am very much assured you can write far more insightful revies than Harry. I've always liked your opinions more, because they seem very even handed. Good job, mori.
June 25, 2002, 8:23 p.m. CST
by Almost Sexy
It was quite good. I really don't see the big deal about Lilo and Stitch. Just not that good. Not bad, but not really memorable. Better than Atlantis for sure, but not better than Emperor's New Groove. I wish they'd cut out all the space parts. Heck they could have even cut out stitch. I liked the relationship with the sisters, and Stitch had some good bits, but all the outer space stuff just seemed really unnecessary (even though it's a crucial part of the story). Great animation though. And what was with that dogfight ending? Just seemed wierd to me. I thought Minority Report was really good though, so it just goes to show you.
June 25, 2002, 8:25 p.m. CST
If both AI and MR are good for something, it is the seamless CGI and non-CGI. Spielberg is onto something with all his talk about the grain and molecules in regular old fim. Digital just ain't ready yet.
June 25, 2002, 8:31 p.m. CST
MORIAIRTY U KICK ASS!!!!!
June 25, 2002, 8:41 p.m. CST
I've been thinking about this for a long time, and I'm going to venture that Steven Spielberg is the greatest director of his generation, and maybe even of all time. I know that's a stretch, but bear with me. He's not my favorite, he doesn't crack my top 20 favorite directors, but I think based on his body of work, his consistency both creatively and financially, and just how much this man has contributed to popular culture proves that he is the best. The fact that he continues to grow and evolve as a great popcorn artist who occassionally throws some very powerful stuff in the mix is a testament to that. I may be wrong, but he is a great showman and a great storyteller whose films appeal to damn near everyone. Like I said, he isn't my favorite - that spot goes to Billy Wilder (Truffaut and Hawks complete my holy trinity) - but all-in-all, pound-for-pound, Spielberg is the current master of entertainment. For better or for worse, his contributions have determined the course of mainstream filmmaking from both a creative and business outlook. Eight times out of ten he doesn't make anything even an amateur cineaste would call art, but his influence is too huge to deny. I don't like it, but I'll give it to Spielberg that he is the best. That argument is really too sound, but it makes sense to me. As for his last two efforts, I thought that A.I's ending was the best part of the movie - and that it was the middle part of the movie, specifically the Flesh Fair, that detracted from everything. Minority Report's finale was too clean and too happy, and I never even considered that it could be Anderton's dream until someone posted it here. That makes sense as there are quite a few leaps in logic, time and character placement. I was hoping that as soon as Anderton was loaded into detention the movie would end, but perhaps like A.I, it's ending is ambiguous enough to satisfy both people who want a generic happy ending and those who want more if they know where to look. I loved A.I's end because it was so cold - hollow, sad and artificial, and I loved how people construed it as happy. That's what I dug about A.I, and that's what I'm finding myself digging about Minority Report - it gets deep if you want to go there, but if you don't - don't, pay your money, get some thrills, get some jumps, get some SFX, get Tom Cruise chasing his errant eyeballs down a hallway and go home happy. A lot of Spielberg's more popcornish movies are somewhat bitter-sweet Close Encounters, E.T, Hook all end strangely. And off Spielberg-topic, The Emperor's New Groove was the best Disney flick in a long time. I'm sure my appreciation of this, in addition to my admiration of A.I's end will, to some, discredit whatever other claim I've made but I laughed harder at The Emperor's New Groove than I did at any other comedy of that year. I saw it in theaters late in it's run and there were quite a few kids and their parents and a lot of the jokes really went over the kids heads. It was zany and irreverant without pandering any, it had a heart without being sentimental, none of the characters sang and Patrick Warburton's and Eartha Kitt were pretty hilarious.
June 25, 2002, 8:42 p.m. CST
he should be in everything all the time.
June 25, 2002, 8:46 p.m. CST
Plagerism is the ulitmate form of flatterly, but give credit where credit is due, McWeeny. The comparison to Brazil was brought up by an astute talkbacker in Harry's review and he even mentioned the "halo theory." I, and a few others, thought the idea sort of jived. Obviously, Moriarity thought so also. I'm not saying that the man didn't notice the similarities on his own, because the distopian setting doesn't hide them very well. I am saying, however, that it's NEVER COOL to EVER take somebody's writing/ideas and pass them off as your own. As a screenwriter, I'm sure he's aware of that... Let that be a lesson to us all. Seeing as how I've mentioned the older talkback, I still think my "tweaking" of the screenplay's third act (see Harry's negative talkback), would have subtley changed the film for the better. A more focused ending was needed and a few subtle changes during the (real) climax could have accomplished that. The key is subtlety. I didn't want to compromise the already established, and foreboding revelation as to "who done it," but I think it could have worked better if the "child molesting kidnapper" was actually that. If you have some time... check it out... I wrote it rather incoherently because it was time for beddy... Oh well... This is TOTALLY OFF-TOPIC, but is anybody else secretly rooting for "REIGN OF FIRE?" I don't know what it is about that film that gets my blood flowing. Possibly the good, old-fashioned testosterone filled thriller aspect. Or maybe, it's because Rob Bowman and his low budget (considering what they've shown us onscreen so far) deserve some success. Whatever it is... I hope reign of fire is the sleeper hit of the summer. Do you?
June 25, 2002, 8:48 p.m. CST
First things first: Barking Dog, I liked "Emperor's New Groove" too. Maybe people don't care for Spade...who knows. I'm not crazy about him, but I like him as a llama. And Moriarty, thanks for putting a little more balance on this arguement...your comments synch up with my opinion (although I think I was more disappointed in MR than you were,) and it's nice to see someone agrees with me (or I agree with someone, or...whatever.) I was unaware of the final line that was cut from the film, but now that I am, I'm somehow even MORE annoyed at Spielberg for dropping the ball on this one. And drop the ball he did, because the film is friggin' great until the (cough cough) SLAPSTICK starts. And I know you don't think he should, but Spielberg needs to go back to making movies, instead of films. I'm not advocating artistic stagnation, but he just can't seem to get a handle on this "depth" thing. Oh, and by the way, are the "sick sticks" in the original PKD story? I thought they were simply stun guns, and the guy hurled because Cruise hit his neck, triggering his gag reflex. But no, I guess they were DESIGNED to make people do that...which is ONE OF THE MOST IDIOTIC THINGS I'VE EVER HEARD OF. I really, really hope PKD didn't come up with that, or if he did, that he had some good reason in the original story that missed the transition to the screen. I mean, what concievable reason would anyone, outside of purely sadism, have for making another person make an incredible mess by puking all over everything?
June 25, 2002, 8:56 p.m. CST
by Blue Devil
Spielberg is acting too much like a producer in his films. I can spot a studio set like a sore thumb and Spielberg is using them like crazy lately. He needs to make his sets feel more "real", even if it is at a loss to time efficiency. Also, Spielberg's composition of the frame was awfully boring in this flick. Barely any extreme angles or tension within the frame. Spielberg peaked artistically with "Private Ryan" and it's been downhill since. Also, I felt Spielberg's vision of the future was to contrived. You notice that there were no wide shots of the future world? Instead, the only time we got any glimpses of the future were, again, when the film was within a set. ie. The car plant that looks normal from the inside but within, ta dah, all this tech. You notice how we never saw any cars driving around in the film? Those cars were contained strictly within the all CGI shots. The cops got these ships to fly around in, but no one else? I just was not impressed. Also, Moriarity, on a side note, I remember how you mentioned that Daredevil's suit, when properly lit, would look much better on film. Well, I saw the trailer in the theater and DD's suit still looks terrible as hell.
June 25, 2002, 9:02 p.m. CST
As usual, Moriarty's critique is lucid and honest -- refusing to be swayed by hype, for good or ill. I wholeheartedly agree with his assesment of Minority Report, and as I watched the film with diminishing enthusiasm, I couldn't help but be baffled by the amount of critical praise heaped upon Spielberg's latest opus. It was the converse of my feelings when I watched Attack of the Clones: yeah, the film had problems, but in no way did it deserve to be as critically savaged as it was. It's as if critics -- who may have been relatively kind to Phantom Menace, at first -- were so blindsided by how disappointing Episode I ultimately was that they had their quills sharpened for Episode II, no matter how much of an improvement the film was (and it most certainly was). But for Spielberg's latest, the critics seemed predisposed to rave about Minority Report. Of course, the cinematic worth of any of these films is debatable -- but the wildly different receptions of Clones and Minority are evidence of a strange, communal fickleness among "professional critics" that is baffling -- and sometimes, even maddening.
June 25, 2002, 9:04 p.m. CST
is my hero. When at the start of the movie, they give him the chance to speak in his defense and whatever he says is so repulsive that everyone in the council acts (you're halfway through this sentence, don;t give up now, you're just getting to the funny bit) horrified and shocked like he said something perhaps involving beastiality and scatplay, and that robot council member pukes nuts and bolts and stuff, well I laughed my fucking ass off. I wasn't raging so much then.
June 25, 2002, 9:06 p.m. CST
Basically it's a Disney version of Iron Giant - the whole you are who you choose to be, healing power of family thing. Of course, the treacle is laid on pretty thick - it is Disney - but this time they temper it with lots of Warner Bros. style slapstick, as well as replacing the Elton Sting soundtrack with Elvis and Hawaiian tunes, which makes for an interesting texture. It's still mainstream Disney, but fresher and riskier than anything they've done in years - if only they could have spared the hammer-hard didactic tone, it could have been a classic. Still, it's a fun family movie, and far more side-splitting that I expected.
June 25, 2002, 9:07 p.m. CST
I saw both films yesterday and I couldn't believe how much enjoyed them. LILO & STITCH was so funny and entertaining, I think I was having more fun than the children in the theater (I'm 24 years old but I'm more of a big kid than anyone else my own age. The promos would have you belive that Stitch is the star of the show... but I think Lilo owns the movie! She's the most adorable character to ever grace a Disney flick (she's cute, she's complicated and she loves Elvis), Stitch is a close second though. As for MINORITY REPORT, I thought it had a slow first half that I couldn't stand but it got rolling once Cruise went on the run from the PreCrime division. The ending was perfect for the movie and I truly believe that Tom Cruise gave his best performance since Magnolia (the scene where he finally confronts Crow was excellent).
June 25, 2002, 9:17 p.m. CST
I don't buy the whole "it was a dream" thing, unless this thing has even MORE plot holes than it did originally. If it was all in Cruise's head, why would he be bald? (They shaved his head AFTER they put the halo on.) How would he know all the pertinent details of who REALLY did it? He wouldn't...his wife would have to fill him in. Why am I bothering? Dunno...
June 25, 2002, 9:20 p.m. CST
Most Spielberg films are uneven. They either start great and end badly or they have great moments here and there but not as a whole. His last two films are perfect examples. It's nothing new, really. As for Lilo & Stitch, well, I can't wait to see it, for obvious reasons. Arf!
June 25, 2002, 9:31 p.m. CST
Dear moriarty. Thanks for telling us the last line in the script. I liked Minority Report but that last line woulda blown me out the back of the fuckin theater, as they say, because it would be so unexpected and demanding of thought. That said, I gotta say I almost forgive Spielberg for cutting the balls off of his movie at the last minute, considering the political climate. What kind of a jackass would you feel like if, right now, you made a movie that could easily be read as a defense of The John Ashcroft Constitution Massacre which has been taking place in our country since September? And who knows, by the time Minority Report comes out on dvd this country might be looking a little less american and a little more nazi germany. And that could be embarassing. If I were Spielberg I would be terrified of people reading the movie that way. BUT, leaving that chance would've made it a perfect ending. p.s. But maybe we're asking him to be LESS SUBTLE by being MORE AMBIGUOUS. I mean, it is already clear in the movie that having Pre-Crime makes the world safer, while imprisoning people who shouldn't be. It is already ambiguous. That's what I liked about the movie was that it didn't stack the deck for you. There are arguments for both sides.
June 25, 2002, 9:56 p.m. CST
But seriously...Speilberg is the MAN. MR was thought provoking as much as it rocked. That whole controversy about the ending is a non issue. To me it was classic Spielberg. You dont need it spelled out that murders exploded in DC after Pre Crime was disbanded. Thats a GIVEN. DUH! Stating it would have been too obvious and all..."LOOK, I'm MAKING a POINT". The audience got the point. The point was PRE CRIME is BAD...because it takes away our civil liberties...and that the system wasnt fullproof...because people have free will. I thought the ending confrontation with Tom Cruise and Max Von Sydow was brilliant. If he killed Anderton...it would prove Pre Crime worked...but his life would be destroyed...and if he didn't kill him...it would prove that Pre Crime was fallable, that people had a "choice" and Pre Crime would be history. AWESOME. So we didnt need that ominous...overly ironic "161 people were murdered in DC" line. I liked the hopeful ending without the line. The message of the film was that PRE CRIME is bad...and I applaud Steven for sticking to his guns and emphasizing his belief. There is violence in the world...we all want it to stop...but how far would you go? Its Speilbergs belief...and mine too...that Pre Crime IS too far. This film HAD a message...stated it well...and was damn entertaining. :)
June 25, 2002, 9:57 p.m. CST
I would rather castrate myself with a meat cleaver than see LILO AND STITCH,and I love Disney's animated films. I was deeply hurt by the trailers; people keep telling me they were jokes. Well, they were MEAN jokes. They were canonically illogical and meaningless and showed that the filmmakers had zero respect for the films that came before LILO AND STITCH. Go see INSOMNIA instead.There won't be a worthwile animated movie this year until BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (FINALLY)comes out on DVD. As for MINORITY REPORT; Steven Spielberg has made great films (JAWS) and complete turkeys(HOOK) so I'm going to wait and see.
June 25, 2002, 10:11 p.m. CST
Having an argument and need some input. When Cruise's character finally does shoot Crowe (not the pre-cog vision but for real), does he say "good-bye Crowe" or not? I have found this completely split among friends' recollections. Thanks.
June 25, 2002, 10:21 p.m. CST
You are too easily offended. The stuff you see in the commercials are not in the films. It's just Disney's way of saying this is one of our new characters and that he just doesn't fit in with the rest of the gang. It is actually a very good and entertaining movie for kids and adults. I highly recommend it whether you have kids or not. Did anyone else notice the huge legs on the sister? That was just...cool. Oh and... Kevin Mcdonald (sp?)was great.
June 25, 2002, 10:22 p.m. CST
In fact, I'm not sure it's ambiguous *at all*. First, I need an answer to a question. How many eyes were in the baggie that Anderton's wife presents to Tim Blake Nelson's character? I thought it was 2, but I would like someone to confirm this. If it was 2, isn't that the evidence right there? Would we be expected to plausibly believe that Anderton would not only think to give his wife his eyeball, but that she would retrieve the eyeball lost in the sewer? Seems pretty far-fetched to me. Add that to these facts: 1) use of Anderton's voiceover narration only in the third act, 2) obvious use of cliches in the resolution, and 3) and Tim Blake *telling* him he's about to have these wonderful dreams. If it was two eyeballs, I'd say there's absolutely no argument on the matter. Plus, maybe the reason Spielberg cut that line from the script that you liked about the deaths in D.C. in the following year is that it wouldn't fit in the context of the dream! Anderton's going to have this pleasant fantasy that ends on that note? I wouldn't think so. Regardless, even if it was two eyeballs, Pre-Crime's survival and Anderton's halo is a valid interpretation. I'll take the dark ending, thank you.
June 25, 2002, 10:27 p.m. CST
by Brother Putney
Haven't decided how I feel about Minority Report, but I do know this: the scene with the spiders kicked ass. THAT is Spielberg firing on all cylinders .
June 25, 2002, 10:32 p.m. CST
Look, opinions on movies are a purely subjective experience, so for those of us that can read above a third grade level, it helps to have an idea of where the reviewer's head was when he/she saw the film in question. If this kind of personal stuff bothers you so damn much, skim past it. Surely your reading skills are developed to the point that you can pull THAT off.
June 25, 2002, 10:45 p.m. CST
L&S will win Best Animated Movie - no question. Anyone think it could win best score as well? Can't wait for Treasure Planet... -Patrick
June 25, 2002, 10:50 p.m. CST
Anderton had ALL the clues. He just never had time to piece it all together until in the chamber. He'd have plenty of time then. After all, his WHOLE LIFE is supposed to flash before his eyes, so why wouldn't it suddenly dawn on him as he's going through the motions again in his mind? We might only be seeing what he thinks of AFTER he's stored in the chamber. Besides that, if the ending was meant to be ambiguous, Spielberg would keep Anderton bald throughout the ending sequence. Having Anderton with a full head of hair would be a dead giveaway that he's still halo'd. IMHO, that comment the warden makes CAN'T be just a throwaway comment. It's irresponsible filmmaking, IMHO. It's just suggestive enough to place doubt on what you're seeing. At the same time, it satisfies those who like their endings to be so neat and tidy, while it gives those cynics doubt and satisfies their desire for a more ambiguous ending. As for the last line that was chopped off, maybe THAT'S why it was chopped off. To keep the ambiguity of the ending. I certainly hope so, otherwise Minority Report has the worst ending I've seen in YEARS! It not only ruins intellectual discussion, it ruins the goddamn movie by resorting to an incredible amount of cliches. Steven Spielberg is a good storyteller? Not as far as Minority Report is concerned if he really meant the ending to be as straight as so many people think it is. The guy doesn't seem to have a very good grasp of his characters OR his narrative capabilities. There's NO REASON for that exposition to be there otherwise. All he'd have to do is show the empty headquarters of the pre-crime division, Agatha and the other pre-cogs in a hut, and anderton and his wife expecting another baby and close the deal with THE END. IMHO, it'd still be lame, but it wouldn't come off so damn out of place as that exposition does.
June 25, 2002, 11:04 p.m. CST
by Triumph the Dog
He can put the last line back in in other ten years (After Bush and Ashcroft save the world from Muslim terrorists who would more than happy to take out a Jew like Steven Spielburg, BTW, ironic, aint it).
June 25, 2002, 11:05 p.m. CST
As others have said, I appreciate your reviews. They are even-handed and balanced and logical. I always appreciate them. That said - I liked Lilo and Stitch, but being in my 20s, I was a bit confused watching it as to whether I was really supposed to root for Lilo or Nina. To me the movie felt like it was trying to be both an adult movie and a kids movie. I thought the beginning reminded me (forgive me for mentioning it AGAIN in the talkbacks) of the Star Wars prequel Senate scenes, complete with floating speaking platforms and all. But I liked Lilo - it's nice not to have a WASPy Disney heroine for once. And I've already ranted on Minority Report - but I regret that Spielburg cut that line. I think, if the ending truly wasn't a dream, that the note of the murders rising would have left the film on the right note and left room for debate.
June 25, 2002, 11:07 p.m. CST
I'm always amazed when people simplistically suggest that Max couldn't have set up Anderton the way that he did. How could he know where Anderton would go? That's what they ask. The whole concept of the film is metaphysical. I don't have to agree with the notion to at least understand that it opens one's mind. If Anderton harbored murderous feelings for the killer of his son for years, and if someone paid someone to pretend to be that killer convincingly, the metaphysical question is, would that be enough to draw one to the other and make it happen. People ask how this was a premeditated act, thus the brown ball, if Anderton finds out who the man is on the spot. The answer is simple. He SAYS it to you for heck's sake. He's thought about killing that man for six years. Even if he didn't know who it was, what he would do if he found that man was premeditated in his mind for years. That's the premeditation, not Sydow's. You don't have to agree with the concept, that's why it's deep and a point of discussion. Just ponder it as is, as you should with all questions that good sci-fi opens up. By putting this person out in the world, Sydow makes it possible for Anderton to find and kill him, as he has always wanted to. That gives the precogs a vision. That vision leads Anderton on a journey. Sydow's character obviously believed in the metaphysics of the precogs enough to believe that that's all he had to do to set the wheels in motion, and he did. That's how it works. Now, obviously people with a fundamental religious bent are going to dismiss this immediately. Great. Terrific. Keep those minds shut. But that's where the depth of the movie comes from. This movie was beyond the best movie so far this year in terms of making you think, it's just that most people aren't comfortable thinking in metaphysical terms to begin with. Just the idea of "the Force" that binds "all living things" which is essentially what the precogs tap into is something that people go, "Yeah, whatever," at. That could be Star Wars, or it could be Minority Report. It's acceptable as long is it's just a movie, but the idea of actually buying into metaphysical notions tends to put people off, which is too bad, as it creates good discussions that can't be proven. I mean, unless you already know something you can't know.
June 25, 2002, 11:14 p.m. CST
"What we have here is a dead shark." I wanted to like like MR but it falls apart just like AI, and it gets worse the more I think about it. It has way too many themes that are never fleshed out.
June 25, 2002, 11:25 p.m. CST
Heya...your comment "IMHO, that comment the warden makes CAN'T be just a throwaway comment. It's irresponsible filmmaking." I agree...but Spielberg did just that with the Peter Stormare "you busted me once" scene before Anderton got his eyes changed. I do think (although why I'm justifying something I think was just poorly put together is anyone's guess) that maybe the warden's comment was a hint that Anderton would be in Hell: i.e. he would relive his son's kidnapping ad infintum, like he did while waiting for his bandages to come off. Or not. IMHO, it's just a bunch of loose ends flapping in the wind, left there to hang by a director who has shown a habit for doing that kind of (sloppy) thing.
June 25, 2002, 11:30 p.m. CST
it's basically Logan's Run, A Clockwork Orange, and L.A. Confidential all rolled into one.
June 25, 2002, 11:32 p.m. CST
That was the funniest shyte Disney has put out in years. Years and years and years. People talk about Stitch like he's the first Looney-Tunes-style Disney character, but Groove did it first, baby! Kronk is the funniest character since...hell, since I can remember. Rent the Groove, friends. Watch it in a big group.
June 25, 2002, 11:32 p.m. CST
by Raging Bull
What Minority Report needs is what Ridley Scott did to Bladerunner. I don't mean just cutting the ending of the story to give it more ambiguity, but cutting and splicing the last 20-30 minutes of the story and molding it into more of a thinking man's story. I know Speilberg, as great of a director as he is, won't give this movie and alternate version or "director's cut", but i wouldn't mind getting submersed into a "total Recall" type ending.
June 25, 2002, 11:39 p.m. CST
...reviews. I'll reserve my comments for MR, since I have yet to see Lilo & Stitch. As always, Moriarty's reviews are consistent in there need to judge artists like Spielberg at a higher standard and to put as much effort into that judgement, without needlessly dismissing him (as I have said here over AND over again). For that I commend him.______________________________ However, I am of the "lop off 20 minutes and it's better" school of thought (just not the 20 minutes at the end). The film has genuine pacing problems and just needs a little tweaking. This aside, I would have left in the "161 murders" to give the weight of reality at the end, not quite a happy ending. This film's future has been inaccurately and unfairly as "Ashcroftian" (by those geniuses over at Salon). It is anything but. It is a totalitarian/pseudo market driven sketch the left often likes to reduce us to. Still for all that, I think we can find some possitive themes, especially the undercurrents of love and dedication Anderton felt for his family, if nothing else. No, it's not perfect and neither is he, but I still managed to feel for him.
June 25, 2002, 11:43 p.m. CST
by Mark Twain
My thoughts on leaving the theater were different than many of the impressions offered here. So either I'm an idiot, or the film succeeded in providing grist for discussion. I'm fully willing to concede the former, I just want to catch the film again to answer some nagging questions. The message I left with was that "pre-crime was good." Perhaps that was why the last line was dropped, it would've tilted the ambiguity too far in one direction. It was an argument about the ends not justifying the means. Then again, there was a lot more to this film just that debate. Pre Crime worked every time, where it proved fallible was in catching everything. Arguably, it was a system in need of tweaking. What was brilliant about the film was that we weren't beaten over the head with the improsonment of the Pre-cogs, the most heinous act commited in the film. At no point in the film did someone cry, "But it is wrong to deny these people of their liberty despite the good it affords society." Spielberg showed a lot of restaint in this film, as Moriarity pointed out, the invasiveness of advertising hit home to those of us who wind up on email lists, get calls from strangers addressing us by name, etc, etc. Then comes the unspoken question, what happens when the precogs die? If the program goes national, obviously there is a plan to keep it going. So are there other slave pre-cogs in the wings? Being developed? To be honest, I didn't catch the references to the possibility that the whole thing was a dream, again I'd have to see it again with new eyes. I'd hate to think so, since that ending was already used in Total Recall without the ambiguity, which was like a rabbit punch to the gut, yet people were cheering in the theater at the end of it having missed the ending completely. If Dick were alive, he would have laughed. I think this is one of those movies I need to see again alone, at home, with no distractions. This movie kept creeping into my thoughts for days, like something was wrong. Somehow, I feel like I missed something. Spielberg is too skilled a film maker and has too much control of his work at this point to make a sloppy movie. The answers are in there and I will find them. The majority seems to have it pegged, but I suspect the answers I'm looking for are in the minority . . . .
June 25, 2002, 11:43 p.m. CST
In the second to last sentence, I meant "one eyeball," not "two eyeballs."
June 25, 2002, 11:44 p.m. CST
So you think a Spielberg movie is great? Well here is an example which sucks. How about trying too hard and taking a story with illogical ideas which the director cannot pull together. I don't care who the actors are if I have stuff like the eyeball business shoved in my face, which I am assumed to accept as clever. Isn't there a director who pays attention to detail anymore, and how things fit together?
June 25, 2002, 11:49 p.m. CST
Thank you, Drew, for not pulling a Harry and basing your opinion of the film on how it compares to a script that was never meant for public consumption. Except for that part where you talk about the last line being cut. You don't compare film to script, and you yourself sited the reason: the rest of us can't read a script first. The film must be the first, last, and only source of information. It must be judged on its own merits. Close, but no cigar.
June 25, 2002, 11:58 p.m. CST
I remember in Blade Runner there were Atari logos (at the time the second most recognizable logo on the planet) all over the film. I wonder if some of the companies featured in M.R. will not be as visible in the future (maybe the Gap), and when people see it in 20 years, the product placement will date the film.
June 26, 2002, 12:07 a.m. CST
by Darth Diego
The issue that I have is that Max Von Sydow's plot against Tom Cruise is based entirely on a paradox that he can't know will happen. First, the paradox: it's the "watch syndrome". Did you ever see a film called "Somewhere in Time"? In it, an old woman presents a pocketwatch to a young man, and says, "Come back to me." The young man, curious as to the motivations of the woman, investigates and eventually becomes obsessed with her. He manages to travel back in time, and gives her the watch. So here's the thing: who made the watch? You have a loop with no opportunity to have the watch be created -- he gets it from her in the future, and she gets it from him in the past. Now, paradoxical stuff in films who's plots are related to time isn't anything new, and isn't necessarily a deal breaker, but there's something different about the way that things transpire in Minority Report: Throughout the film John Anderton isn't looking for the guy that he sees himself kill. He follows no clues. That is, until he finds the billboard that hangs outside the window of the place where he kills the guy. The problem is, this clue wouldn't mean anything were it not for the fact that he's seen the billboard in the future -- he has to see it to get there, and has to have been there to see it. If he hadn't seen himself commit the murder in the future, he never could have arrived there to commit it in the present. Like the watch, it's a paradox: the creation of the circumstances that bring Tom to the apartment don't exist. That said, Tom Cruise is being framed by Max Von Sydow, right? But what is the nature of the framing -- how does Max do it? He gets some guy and convinces him to pretend to be the killer of Tom's son by being in a room with a bunch of pictures, so that Tom will arrive at the right (or wrong) conclusion. But how does he (Max) know that Tom will ever arrive there? There are no clues that lead Tom to the apartment. That is, other than the ones that are created by the paradox. So, Max Von Sydow's "plot" relies on a paradox occurring (one that he can't possibly know will happen, because, at the point in time that he must hatch the plot, the precogs haven't seen anything yet). Either that, or he just told a guy to be in an arbitrary room at an arbitrary time, and got really lucky. Either way, it doesn't hold any water.
June 26, 2002, 12:15 a.m. CST
by Cap'n Chaos!
A few thoughts: First off, I love Emporer's New Groove. I thought it was hilarious and Patrick Warburton truly gave a vocal performance as good as any since Disney's been making these things. Second, I also like Atlantis. People call it soulless, but I thought it had more heart than most of the so-called action movies put out in the past two years and it also had some really good voice acting. Now to the meat: I think Lilo and Stitch is some of the best stuff put out by the mouse in a long time. Probably since Katz left. You know why? Because it was made far from the evil eyes of Eisner. *coughSATANcough* I actually got an almost Calvin and Hobbes feel from it (though the dynamic was certainly different.) Lilo is by far the coolest kid to grace a movie screen in ages. Then there's Stitch who I thought was hilarious. The design was cool, though not quite stylized enough in my opinion. The Elvis music brought the thing to life. It was a great touch. And the Batman gag at the end alone is worth the price of admission. The only complaint I really have is the complete over-explanation of "ohana." We got it the first time, guys...
June 26, 2002, 12:33 a.m. CST
SPOILERS:*********what i don't get, is if the pre-cogs could only see murders in the future, why did they see anderton's accicendtal shooting of that guy? i mean he didn't murder him, the guy forced himself to get shot... they don't see suicides. (now i know what you're gonna say: they could feel his rage ahead of time, and him wanting to do it, but look, it happened the **same** exact way as seen in the precogs mind, not like when the old man shot himself and changed the precogs seeing of anderton dying. completely bogus!! -81666
June 26, 2002, 12:51 a.m. CST
we saw both MR and L&S this past weekend, and if we had to see a movie tonite, we would go and see L&S again. Disney did one of the best jobs since B&TB in 2D cartoon. Animationwised, it was not one of their best but the theme and depiction of characters was probably one of their most accurate. Lilo is not a cute little girl in a traditional sense, she's NOT popular, not very pretty, and not well adjusted at all. Stitch played a tom cruise role of seeing the "light" on what he should be and finally did the right thing instead of just what he was built for. The jokes were funny as heck. we saw it in a full theatre and there were a LOT of folks laughing all at the right places. and there were also a LOT of sniffling in certain sequences. It says a lot about a movie when it can make an audience emotional. I think L&S might have a chance to actually BEAT MR this coming week and overall, make more money in the BO than MR. and ----------------------------------btw, 'Ohana was NOT mentioned enough in the movies nowadays anyway. there are more kids being raised by a Single parent nowadays than ever before, it took guts for Disney to have a central character from a broken family. Overall i Think this moview will be big for Dheads.--------------------MR? i think it will be forgotten as just another TC flick by the end of this year -----
June 26, 2002, 1:10 a.m. CST
by Larry of Arabia
That last line you love so much is very heavy handed and treats the audience like idiots. The makers of the film trust us to remember that the first two acts were a dabate about pre-crime. Having that message there is what a 2-bit hack would do - hit us on the head saying "hey, message" over and over and not trusting us to get it. Despite the warm, happy ending for the protagonists a sense of discomfort remains because we know that without pre-crime we get crime. To the earlier Talkbacker: that crap about the line being to subversive to the Asscroft agenda... shutting down pre-crime is pretty damn subversive to the whole department.
June 26, 2002, 1:16 a.m. CST
by Moriarity Report
Spielberg's best since Last Crusade. The movie worked because it had great IDEAS and some great SCENES and CHARACTERS. I loved the humorous/insane characters in the film. The Dale Cooper-ish FBI agent, the eccentric plant lady recluse genius who held all of the secrets, the tormented psychic girl. The scenes: Most every scene with Cruise and Morton, the scene in the mall, where she kept seeing everything seconds before it happened and how she used those events to stay one step ahead of their persuers. The jet pack fight and car facotory scenes...I too wish Spielberg hadn't used the shaky-cam in this scene, he's far too talented an action director to have to rely on a gimmick like that...but creative scene nonetheless. This is science fiction folks...THe Matrix was a dreary horror film. This goes way beyond that. This is actually an original idea, nobody's seen this story before really. The fact that they didn't give too much away in the previews helped it out alot. Towards the end I Was getting nervous when it seemed to be relying on some typical story telling devices...it seemed Von Sydows character might be turning into a typical one dimensional villain, and the film might try to start making Pre-Crime out to be a bad thing, even though they established about how many lives its saved. The final scene with Sydow and Cruise wrapped things up satisfactorly though....the guy only murdered Morton's mother because he had to or Pre-Crime would have been over with.
June 26, 2002, 1:21 a.m. CST
Anderton's murder of Crow doesn't happen the exact same way that the Pre-Cogs see it. The very fact that it doesn't happen at the *exact same time and place* that they predicted shows that the prediction and the event are two independent events (aside from the fact that he happened to be there). The point being destiny wasn't set. In the original vision, Anderton committed cold-blooded murder. In the reality, he committed the act in self-defense. As for Burgess -- just like Anderton -- it's simply a case of his performing something different than what the Pre-Cogs saw. This is a freedom available to him because of his unique position of knowing the future. (Ignore the fact that I think that's a halo vision.).......As for the paradox of Burgess' setup, here's how I think about it -- sort of a linear explanation of the logic going back and forth in time. Burgess sets up the supposed killer of Anderton's kid in the hotel room. Somehow, he leads Anderton to him in the future (probably the result of a professional tipoff at some time after the actual killing...at least hours after). Anderton kills him in that alternate reality. But, the PreCogs predict this back in the present time. However, the second they foresee this timeline, they must take into account the fact that Anderton himself *will see* their prediction, and that will put him on the run. So their vision adjusts to take into account that Anderton runs. At this point, the murder wouldn't exist -- except for the blind coincidence of his walking next to the hotel. So, they factor that into the timeline. Voila. Yes, it's completely paradoxical. But I fail to see how it is any less legitimate than the watch mentioned, Sarah Connor/Kyle Reese, 12 Monkeys, or any other sci-fi scenario of this sort. ............Please someone answer my eyeball(s) question.
June 26, 2002, 1:21 a.m. CST
by Moriarity Report
...almost forgot! The Rear Window-esque scene with the spiders in the old apartment building. That folks, is cinema! Great suspense and humor, while at the same time showing us the effectiveness and intrusivness of this technology.
June 26, 2002, 1:30 a.m. CST
But I also agreed with Harry's review... It's actually quite amazing how people have this ridiculous biased towards Harry's reviews but when Moriarty says roughly the samething everyone lays off. *sigh* Anyway about the line at the end being removed... OH MY FUCKING GOD... THEY TOOK THAT OUT??? That would have singlehandedly saved the movie for me... I swear to god, I've been hoping the dream thing pans out and though it may that would have done it... that and only that would have made me leave the theater thinking what I saw didn't insult my intelligence... *SIGH*
June 26, 2002, 2:10 a.m. CST
by Darth Diego
I've considered that, but I'm afraid it still doesn't work. Let's say for the sake of argument that Max Von Sydow has, as you've said, set up the chain of clues that will lead Tom Cruise to the guy that he's supposed to kill. Any chain of events that he's going to follow MUST begin BEFORE he sees the precog's vision of the murder. The effect of the events of the future can only influence the present once we are aware of what will happen, otherwise, we just go on our merry way and do what we were going to do in the first place. Consequently, Tom would have, in this scenario, set about finding the killer of his son prior to seeing the killing take place. Clearly, that didn't happen. So once again, we're left with the paradox. Tom CAN'T get there without having seen himself get there.
June 26, 2002, 2:17 a.m. CST
Darth... there was only one eyeball in the baggie that Lara put in front of Gideon. And Anderton didn't give it to her. She retrieved it from a box of his effects in the brief scene immediately prior. Very entertaining movie. I enjoyed it very much. No plotholes either. The person that suggested that Lamar simply hired a guy to be in a hotel room disregards the dialogue where it is specifically discussed that someone might have gotten into the temple and tampered with the visions or planted the suggestion of them.
June 26, 2002, 2:37 a.m. CST
You cant control the future. Lamar tried...but it didnt work out exactly as planned. He hired Crow to pose as the man who kindapped Anderton's son, with the idea that he would somehow lead Anderton to him. The catch to this was Anderton seeing his future which set off the chain of events that led to him being in the room with Crow. Lamar was the one who allowed Anderton's eye-scan to still work...knowing it would lead to Anderton's killing Crow and getting him out of the picture. It would also be a perfect example of how the Pre-Cogs are right everytime and save Pre-Crime. He also didn't want Witwer in there mucking things up and possibly exposing the truth...as he did. He WANTED Anderton to kill Crow, you saw how pissed off Crow was when Anderton decided not to go through with it. Otherwise Crow would expose Burgess and he would be completely buggered. He said himself that he didnt want John hurt. So simply the act of Lamar setting the whole Crow thing up was enough to set off the chain of events...Lamar had know idea it would be that easy.
June 26, 2002, 2:40 a.m. CST
I find that "Minority Report" becomes more engrossing and fulfilling with each viewing, as I center myself on its many levels of presentation and storytelling. Spielberg definitely has a keen eye for the camera, and has the spirit of an artist willing to take chances to experiment with the medium and to stimulate the mind of the audience. The scribes, the photographers, the actors and actresses, the entire staff and crew should be commended for their excellent teamwork and effort to bring another dream of Philip K. Dick to celluloid reality.
June 26, 2002, 2:44 a.m. CST
****DerkBelig wrote:***** ******What was the point of the "face melter" when no one was gonna see him? Where was the after effects of his face tightening up? WHY THE F*CK DIDN'T THEY REMOVE HIM FROM THE APPROVED LIST?!?!?!??!!? Why did the Precogs get the images right from the Crow killing, but totally get it wrong ay the end AND WTF couldn't Spielberg come up with ANYTHING better than, "BANG!!! Hmmm...who got shot?"?!?!?!?!? Why wasn't there a single HUMAN in the car plant? They painted the car with the glass INSTALLED? And you can drive out at the end? ........******* I think I can answer these.... Well, he probably did walk through a crowd of people before he got to the door, so there was a reason to use it. I thought the after effects was the pain, which he experienced immediatly. Actually, I don't think they were called after effects. He wasn't removed from the list because incompetence runs rampant. It happens constantly in large companies or departments. FBI as an example. Plus, it's been less than two days, so I can imagine people not getting around to it, and maybe it's difficult to remove his name from such a complex system. I don't think they'd ever suspect him returning. The images from the Crowe killing were not correct. They were different because Cruise saw the images and was able to make a choice. Same with Sydow. Others never saw their future, hence why they couldn't change it. There was no one in the plant because it's the future, probably fully automated. Computers and machines could probably spray paint it perfectly. He was able to leave because it was probably electric. The Crowe murder is a paradox. The only way he was able to find Crowe was because he saw the images of himself murdering Crowe in the future. Paradox! It's not suppose to make sense. That's why paradox's are never used in movies. It's too difficult to understand. I think I did a good job explaining things...
June 26, 2002, 2:57 a.m. CST
Fantastic, lucid, and logical argument. I salute you. ============ I still do not understand how anyone can argue that Anderton's killing of Crowe was "premeditated". Simply fantasizing about killing an unknown individual for 6 years is NOT premeditation. Premeditated murder, legally, is the deliberate planning and contriving beforehand of the murder. The key word here is "planning". Anderton did not even know of Crowe's existance prior to the hotel meeting. He discovered the identity of his son's abductor, and acted. This is the essence of a 2nd degree murder/crime of passion; thus, a RED BALL. There is no fundamental difference between this murder and the crime of passion that was prevented by Anderton at the beginning of the film. The only premeditation was done by Burgess, not Anderton. ============ There simply are too many inconsistencies in the rules established by the film for me to dismiss. Films like MATRIX, 12 MONKEYS, T2 are ripe with metaphysical paradoxes, but the inconsistencies/flaws in logic in MR are too unsophisticated to be termed "paradoxes".
June 26, 2002, 5:01 a.m. CST
by vroom socko
Anyone from the Portland, OR can back me up on this; Kev's been starring in a series of auto dealership commercials for local car mogul Scott Thomason. He's playing a primadonna director who's making the Greatest Car Commercial Ever. They are without a doubt some of the funniest ads I've ever seen.
June 26, 2002, 5:03 a.m. CST
How to make this a better film simply by cutting footage. First 55 minutes: Cut the scene where Cruise watches his home movies. We get the point from conversations and scenes before and after and the fact he's doing drugs, as well as the flashback. Slows things down, needlessly labours the point. Too annoyingly sentimental. Next 60 minutes: Cut the scene where Farrell talks to Cruise's wife. Slows pace, doesn't add anything. Needlessly sentimental with that stuff about Anderton reminding Lara of their son. Last 22 minutes: Cut the phone call Cruise's wife makes to Max von Sydow (for continuity). Prune any shots that show Agatha at Lara's house, so that you think she was left behind in Crow's hotel room and the team retrieved her there. Cut absolutely everything from when it suddenly dawns on Cruise why he's been set up and he walks back to the house to the start of the scene which has the speaker at the podium talking about the history of the civil war pistol. Keep the scene where Wally puts Agatha back into the system only. It eliminates the really anticlimactic end to Cruise's run, the corner they've boxed themselves into as a result and the really stupid way that they get out of it. Also, the really horrible dialogue by Agatha in there will be gone! It will seem to jump a bit but believe me, it's better. It'll just look like Anderton suddenly had a brainwave and then worked it out. Then chop off the entire epilogue, ending the movie with the aerial receding shot on the roof. This
June 26, 2002, 5:13 a.m. CST
by Majic 12
Ok, i'm real tired and maybe I'm wrong, but I just saw this movie and maybe since it's the future and all--all this other crazy technology is accepted--why couldn't director Burgess have somehow engineered the precog vision that showed Anterton killing the guy? Maybe he had already hired someone to murder Crow and altered the 'output' to be Andertons? that would make it possible for Anderton to be there at the right time for the billboard in the window and everything...I just thought of it, probably lotsa holes in it...too tired...Seriously though, some of you all can't enjoy shit. I thought it was allright. Either you liked it or you didn't. it's not Spielberg's fault. It's yours and it doesn't make you wrong or right. Quit bitching.
June 26, 2002, 5:14 a.m. CST
Collected as many goofs in Minority Report as I could find, added a few of my own. April 22, 2054 is a Wednesday not a Tuesday. GOOF # Minority Report (2002) - FACT: Retinal scanners look for blood vessels in the eye. They are invisible without circulation, so severed eyeballs could not activate scanners. Within a couple of hours, the cornea of a severed eyeball would go opaque, making it impossible for scanners to see the retina anyway. There is no mention of immunosuppressive agents of any kind ever being used. The transplanted eyes would be rejected. Coma patients' muscles atrophy and ligaments shorten after years of immobility, even with extensive physiotherapy. After 6 years in an immobile state in the Temple, Agatha would not have been able to stand, let alone walk without extensive physical therapy and surgery to restore the length of the ligaments in her legs. Eyeballs don't bounce and roll like that when you drop them. Anderton's eyeballs would have decomposed considerably more by the time Lara takes them from the box in Burgess's office, having been kept in a plastic bag at room temperature for several hours if not days. GOOF # Minority Report (2002) - PLOT: Since there are actually two separate attempted pre-meditated murders of Anne Lively one after the other, the precognitives would have predicted two separate murders and dropped two separate sets of balls, as well as the entire video of the lead up to both crimes including the killer putting on his mask, like they did with Howard Marks at the start of the film. If you wanted to murder someone and not have it predicted by the precognitives, since they only had a 200 mile range from the Pre-Crime building, why not just have them murdered outside that range? Gideon could have ignored Lara Anderton threatening him with a gun to release John Anderton from containment. If she had gone there with the intent of killing him if he didn't release John, it would have been predicted by the precognitives and pre-crime officers would have arrested her before she could try to break him out. Conversely, if they didn't turn up, it meant she couldn't be planning to kill him because a murder had not been predicted, so again he could ignore her threat. The first thing the precognitives reveal in a murder is the perpetrator and the victim before the visual information, which pre-crime uses to identify the exact location of the crime. There is no way drifter hired to attempt to kill Anne Lively could not have been immediately named by the precognitives as they just immediately know. If the drifter had to have his eyes changed, his original retinal pattern would have been on file. Presumably as an addict, he would have probably had a criminal record and his fingerprints and DNA would have been on file too. They could have identified him from these. Wouldn't the police find it odd that a drifter could somehow pay for an eye transplant? What possible motive could he have to murder Anne Lively? Could anyone have made a connection between Anne Lively and Agatha? Since for a long time, (at least 6 years in the case of John Doe) the police have known that people can fool the scanners with eye transplants, wouldn't they have come up with something to counter that fact. Eg combining retinal scanning with face recognition software, ie having the face that goes with the retinal pattern on file and making sure the two match? Why did Anderton use the device to change his face when he did? All he did was enter a corridor where nobody was in and then enter the Temple where everyone knew it had to be him as he was the only person who had a motive to break in who could. Why would Burgess have to lie about Anderton mentioning Anne Lively to Lara? He could just have said Anderton mentioned her (which was true) and he'd look into it again. There would be no reason for her to find it suspicious that he knew about her and that could have been the end of the matter. The exhaust from the jet pack would have set Anderton on fire. It was believable that Anderton was still on the system and his former team-mates had forgotten to remove him from the system as the last place they would expect him to go was the Pre-Crime building, so that was why he was able to break in but they would definitely have deleted him from the system after that, so that his eyeball could not have been used to break him out of containment. That plus the fact it would decomposed far too much by then and that it could never have worked on a retinal scan once severed in the first place anyway. It would be easier to scan faces of people in crowds not retinas as people could be wearing sunglasses, have their eyes closed and it's a very small target anyway. Scanning faces on the basis of relative positions of facial features has been used with great success in the present day even when people are wearing disguises. They presumably would be even better in 2054. If the system only had a range of 200 miles and would not work without Agatha, how were they planning to go national with Pre-Crime. For that, they would need more precognitives and if they had those to go national, couldn't they get the system up and running again when Anderton removed Agatha from the system, either with one new precognitive to replace Agatha or replace all 3 if that didn't work.
June 26, 2002, 5:30 a.m. CST
Because I don't think you know what the hell you're talking about. Elfman's score for Spider-Man is a terrific score, one of Elfman's best, and just because it was drowned in sound-effects in the final cut of the movie doesn't give you the right to judge it like you do. I'd have no problem with your dislike of the score if you'd just left it at: "I don't like the score in the film", but you're not doing that - you're reviewing it. And since I don't think you've listened, I don't think you have any right calling it recycled wallpaper! It's because of people like you that Elfman probably won't be scoring the sequel and that makes me furious!
June 26, 2002, 5:32 a.m. CST
by Majic 12
I forgot about the wooden balls. The way that was explained I don't see How burgess could have accomplished the setup without time travel or something. I still found it enjoyable--even with a few technical goofs about imaginary technology. It's not really about technology, precognition or how long after dismemberment eyes can be scanned. It's about freedom and joice or something...but mostly those sweet batons that make you puke
June 26, 2002, 5:45 a.m. CST
gosh, they were UGGGGLY! It was a cute movie, but not really something I would want to visit again! Where is Pochantas when you need that bitch? She would slap lilo silly!!!
June 26, 2002, 7:07 a.m. CST
They weren't ugly (except for Lilo, who resembles NO ETHNICITY KNOWN TO MAN in my eyes). Did they look Hawaiian? Damned if I know. The number of pure Hawaiians today is, I think, somewhere between 1,000 - 10,000, and even part Hawaiians only make up about 20% of the state's population, so even those of us who live in Hawaii usually don't know what Hawaiians really look like.
June 26, 2002, 7:33 a.m. CST
Just Dled the boot on WINMX. pretty good cam-job I must say.
June 26, 2002, 7:41 a.m. CST
If a little short, but it's sooooo funny in an old style 30's slapstick/quick quips kinda way. Kronk is the best... I NEED to get hold of some of those live action tick shows to see how good he was in that....
June 26, 2002, 7:42 a.m. CST
I have had sex with a Hawaiian once on a Surfboard lubed up with Sex Waxx and it was hot! So I guess my comment about Hawaiians were wrong! But realy Even though little Lilo was cute I really think that for the most part, the animation wasn't very flattering but then again was I suppose to be turned on by the Hawaiian Surfer Boy? I admit in some parts I got moist!
June 26, 2002, 8:31 a.m. CST
I think I probably have what would amount to a pretty unpopular opinion when it comes to "dark" movies. I don't have any problem with the depiction of evil, as long as it is the bad guy and gets whomped at the end, but I just can't get with movies that present perversity, evil and animalistic behavior as a spectator sport. I read Mori's review of Ichi the Killer yesterday, and I can't see how a movie like that (which, admittedly, I haven't seen) does anything other than create spiritual litter that may only make life a little uglier for everyone, or may, at worst, provide a breeding ground for sickness in a few. That said, I read Mori's spoiler even though I haven't seen Minority Report and probably won't. For some reason I feel like I've been ripped off. That kind of thought provoking postlude can lift an otherwise decent movie to memorable status. Too bad.
June 26, 2002, 8:50 a.m. CST
That's all I ask. Nothing pompous or full of hot air. I'll accept people's opinions as long as they are coherent.
June 26, 2002, 8:57 a.m. CST
Minority Report had tone problems that it shouldn't have. But it also had story problems, score problems and cinematography problems. The only thing I liked about the movie were the performances. bleh.
June 26, 2002, 8:58 a.m. CST
The "postlude" I was refering to was the "increase in murder" line that was deleted. Sorry for expecting to have my mind read.
June 26, 2002, 9:30 a.m. CST
OK, first, Lilo and Stitch....I actually saw this right before i saw Minority Report....ive been dying for a place to bitch for it...personally, it falls into the category of a good movie that could've been a GREAT movie if the film hadn't just plain fallen on its ass somewhere around the last half hour...the movie starts, and slips into the middle VERY nicely....Stitch himself starts out as the funniest psychotic paranoid main character since the squirrel from Ice Age...Lilo, on the other hand, is written almost heartbreakingly real throughout the whole film, and quite frankly, if the entire film had been just her, Nani, and their trials trying to avoid intrusion from DYFS, and dealing with life in general, quite frankly, i wouldnt complain in the very least. Not that adding Stitch to the mix is a bad idea, just that the 5 or 6 scenes prior to Lilo picking up Stitch at the pound are THAT damn good. Tia Carrere's Nani was also written extremely well, although not as emotionally as Lilo, but obviously the adults in the audience get to click with her much better as this sister who's trying to make herself mom. Ving Rhames was...well...Ving Rhames...though his presence goes a long way toward making the DYFS guy menacing, he doesnt really go any further than that until his interaction with the head alien, which just made me grin. And even this his part wasn't all that big in the least, it is good to at least hear Jason Scott Lee show up somewhere...i havent even heard hide nor hair of this dude since Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, which I was sure was gonna push his Hollywood cred to the stars. But, he seems like the private, natural sort in interviews anyways, so oh well...look forward to wherever he shows up again....anyways, back to the story....everything moves very well, but closer to the end, it starts to fall apart...i think right around after the night that Stitch spends out in the wild with the book....the day after, the movie turns into shredded gaps, and ballsy sensitive Disney turns into pseudo-heroic sappy Disney, and Stitch loses ALL the quirks that made him great. While Nani and Lilo are still rather natural, even when the aliens start popping up(I love Nani's reaction, praying the ambulance doesn't turn left), Stitch becomes...well...as he said...cute and fluffy. I would've preferred a more protective Stitch, pissed off at the situation, and doing what needs to be done, without the cutesy Disney rhetoric....remember the Beast's reaction when Gaston's mob invaded? Yeah, he pretty much gave up at first, but once the woman she loved was in danger, all bets were off. Emotion didnt rule everything, when things need to get done, that edge is important to keep...but, then again, maybe im looking at it with darker eyes than i should...and the change doesnt really destroy the film for me....just sorta flattens it out at the end...so, to wrap this up(cuz this is getting long, i know), basically, what you've got it 3/4 of a great movie, and 1/4 of a barely average one.... put it together, i think youve still got a good movie on your hands....As far as Disney goes, quick point on that, people above are right....Emperor's New Groove and Atlantis are the two most UNDERrated Disney flicks in existence...Emperor's New Groove was ingenius, even Warner Brothers-ish comedy....yeah, the perfunctory buddy message was there, and Disney's flair is evident throughout, but its still Disney's most straightforwardly funny movie...a 76 minute old-school cartoon. Atlantis, which certainly not original...it's chock-full of stuff that the Japanese have been pulling off, but even better, for years....but on its own merits, you gotta credit Disney with growing a pair as far as this one is concerned... overall, the movie as a whole gave me this sort of "Stargate on Ecstasy" vibe, and quite frankly, i thought it worked. OK, just to abridge this(yes, yes, i know, TB's running logner than i thought it would), Moriarty was probably listening to us, but he also missed acknowledging the "dream" theory that seems to have spread in the last few days....the possibility that the final sequence is Anderton's dream, instead of what really happened. The final scripted line, though i think it's a damn good capper on its own, would've debunked that theory...so with an open mind, you have dual ways to take the ending....and remember, it wouldnt be the first time this happened with a Philip K Dick story....I still think Schwartzenegger was in the chair the whole time in Total Recall....its debatable, but i like having different viewpoints about a movie....s'fun....but, that aside, gotta hand Moriarty his due credit....i still refuse to forgive him for certain....let's say..."differences of opinion" i've had with him over certain flicks...but gotta say, when the man's on the ball, he's on the ball...so while all's not forgiven, the guy's still got my respect....ok, ill take up no more TB space today. I go now. Revolution is my name.
June 26, 2002, 10:16 a.m. CST
"The idea that companies are going to get more aggressive about how they sell us what they sell us and how they keep track of what we bought is as terrifying to me as any other concept in the film, and if you can
June 26, 2002, 10:16 a.m. CST
Coop: I guess you're right...I shouldn't waste my time thinking about those idiotic trailers.They weren't made to be thought about. It's like they're giving us a look at a bunch of parallel universes where everything's all messed up... Manowar: My thoughts exactly. They put THE f#@$$ing ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS on DVD before any of those! And they're releasing it again,too. Keep an eye out for my scholarly paper dissecting THE ENCHANTED CHRISTMAS,by the way...
June 26, 2002, 10:23 a.m. CST
Geez...it's not cool to openly accuse someone of plagarism without concrete evidence. Moriarty states at the beginning of his review that he's gotten a ton of mail over the film. He's also a smart guy, well versed in film beyond most of us. So why couldn't he have seen the Brazil-esque touches, etc. etc. without the help of your talkback?
June 26, 2002, 11:01 a.m. CST
this movie would have been great except for the STUPID ENDING. Even if you DON'T use precrime to ARREST the to-be-murders, you can still PREVENT MURDER. THATS WHY SPEILBERG REMOVED THAT LAST LINE, BECAUSE IT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. it still makes no sense to shut down precrime, IT WORKS.
June 26, 2002, 11:21 a.m. CST
PKD's work has never really been about the "science" in SF. He uses the futuristic settings for explorations into the nature of humanity, mainly addressing issues of gender, psychosis, spirituality and drug abuse. The details of the plot are completely secondary, Dick's work has never been too reliant on standard forms of logic. It's not about the pre-cogs being able to see the pre-mediated stuff earlier, or how many eyeballs are in one scene to the next. It's basically a huge set piece to explore the idea of predestination and whether or not we can choose our own destiny. Dick wasn't writing books about what he thought the future was going to be like, he was setting these books in the future because he didn't know any other way to discuss these kinds of ideas. The "science" stuff is all just colorful filler. Blade Runner got that (Total Recall didn't, but I think it was a fun movie, nonetheless), and I think MR did as well. I loved it and am looking forward to seeing it again soon.
June 26, 2002, 11:23 a.m. CST
Unfortunately, either Frank or the director, Steven Spielberg, decided the audience was too dim to spot the numerous plot holes and ridiculous story tricks to guide the film toward a pre-ordained and predictable conclusion. Repeatedly the filmmakers push a character into inexplicably illogical (based on the character
June 26, 2002, 12:30 p.m. CST
by J Rex
Ashcroft isn't massacring the constitution. We're trying to stop people that declared war on us. I'll bet you complained that we did nothing to stop the 9/11 terrorists. Well, we would have no reason to have held them, either. These people aren't leaving any evidence of exactly what they are going to do. I also don't see why you would want to extend the constitution to people who've declared war on the US and promise to keep killing Americans forever. Your answer to do nothing is no answer at all. If you want nothing done, any future blood would be on your hands. Anyway, Speilberg should be lauded for the bravery of a film like this. How many director's with his credentials would make a film this ambitious at this point in his career? Well, the ideas in it, anyway.
June 26, 2002, 12:31 p.m. CST
by J Rex
Ashcroft isn't massacring the constitution. We're trying to stop people that declared war on us. I'll bet you complained that we did nothing to stop the 9/11 terrorists. Well, we would have no reason to have held them, either. These people aren't leaving any evidence of exactly what they are going to do. I also don't see why you would want to extend the constitution to people who've declared war on the US and promise to keep killing Americans forever. Your answer to do nothing is no answer at all. If you want nothing done, any future blood would be on your hands. Anyway, Speilberg should be lauded for the bravery of a film like this. How many director's with his credentials would make a film this ambitious at this point in his career? Well, the ideas in it, anyway.
June 26, 2002, 12:32 p.m. CST
I have to agree with a lot of points in your review. I think the jokey stuff in the film is horrendous: Anderton driving off the assembly line, Anderton cooking burgers off the jetpack, Anderton eating spoiled food, Anderton chasing his eyeballs down the corridor even the couple getting interrupted while fucking to get retinal scanned. But to me this stuff wasn't just annoying, it made clear to me why I stopped paying theater prices for Spielberg films since Hook. Spielberg to me is precisely a sentimental hack like Michael Curtiz who by the way also made good films like Casablanca but with the support of fine actors and good production people not to mention full financial support of the studio. I don't think Spielberg is completely inane because he does excel at certain aspects of visual storytelling like creating suspense sequences where there seems no possible way for the protagoinst to survive or win and then Spielberg usually comes with an interesting way to make it happen. This is a great talent in Hollywood since the most important aspect of storytelling in Hollywood is having the protagonist control their own destiny, having the hero essentially bend the forces of reality to their will. For this reason Hollywood will always lack the spohistication and a mature worldview inherent in a lot of foreign films (which sadly is also vanishing) because they allow reality and the environment to more than contextualize the characters' lives these storytellers show that most often there are elements at work that are stronger than the protagonist's will to shape their own destiny. But that is what Hollywood is selling and Spielberg is their best salesman by far. Yes I enjoyed ROTLA and ET but that was when I was 10. I think Spielberg makes good films for little kids because he tends to make everything black and white. He can pretend to take a hard subject matter and think he is conveying the ethical intricacies of the situation but he is just really creating a empty void where the audience first empathizes with the protagonist and then feels good that the protagonist has done the right thing. It's funny how all the critics are praising Spielberg for getting into the darker part of his psyche, the grown up part. Didn't they say the same thing when Schindler's List came out. Why make a holocaust film about a German Nazi who has a change of heart and starts saving the lives of Jewish prisoners? Because Spielberg thought he was tackling a subversive POV on the holocaust and still show it's atrocities but all he really wanted to do was get to that ridiculous speech at the end. To show that even this German cared and loved the Jews. If Spielberg really wanted to make a great film on the Holocaust he should have simply adapted Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz because that book is about the little details of being a Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp. It is about how over the span of I think 2 years a man is stripped of all his dignity and almost his humanity. It is heartbreaking because it shows an intelligent man unable to really resist the authority which binds him to drudgery. But Spielberg wanted an epic story about a man who wanted to make a change, a man who wanted to save lives. I'm sure there were flashes of courage but the reality was over 20 million Jews died. And this is why Spielberg should never be considered an American masterstoryteller like Kubrick, Welles, Wilder, Mann, the Coen Bros, Tarantino, Lee, etc... Because he's worldview is childish. Which is fine for childish films. Also I don't think Spielberg was being subversive with the bombardment of branding in the film. Because it wasn't scary that there was this almost ridiculous level of invasion of privacy. It was actually kind of cool in a wink wink kind of way. Because this man is all about Marketing. He is all about the manipulation of the masses and consumerism. When I watched it in the theater, all those annoying people in the 'know' were giggling when Anderton walked into the Gap because they got it and thought it was cool because this was the future and even though it was a little strange that we were going to lose our privacy it was kinda cool. Gap is going to know us, really know us - as consumers. SPOILER - How did Burgess know that by simply hiring a man to pretend he was Crow in hotel room full of pitcures of kids would cause Anderton to show up and shoot him? This seems completely preposterous to me. Did I miss something? I really thought about it. I'm Burgess and want Anderton to commit murder. I know he would kill the man who murdered his son Sean, so I hire a man to go to a hotel room with a picture of Sean. How does this get Anderton to that hotel room. What a stupid fucking movie. I'm sorry Moriarty Spielberg is a hack and I'm not getting suckered again by his marketing team.
June 26, 2002, 12:33 p.m. CST
...but now that I have seen it again with an audience, I somewhat like it. Here's the reason why: the first time I saw MR, the final line "The following year, there were 161 murders in the District of Columbia" didn't appear on screen. I loathed that apparently happy ending (I appreciate happy endings in general, but I thought that a film like MR shouldn't end that way), it reminded me of the awful final sequence of A.I., where Osment was awoken from his two millenia slumber by highly evolved mechas (NOT extraterrestrial beings, as some people misinterpreted). That final phrase changed everything, it redeemed the entire movie in my mind. Spielberg hasn't lost his talent after all. How about an MR sequel? ;)
June 26, 2002, 12:54 p.m. CST
first of all, the Lion King will almost certainly be coming out on DVD about a year from now (October) based on Disney's "genius" plan to take their greatest films and release them on DVD at the rate of one a year (last year's Snow White, the upcoming Beauty And The Beast). they're making wonderful DVDs but it's ridiculous that theyre staggering them so far apart. sheesh. DVD is probably going to be on its way out by the time they get through their intended 10 year cycle. but we do get to look forward to The Lion King on IMAX next year... ~~~~ I thought Minority Report was fantastic. I've been really disheartened by reading the reviews and talkbacks on this site. Why does everyone have to bicker so much about little details? I mean, I understand that these things do matter, and the film would have been stronger if it cleared them up, but what the fuck are you kids doing? THE VERY POINT OF BEING A FILM GEEK IS LOVE. TO BE ABLE TO GO TO A MOVIE AND LET IT COMPLETELY TAKE YOU OVER. TO HAVE A FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE AT THE THEATER. and for me, that's exactly what Minority Report was. it was exhilirating, it was entertaining, it was a fine piece of entertainment from a director who is finally on the way back to the top of his game. what compels you people to nitpick? why do you have to be so god-damned cynical all the time? jesus. but, then, i'm probably just restating the fundamental problem with talkback culture. most of you people make me sick. why do people who hate movies so much spend all their time here? an opinion is an opinion (for instance, that AOTC was a stinky piece of shit, but i saw it three times anyway) but it seems a lot of you people have preconceived opinions. THAT'S NOT AN HONEST OPINION. ~~~ fuck this noise. i'm outta here, having said nothing of substance. sorry if you wasted time reading my post.
June 26, 2002, 1:11 p.m. CST
we'll be living in a police state before long. but therein lies the paradox...our civil liberties are being slowly peeled away, taking from us the only thing that makes us the greatest nation in the world. but how are we to wage this "war" if we don't sweep the Bill of Rights under the carpet? that's a damn good question. almost as good a question as who it is we're waging war against! a small group of religious fantatics bent on perverting honest values and human behavior...so why don't we declare war on the Scientologists? ~~~ how do we stop people from attacking us in horrible, inhuman ways? well...WE CAN'T. no matter how many rights we take away from our own citizens. no matter what slogans we sandblast off of the statue of Liberty. the only thing we could have done is not insult and oppress other cultures. but it's too late for that. ~~~ Minority Report brings up a lot of these issues in an interesting, entertaining way, but the issue is serious, and it's too bad that it will COMPLETELY GO OVER THE AUDIENCE'S HEAD in 90% of the theaters in this country. we are a nation of buffoons. but we are a nation of FREE buffoons. for now, at least. ~~~ ok, i'm done pretending that anyone cares what i have to say, or that this had anything to do with Minority Report.
June 26, 2002, 1:13 p.m. CST
by Johnny Ahab
I love "Emperor's New Groove". Silly, breezy, zany, non-self-important, an underrated little gem. Saw it with my kids in theaters and we laughed and laughed, quoting lines at each other for weeks. Felt as if the animation division was allowed off the leash to go wacky. LOVE LIVE THE GROOVE!
June 26, 2002, 1:31 p.m. CST
Why the HELL did Spielberg cut that last line? Why oh why? That would have completely made the ending of Minority Report worth it. I mean, the movie was so full already of little twists of the knife that the final one at the end would have pushed the movie into near-masterpiece status, as opposed to a very good but extremely flawed piece of Sci-Fi. I am relieved to know that the line was in there, but unquestionably that last line makes the entire movie so much stronger that it isn't even funny! Please, Spielberg, for the DVD release, put it back in for the love of God. Add it into the final reel for any other prints that go out. Add it in for the 20th year anniversary. Trust me, your audience will thank you in the long run, even if it means they have to think a bit in the short run.
June 26, 2002, 1:53 p.m. CST
by Miss Aura
Youre right Mori, I think that both films would have gone down as classics of cinema if they lopped off the 20 minutes at the end. I would have loved it to end when Tom Cruise gets caught and jailed, at that one moment I thought to myself "He's done it, Spielberg has given us the tragic ending which should have also appeared in A.I. This would have made Minority Report into the greatest Sci Fi film I have seen, including the Star Wars franchise. HOLLYWOOD endings should be rid away with, its getting to the stage where you predict that the main hero will reign over all and have a lovely, wuverly life and live ever after all the time. It will kill film, they will all become predictable as an episode of any Soap Opera or Friends (Yuk). Minority Report is my film of the year so far. Even with this glitch, I believe that it is that good and dark (Please Lucas, Please) that it stands up as a film. Just please get the Hollywood endings out of here, lets tease the audience, lets show them something which would shock the hell out of them, lets tug at their heart strings and then rip them out. You pay for Amusement rides and you get the thrill, movies are becoming too complacent and predictable. A.I and Minority Report would both have been classics if not for this. How many more films will go the same way?
June 26, 2002, 2:04 p.m. CST
i still think that your review is great. thanx!! such stuff shows me always again how great it is to be here...thanx for all you`re great work!! well...i`ve got to agree with mori on the spidey soundtrack! the soundtrack doesn
June 26, 2002, 2:14 p.m. CST
How about this idea on why the precogs can see the murder? It is premediated because the main villan (forgot his name) has already thought up the plan to commit this murder. He just uses Anderton as the tool. An example of this would be a Mob boss ordering a hit on someone. The precogs would not see the Mob boss ordering the hit they would only see the person who committed the act. If this was said better in the forum sorry for repeating.
June 26, 2002, 3:34 p.m. CST
Lilo = Leela, the one-eyed mutant. Stitch = Nibbler, Leela's diaper wearing "pet" alien. I won't even mention the cyclopian monster from Monsters Inc. or Leeloo from The 5th Element.
June 26, 2002, 3:37 p.m. CST
The eyeball thing would probably work in the real world. Why? Because security systems are often lax and disconnected, especially if you have the peace of mind that having psychics on the force would provide. They'd probably not be too prompt about it, especially when they know where he's supposed to be. In real life, the CIA doesn't talk to the FBI and airport security could work without a college degree. As for the epilogue, well, I think people KNOW murders will begin again because of this. Tacking an epilogue like that on can be an insult to audience intelligence. Besides, sometimes such prologues can be mixed messages. I mean, is that the point? Hadn't a murder been concealed under that previous system, and couldn't people pervert the system so people in pre-crime could, for a fee provide you with access to your future murder, so you could fool the system? Even then, the dependability of such evidence is often questionable from the beginning. If you've seen the movie, you'll know what I mean. And, after everything is said and done, how oppressive of a situation can it be. The Spider-bots tour through that firetrap Anderton was hiding in shows just how oppressive. The movie itself raises quite enough questions including the one this epilogue was meant to raise, long before the end, which is supposed to be viewed with the rest of the movie in mind.
June 26, 2002, 3:42 p.m. CST
by Brooklyn Bred
No, I read it correctly. Sigh. Too bad you can't send racist bastards to a barren planet.
June 26, 2002, 4:04 p.m. CST
June 26, 2002, 4:24 p.m. CST
SPOILER ALERT BECAUSE I CAN'T HANDLE THE POP UPS from the washington post... Forget Dick Cheney's constant complaints about leaks. Yesterday New Line Cinema, citing everything but national security, pleaded with us not to publish details of the glitzy cameo appearances in "Austin Powers in Goldmember," the studio's summer blockbuster starring Mike Myers, which opens July 26. According to a source closely involved with the production, the opening sequence is an elaborate movie-within-a-movie featuring Tom Cruise as Austin Powers and Gwyneth Paltrow as the "busty babe" who keeps his mojo going. Danny DeVito plays Mini-Me and Kevin Spacey emotes as Dr. Evil.Director Steven Spielberg yells "cut," and the real story begins. We hear other cameos include Ozzy Osbourne and his family, John Travolta and Nathan Lane.
June 26, 2002, 4:31 p.m. CST
Is the classic play himself sleepwalking movie star. He is Tom Cruise and only Tom Cruise in everything he does and since I don't like Tom Cruise I can't compliment him for his "acting" or care to pay to see him play himself for $20M+some obscene % of the gross. That marketing nightmare is a lot closer than 50 years, BTW.This site has popup adds that annoy the shit out of me but Harry and co. have bills so so be it. :)
June 26, 2002, 4:38 p.m. CST
The whole concept of them, much less watching them in action annoyed the hell out of me. I hate invasive advertising just as much as Moriarty does. However, I disagree that there was any question of how the product placement would work in the film by the companies. So much of advertising is about just shoving some product in front of your face, that I doubt Pepsi Co., the Gap or Lexus had any qualms about putting their product in a Steven Spielberg film. And subversive? I don't think so when Anderton goes shopping for Agatha's clothing at the Gap. It was product placement attached to a plot point, which was the fact that Anderton could be tracked by anything that did a retina scan. Nothing in Minority Report is subversive, it's only suggested.
June 26, 2002, 5:26 p.m. CST
But since you're hell-bent on finding racism where none exists, this post is completely useless.
June 26, 2002, 9:23 p.m. CST
by dr. robert
1. How dare Cameron Crowe cameo in Minority Report after torturing us with the rubbish Vanilla Sky. 2. Has John Williams lost the plot? 3. Did anyone notice the similarity between the droid factory sequence in ATOC and the Lexus assembly line chase in MR? 4. How on earth can film critics dislike the brilliant Artificial Intelligence but rave about the bland MR? 5. Did anyonce notice that the aircraft used the Precrime unit resembled Slave 1 from ATOC? 6. Why were the last 20 minutes of MR so rubbish? 7. Am I the only one on the planet who thinks 1941 rocks?
June 26, 2002, 11:39 p.m. CST
That's why the film almost looks black & white in places.
June 26, 2002, 11:57 p.m. CST
Much as I'd like it to. Let's get this right? Everything after the Halo goes on is a dream then? So HOW DOES JOHN KNOW PRECISELY HOW AND WHERE COLIN FARRELL WAS KILLED? It's mentioned in a later scene - in his apartment with his gun. Now you could argue that TC is caught and haloed moments after he shoots Crow. This solves why CF is such a moron to invite the person he knows is a murderer to an out of the way location, without telling anyone a thing, and then gives the guy a loaded gun. However, why would TC's dream go around the houses in this way to come up with his imaginary happy ending? Why make his wife do it, when it would have been far easier for CF?
June 27, 2002, 12:51 a.m. CST
Too much of "Minority Report" is too creative to blow it off. (Like the advertisements that call out your name, thereby making John a marked man until he switches eyes.) Too much of "Minority Report" is visually spectacular to blow it off (like, the whole movie.) But still something seems wrong about the picture. Let us count the ways: 1. The last 20 minutes BECAUSE if you've seen "L.A. Confidential" (which comparatively few have), a major scene announces itself miles away -- and Spielberg even stages it the same way. 2. The last 20 minutes BECAUSE when Von Sydow talks about a victim who drowned and the wife says "I didn't say she drowned," this hoary plot device has been used from "Perry Mason" to "Columbo" to "Matlock" to "Murder She Wrote." Seeing the great Spielberg directing such a cookie-cutter piece of plotting was, simply, staggering. The same with Von Sydow's suicide. 3. The Stormare scene, from the snot to the eyeballs, reflects the Spielberg we've had,in varying degrees of quality, since "Schindler's List": grim, and committed to rubbing the audience's face in the reality of violence and effluent. ("Schindler's," "Amistad," "Saving Private Ryan," the psychological violence of "A.I," even part of "The Lost World," with a dog being eaten and a milquetoast hero being torn apart by T-Rexs.) This same switch flipped with Hitchcock after "North by Northwest" and Woody Allen (in a non-violent way) after "Love and Death." Something within them decided that "maturity" equalled the removal of joy or lightness from the comic and/or suspenseful genres in which they operated. And now Spielberg's in the same place. (Does getting real rich make you want to show people how horrible the world is?) 4. Cruise. I believe that part of the reason guys like him make $25 million plus a show is so the rest of us who make a lot less can take potshots. Here's mine. He's buff, he's intense, he's charismatic, but he still doesn't have the chops to go the emotional distance and the fact that its taken this long for Spielberg to work with him suggests how hard it was to find a project that might work for the two of them. Hanks (the other multi-million dollar Tom) found the emotional center of "Saving Private Ryan" from the get-go, because that's how Hanks is. Cruise had to work, work, work for his emotional effects and Spielberg, looking to make it work, elected to hinge Cruise's character on the cruelty of a child kidnapping(murder?) to work our emotions for us. It still doesn't go the distance, and the child murder aspect (suggested?) is extremely unpalatable when used as a character-sympathy device. 5. I agree Spielberg is not the person he was. Probably inevitable. But part of his "growth" had been the kind of lazy plot papering that comes with being a director to whom no underling dare say "no." Did "Jurassic Park" have anywhere near the quirky characters of "Jaws?" (Remember Laura Dern's "people are DYING out there!") "Minority Report," for all its dazzle, reflects an older, pampered sensibility that manifests in the predictable passages near the end (and the nods to "LA Confidential," "Matlock," and the other Dicks like "Blade Runner' and "Total Recall.") Two final points, off-point: 1. "Minority Report" doesn't look different from other recent Spielbergs. The color tints and "frame stutters" (the merry-go-round in the opening) are straight from "Saving Private Ryan." Wonder how "Indy IV" is gonna look? 2. Cruise's escape from the car assembly line not only apes the recent "Star Wars;" it is a revamp of a scene Hitchcock cut from "North by Northwest." Steal from the best, I always say. Come and get me!
June 27, 2002, 12:03 p.m. CST
great movie. I was a little confused, but i think I worked out how the bad guy devised teh setup. 1) Maybe the bad guy made several setups until one worked. The "real" setup would be known because the PreCogs would see it. (this is unlikely) 2) Maybe the bad guy implanted the thoughts into the PreCogs knowing that John was a good detective and always found his man (as evidenced by the 0 crime rate). Yes he stumbled across the killer and thats what the PRECOGS visioned. Had he actually located the destination from a map or by some other means, the PRECOG vision would have been different but the end result would have been the same. The end result is what the bad guy planned not the when it happened. Also,it was necessary for teh bad guy to allow John to have access to the prison, he needed Agatha gone because he was afraid the new guy would stumble across the bunk prison records much like John did, and he would have to eliminate this guy. After all, the detective was sent there to investigate by the DOJ.
June 27, 2002, 12:34 p.m. CST
SPOILER - AGAIN, how did Burgess know that by simply hiring a man to pretend he was Crow in hotel room full of pitcures of kids would cause Anderton to show up and shoot him? This seems completely preposterous to me. Did I miss something? I really thought about it. I'm Burgess and want Anderton to commit murder. I know he would kill the man who murdered his son Sean, so I hire a man to go to a hotel room with a picture of Sean. How does this get Anderton to that hotel room. Forget who premeditated what how does it make sense that the Precog has the vision of Anderton getting to that room and then actually have Anderton show up. This means that everybody in DC can plant evidence in random places and then have the victims or the prepetrators show up simply because it involves them (and not even really because the guy is not even Crow)? I mean there are a lot of other glaring plot holes that other posters have mentioned about why Burgess' name never seems to come up in those stupid 'wood' balls but this one was so distracting when I saw the movie that my suspension of disbelief had been snapped for the rest of the film. What a stupid fucking movie. I'm sorry Moriarty Spielberg is a hack and I'm not getting suckered again by his marketing team.
June 27, 2002, 12:36 p.m. CST
by The Hillbrothers
Now that I know about the last, cut line, I'm disappointed in the film. I liked it, but was slightly let down by the too happy ending. That cut line would have been just PERFECT. It would have been one last "wow" before leaving the theater, and the movie could have used it. I am so let down by Spielberg for that. And you know, Moriarty, if you hadn't read the script you wouldn't have been disappointed there at the end either, so you really can't help comparing the film to the screenplay, but I'm glad I know about this now. Maybe if it gets back to Spielberg he'll realize his mistake and add the line back in for the DVD.
June 27, 2002, 6:01 p.m. CST
fyi... Got this from the confidential page at reel.com: "I've been a fan of your column for some time so you might be the man to help me here. Like many of your readers, I enjoyed Minority Report. I left the theater completely entertained. However, that night I started thinking about the plot and I've come to the decision that one key twist is all but impossible. "Anderton (Cruise) is set up by Burgess (Max von Sydow) because he discovered the drowning murder of Agatha's mother. The film easily explains how Burgess was able to fool the precogs and commit the murder. The precog vision of Anderton killing Leo Crow is what sets him in motion to find the apartment, the child photos, and Crow. But how did Burgess make the vision occur? Because Anderton was the killer, not the one being killed (which Burgess could pay someone to do to create a vision), there's no way Burgess could have reconstructed or initiated the vision Anderton saw of him killing Crow. He would have never met Crow had it not been for that vision and Burgess could not have done anything to make the vision occur. It just doesn't fly. I'd love to hear Spielberg or Columbia's answer
June 27, 2002, 10:47 p.m. CST
Why, precisely, would an ending where Anderton actually dreamed the last 20 minutes of the movie make the film better? People on this talkback and the one connected to Harry's review claim the movie would have redeemed itself if Cruise's character had been revealed to have been dreaming, and then the same people promptly call Spielberg an idiot? An idiot? While this film is by no means perfect, if you want to discuss the art of movies, think about what you're saying: would a dream sequence actually have made this a better movie? "Surprise, the world sucks, and Max von Sydow got away with murder! See how screwed up the system is?" The movie already articulated that the Pre-Crime system was imperfect, and I also think it was to be expected that murders would once again increase in Washington, D.C. But regarding the ending, why would the 'Brazil' ending redeem this movie? People may be sick of Spielberg's "treacly" endings, or they may argue that the shift in narrative pace and structure would only be acceptable if Cruise were dreaming, but in actuality, I don't think it would have made the film any better. For those who prefer darker movies, it might have been more enjoyable, perhaps. Perhaps you could even stretch for a metaphorical connection, stating that a dream would symbolize the delusion that people subject themselves to in 'Minority Report''s society that they are not prisoners of their own government, that they lived in a good world. The ending wasn't a dream sequence, however, so thatessage was not the one Spielberg and Scott Frank were trying to get across.
June 29, 2002, 1:22 a.m. CST
It underlines how he plays into his own worst instincts as a director (at least when handling heavy material) and his lack of understanding of the noir genre in general, which is the basis for Phillip K. Dick's story. http://slate.msn.com/?id=2067489
Dec. 5, 2002, 5:35 p.m. CST
Saw MR on DVD...great film. Mori you are wrong on this one. If you had kids you'd know that the sadness of the loss of Andertons first child permeated and was still there at the end of the film. Its a bit like your problems with AI..superficially you see a happy ending but it isn't there (having a mommy at the end was not real and that made that film incredibly sad)...and that's life mate. Only thing a bit out of place in MR was the comedic bits..could have done without them..but hey sometimes life can be funny as well even in tragedy. Speilberg has delivered two cracking films here and is undoubtedly one of the most consistently great directors about. Oh and no-one can say "Fuck last posters up their stupid asses " because I am last !
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