Saturday, July 06, 2002

I finally saw Minority Report and I confess that I found the film fairly disappointing and didn't really care for it. It just had a fairly predictable, and very conventional thriller plot grafted on to Philip K. Dick's weirdness, and a bit too much Spielbergian sentimentality. I didn't find the future world presented to be as striking as I had hoped. It was more a matter of start with the present and then extrapolate just a little. We had flying vehicles, advertisements that greet you by name (this happens to me now when I go to Virginia Postrel's Weblog) but little that could be described as strange or unexpected. It was certainly no Blade Runner . The film was okay, but I don't really get the extent of some of the raves it has got.

Spoilers to follow. Stop reading if you haven't seen the movie but intend to.

As for the plot, what was the business with the eyes? Tom Cruise knows that he will be identified by retinal scanners if he attempts to go near his workplace, so he has a black market surgeon replace his eyes with somebody else's. He keeps his old eyes in plastic bags, so that when he gets to his workplace, he can take the disembodied eyes up near the retinal scanner and get into the building. Huh? (Also, he is recognised by several people who know what he looks like). Yes, the new eyes allowed for one or two cool scenes in the movie, plus he could later be greeted by "Hello, Mr Yamamoto" when he went to buy clothes in The Gap, but in terms of hiding his identity, they were a bit of a bust. And if the retinal scanners were so easy to fool with eye transplants and eyes detatched from bodies, is it really such a great idea to use them for security anyway? And why couldn't he be greeted in the Gap outlet with "Hello Mr Hillary, how was the Gore-Tex jacket", or "Hello Mr Hoover, how did the trench coat work out?", or something really fun.

To top it all off, we had one of the hoariest cliches in movie plotting.

"Do you know anything about the death of ?"
"No, I have never heard of her. But I will look into any cases of women who drowned in our records, and if I find anything...".
"I didn't say she drowned".

This is surely on a par with "And so Mr Bond, before I order all my henchmen to go somewhere else and I kill you in a peculiarly ingenious way, I am going to tell you my entire plan". Remind me to be this careful next time I am implementing my plans for world domination.

(Disclaimer: when seeing the movie, my mood was spoiled somewhat by a projectionist who forgot to put the anamorphic lens on the projector, requiring me to leave the film and complain before I was able to watch it properly).

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