Never mind that Philip K. Dick's name makes me giggle every
time I say it. Never mind that he was a pretty shitty writer,
mostly trying too hard to be Raymond Chandler. Despite that, the
guy had some really good fucking ideas. I can almost understand
why Hollywood keeps digging him up and scraping his dead bones
for more meat. It's a perfect marriage of an industry and a man
that loved high-concept and as little substance as necessary to
pose as "profound."
In the short story that Minority Report is based on
Dick (tee-hee) came up with a pretty cool way to look at destiny
and the future as more than just an unknown destination. By creating
a trio of characters (pre-cognitives) that can see the future,
he asked the same question I ask myself every Saturday night:
Knowing what will happen, can I change my fate? If so, doesn't
that mean I didn't know the future after all?
If I know I am going to the Arvada Tavern to get really drunk,
lose my bicycle and then fall down, hit my face on the curb and
shatter a molar while walking home, will I still do it? Probably
because this happens every God damn week. Still, there is that
moment every weekend where I say to myself "I don't want
to fuck up my face again. They hate me at the free clinic."
What if I deny fate and don't go one week ? Will I never again
be able to know for sure what will happen on Saturday nights?
I don't know yet, because I'm so fucking stupid I keep going.
Enter Steven Spielberg, the fucking Costco of directors. His
movies are filled with "jumbo-sized" boxes of everything.
His current definition of great is "too much is never enough."
There's never an individual serving size or, God forbid, a fun
size. No, he wants you to buy the whole fucking thing and eat
it until you're sick. He takes the simple and intriguing noir
story with a twist and smothers the life out of it with all of
his horseshit attempts to catch up to The Matrix and self-imposed
sense of importance. An idea that should have played out as a
tight little hard-boiler like The Maltese Falcon or The
Big Sleep takes 137 long and showy minutes. And just like
that fucker always does, he assumes we're all so fucking stupid
that he has to spend the last twenty minutes explaining the entire
thing to us and making sure all the good guys are happy and the
bad guys are punished.
Super-important sci-fi movies always show the future as slate gray
and cold blue. In Minority Report, Spielberg makes sure his
movie is the grayest and bluest of them all. He's that great a director.
It's 2054 and Tom Cruise (all teeth and jaws) works in Washington
DC's pre-crime division. Three pre-cognitives (named Arthur, Agatha
and Dashiell for Conan Doyle, Christie and Hammett--an obvious reference
to the authors Dick (wiener!) wishes he were) foresee murders. Cruise
then tracks down the potential killers and arrests them before the
crime can happen. Like all noir anti-heros he has a past that prevents
him from being entirely altruistic. His young son was kidnapped
and presumed murder and the pre-cognition system would have saved
him. He believes the system is flawless and necessary. Since the
disappearance, Cruise has been estranged from his wife and hooked
on a futuristic illegal drug called Neuroin.
The DC pre-cog program is a test and an upcoming election can
turn it into a powerful nationwide program. It's a political football.
Colin Farrell is an ambitious little shit working for the justice
system. He's looking for flaws in pre-crime. How do they know
they have the right person? How do they know the murder would
have happened if they stop it before it could have? Farrell is
eager to dig up shit on Cruise and take his job. He discovers
the neuroin addiction. The pre-cogs foresee a pre-meditated murder
with Cruise killing a man he has never met. Cruise must now either
believe that he will kill the man or that the system he believes
in is flawed. Cruise runs, and he has to decide if the system
is flawed or if he is being set up.
This movie is as powerfully overblown as Kirk Member was on
Lip Planet in Suck Rodgers in the 69th Century. Sure Minority
Report looks nice, but so do those Franklin Mint figurines
of little boys taking their first shits. And just like those,
the question is why be so extravagant? The point that everybody
poops does not require a limited-edition, hand-painted porcelain
doll. This crime thriller doesn't need similar treatment. I guess
what I'm saying it that just because the futuristic element of
the story sounds like something off a Rush album that doesn't
mean it has to be just as overproduced. And for God's sake, someone
shut Geddy Lee up.
It's a story that would have worked a hell of a lot better
on the cheap, down and dirty and starring unknown people that
don't have the baggage of that asshole Cruise. Spielberg is so
fucking anal that his dirty and gritty looks like it came from
"Architectural Digest." He is eager to please the people
and to assume we're idiots looking for nothing more than eye candy
so he makes his dark and dingy aesthetically appealing and full
of gee-whiz techno crap. He smothers the story in layers and layers
of "look-at-this" moments that don't add anything. He
should watch Touch of Evil to get the right look and to
see how a big-shot director really can make a dirty, ugly movie.
The cool bits, like the way people's privacy has slowly been
eroded to the point that they are automatically identified by
retina scanners wherever they go, are totally undermined. Holy
shit, it would be creepy to go to the liquor store with Mrs. Filthy
and hear some disembodied voice say "Welcome back, Mr. Filthy.
We set aside the latest issue of Naked Amputee for you."
I'd be fucked. But, in this movie that angle is sold to the highest
bidder. Gap, Pepsi and about a dozen others sell their shit through
Spielberg's dystopian vision, and they sure as hell aren't trying
to look bad doing it.
Cruise is the worst person to put in the movie, unless your
goal was to sell tickets to jackasses who go to movies based on
whose name is above the title. An unknown would have worked better
because any unknown, including my retard cousin Larry, is a better
actor. Second, Tom Cruise is always Tom Cruise, shitty, monochromatic
midget with a tense jaw. And because of who he is, I never stop
thinking "That's that asshole Tom Cruise up there."
The ending is so fucking annoying. Oh gosh, I'll spoil it for
all you whiny babies who think you can't enjoy a movie if I give
away plot points. But, really, fuck those simpletons whose only
joy in movies is being "surprised." I think their local
TV stations might have reviews better suited to them. Through
more twists than my uncle's inverted big intestine, Cruise comes
out okay and cleans up. He has to because he's a fucking movie
star. The blue-gray sky becomes hazy yellow and he reunites with
his wife and all is hunky dory. This is Spielberg's biggest insult
to noir. There is no lingering vagueness or evil lurking in the
closet. Everything is absolutely wonderful and love has conquered
the dystopian world. The future is a sun-soaked lake cottage and
a baby on the way.
Bullshit. This is what happens when directors like Spielberg
say they want to go dark. They don't commit and we end up with
a pussed-out, compromised version of something that could have
been great. Two Fingers.