Minority Report

It’s the year 2054, iPhones are probably great, and a businessman is about to kill his wife for cheating on him. His wife is pretty bad at cheating, though. Her lover or baby daddy or whatever just lurks across the street in the park like a weirdo staring at the house. Hey Casanova, this isn’t the line at Zaxby’s and that house isn’t the fryer where chicken comes out. Maybe play it cool for a second.

Too bad for the lil’ future murderer— Tom Cruise is a pre-crime cop and has three psychics sleeping in a jacuzzi, so they already know what he’s planning to do. Tom Cruise is like HEY DON’T DO THAT and arrests the guy for even thinking about killing his bumbling wife and her doofus lover.

The psychics are called “precogs”. The precogs are named after mystery writers Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dashiell Hammett. I guess Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote didn’t make the cut. That lady solved like a million murders and she was old as hell. They should have made an artificial intelligence of Jessica Fletcher and let her solve all the crime. Murder, she computed. You’ve just been arrested by FLETCHERBOT.

When the precogs see a murder about to happen, a fancy wooden ball rolls down a set of glass tubes, the name of the victim is engraved on the wooden ball, then the ball is painted. The murderer’s name also gets a ball. I guess their first two ideas to squash the victim’s name into a penny and have a custom Hummel figurine created in the murderer’s likeness didn’t work out.

When a murderer’s ball comes down with Tom Cruise’s name on it, he’s like, “No way am I going to murder somebody in the future, I don’t care what an elegant painted wooden ball says!” I know, right? If I had a nickel for every time a handcrafted sphere made of the finest oak falsely accused me of homicide, I’d be able to buy my own FLETCHERBOT.

Tom Cruise goes on the run and has to break out of a car that drives itself on a weird sideways highway full of other robot cars that drive themselves. He kicks his way out of the Death Cab for Cruise-y and kidnaps Agatha. They go to the scene of the crime where he is supposed to kill some guy name Leo Crow. Not that he needs a backstory, but I wonder if Leo Crow is Sheryl Crow’s great-great grandson.

Crow wants Tom Cruise to kill him so his family gets money. So he tries to be Tom Cruise’s “Favorite Mistake”. Cruise doesn’t want to shoot him or bring him “Anything But Down”, but he thinks “A Change Would Do You Good”. He’s barely “Strong Enough” not to pull the trigger because he thinks Crow killed his son and in his mind, “All I Wanna Do” is murder him for revenge. Then I ran out of Sheryl Crow song titles.

Minority Report is based on a Philip K. Dick short story. As I understand it, someone once made a Philip K. Dick robotic head that got stolen. Also, according to the movie Waking Life, Philip K. Dick wrote another story that sort of weirdly came true and freaked him out. When I think of Philip K. Dick, I think of parallel dimensions, cigarette smoke and my high school theater teacher who wore impossibly short Daisy Dukes and looked like Philip K. Dick.

Just like with Blade Runner or Total Recall or The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, if you’re watching a movie based on a Philip K. Dick story you’re probably going to get an excellent science fiction experience. However, if you’re watching a theater director who looks like Philip K. Dick, you’re just going to see way too much pale middle-aged man leg.

Oh, also- there are really incredible touch-screen computers in the movie. But for some reason, instead of wireless data transfer or a Dropbox account, they move all pictures and data between computers on little glass panels that display whatever it is that’s on the disc. Hope you weren’t trying to move your porn collection.

Between the carved wood and the glass paned USB drives, it’s like someone saw a antique Italian chest of drawers and decided to make all the world’s computers like it. Or maybe steampunk finally took over. I thought I saw Tom Cruise wearing a little top hat with unnecessary gears glued to it.

Good night, everybody! Minority report!

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