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July 01, 2002 - Image 10

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-07-01

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ARTS

I

Monday
July 1, 2002 1

'MINORITY' REPORTS TO BACK OF CLASSROOM

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Splberg's declze contiues wih 'Report'
By Todd Weiser for Pre-Crime's effectiveness comes when the lottery balls
Daily ArtsWriter that reveal a future murder's victim and perpetrator identify
Anderton himself of intending to murder a man he has never
Based on the Philip K. Dick short story "The Minority even met before. Anderton immediately runs, giving him a
Report," Steven Spielberg's latest sci-fi adventure has the chance to prove his innocence and also utter that most irrita-
makings of something historic. As advertisers ble of taglines "everybody runs." Eventually,
boast, the eminent Hollywood director teamingtst Anderton feels he must kidnap the most power-
up with the biggest of stars, Tom Cruise, for a ful of the precogs, Agatha (Samantha Morton),
smart, futuristic thriller. However, Spielberg so she can help him see his future and clear his
should have put a little more time into develop- MINORITY name.
ing a cohesive, exciting script before runing NREPORT Morton, Oscar-nominated for her role in
into production. RPR Woody Allen's "Sweet and Lowdown" and sim-
"Minority Report" begs to be taken seriously At Showcase and ply wonderful in the incredible but not widely
for its pseudo-intelligent joy ride through 2054 Quality 16 seen "Jesus' Son," exemplifies the letdown of
Washington, D.C., but Spielberg never decides this Hollywood stinker. Morton deserves the
what film he wants to make and the predictable 20th Century Fix kind of attention the names Spielberg and
script suggests that an inventive setting can Cruise draw, and "Minority Report" seems like
make up for cliched situations and conclusions. . the perfect vehicle to launch her talent onward. But the film
Detective John Anderton (Cruise) is the chief of the Pre- vastly underuses this talent, bringing her seemingly crucial
Crime Department, a revolutionary attempt to prevent murder role into the foreground all too late in its all too long run-
through the use of three precogs, a trio of children cotuing ning time.
from drug addicted mothers and then genetically altered to John Williams accentuates the onscreen action with the
see the future. Despite preventing all murders in the D.C. worst score of his career. While accompanying music is sup-
area, Pre-Crime is not yet nationwide, but an upcoming vote posed to complement the onscreen mood while heightening
might just change that. To verify that the system is as perfect viewers' reactions, Williams' score overshadows every visual,
as Anderton and Pre-Crime Director Burgess (Max Von becoming distracting. It can be added to the long list of
Sydow) claim it is, the Justice Department sends young, enjoyment distractions "Minority Report" places in front of
eager agent Danny Witwer (Colin viewers.
Farrell, "Hart's War") to probe Scene after scene rotates from one genre to another; Spiel-
its accuracy. berg never fully commits into making either a futuristic
The perfect test farce, a cautionary tale of fate interfered or a modern detec-
tive noir. And once you buy into one of these technically per-
feet setups, the subsequent scene's action usually reverts to a
contrasting style, making events appear out of place in the
- film you thought you were enjoying.
Combining and connecting scenes of fantasy (usually sexu-
al) parlors and dropped eyeballs with moments of pure Spiel-
berg sentimentality not only seems impossible, but it is.
Expecting more from screenwriter Scott Frank, responsible
for the sexiest, coolest picture of the past 10 years ("Out of
Sight"), is not too much to ask. Instead, viewers are forced to
consume retreads of the horrors of science fiction past.
Spielberg, Cruise, Frank, Morton, Williams ... the list goes
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox on and on, are all better than scenes that appear to steal
'No more bad movies Splelbergl' directly from such lowlights as "Demolition Matn" and

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Kids, do not pull people out of radiation before the oven beeps.
"Timecop." Yes, as in the Jean-Claude Van Damme "Time-
cop." Not exactly the best stealing from the best, now is it?
Films like this deserve 3,000-word essays on what went
wrong in the collaboration and what could and should have
been. It's honestly depressing to witness the moments that
work in "Minority Report" (i.e. Peter Stormare as the eye
surgeon who likes to watch his patients burn) because those
moments only last so long.
Possibly, Steven Spielberg's evolution from the PG world
into the darker, R-rated director he needs to be is a slow one
that will one day yield Kubrick-like masterpieces. But as for
right now, Spielberg continues to censor his best decisions
and the viewer pays the price.

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