Minority Report (Blu-ray)

Everybody runs.

In the future, murder is a thing of the past in Washington DC. With a homicide rate out of control, the city turned to a radical new approach to clean up the streets: three pale, bald kids. These folks have the power to see a murder before it happens and they’re never wrong. Taking these visualizations, the pre-crime cop force, led by John Anderton (Tom Cruise, Mission: Impossible: III), nabs the perpetrator before he actually perpetrates anything and life goes on swimmingly.

Things get stressful when a nosy government official (Colin Farrell, Alexander) begins poking around the pre-crime department and if that wasn’t bad enough, John is shocked to discover the identity of the next murderer: himself.

Minority Report has some of the coolest, most memorable sci-fi action imagery I’ve ever seen. But even those jetpacks and spider crawlers can’t overshadow the big pacing problems that menace the film, which eventually takes an awesome concept using flawless effects and standout performances (Farrell really is awesome here) and turns it into sort of a slog.

At its core, Minority Report is a mystery and I get that. Unfortunately, the big action sequences are so front-loaded that when they expire — and they do, for the duration — the film must fight back against both the expectation of more kick-ass mayhem that never comes and the realization that, well, I guess there isn’t going to be any more kick-ass mayhem so the mystery better be great. Which, frankly it isn’t. It’s good. It’s serviceable. There’s one murder at the center of the plot and it’s clear who’s to blame. The ins and outs of the motive are only left to unearth and even those aren’t super-engrossing.

The pacing really is wacky. When the shinola hits the future version of the fan, the energy level skyrockets. John engages in three consecutive amazingly staged action set-pieces: the Frogger turbo car leap, the jet-pack showdown and the fight in the auto plant. Each of these work exceptionally well. But why blow the wad so soon? I’m not advocating that Spielberg should have turned Minority Report into Armageddon, but the story just doesn’t have enough stature to stand on its own amidst the drawn-out sequences of exposition, anticlimactic reveals, bloated runtime and mythology rules that don’t really make a whole lot of sense when dwelt upon.

Enough bellyaching. There is still plenty to dig and even a lukewarm fan like myself was wowed by the Blu-ray. Paramount’s new 2.35:1 widescreen transfer sports a high-def visual fidelity that should definitely plaster a smile on viewers. The look of the film is still green and gray, but the world of Minority Report is no less striking in the boosted resolution. Details are razor sharp and the effects hold up incredibly well under the microscope, a testament to their quality. A terrific DTS-HD Master Audio pumps out a fusillade of effects through the back channels (as well as the largely forgettable John Williams soundtrack). Extras include an interactive, branching look at pre-crime featuring interview with Spielberg, the cast and crew, previz and storyboard sequences, production art and the following bushel of featurettes:

Phillip K. Dick, Steven Speilberg and Minority Report HD
Minority Report: Future Realized HD
Minority Report: Props of the Future HD
Highlights from Minority Report: From the Set
Minority Report: Commercials of the Future HD
From Story to Screen
Deconstructing Minority Report
The Stunts of Minority Report
ILM and Minority Report
Final Report

There’s a lot of good stuff in there, though I would have appreciated a sexier next-gen feature, like an in-movie experience. This would have been an ideal release for it.

I’d give it a judgment…but you already know what it is, right?


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