The System is Perfect: Minority Report

Discussion in 'Archive: SF&F: Films and Television' started by JediTrilobite, Feb 23, 2006.

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  1. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I think that one of my top favorite SciFi movies is Minority Report. When I saw it in theatres, it had the story, visuals, style and acting that all just clicked and personally, it's a lot smarter than a lot of the SciFi films that have been out there in the past, and even now.

    Story: In Washington, D.C., in the year 2054, murder has been eliminated. The future is seen and the guilty punished before the crime has ever been committed. From a nexus deep within the Justice Department's elite Pre-Crime unit, all the evidence to convict--from imagery alluding to the time, place and other details--is seen by "Pre-Cogs," three psychic beings whose visions of murders have never been wrong. It is the nation's most advanced crime force, a perfect system. And no one works harder for Pre-Crime than its top man, Chief John Anderton. Destroyed by a tragic loss, Anderton has thrown all of his passion into a system that could potentially spare thousands of people from the tragedy he lived through. Six years later, the coming vote to take it national has only fueled his conviction that Pre-Crime works. Anderton has no reason to doubt it... until he becomes its #1 suspect. As the head of the unit, Anderton is the first to see the images as they flow from the liquid suspension chamber where the Pre-Cogs dream of murder. The scene is unfamiliar, the faces unknown to him, but this time, the killer's identity is clear--John Anderton will murder a total stranger in less than 36 hours. Now with his own unit tracking his every move, led by his rival Danny Witwer, Anderton must go below the radar of the state-of-the-art automated city, where every step you take is monitored. Because you can't hide, everybody runs. With no way to defend himself against the charge of Pre-Crime, John must trace the roots of what brought him here, and uncover the truth behind the questions he has spent the past six years working to eliminate: Is it possible for the Pre-Cogs to be wrong?


    Thoughts?
  2. Sn4tcH Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 4
    You know, I've heard a lot of people say they hate this movie. Not really sure why. I thought the movie was very cool. I remember putting it off for a long time just because I didn't have the desire to go out and see it. Finally I caught it at the cheap seats, and man, I was wowed.

    I haven't watched it for a couple years, but I own it on DVD. And I rarely buy movies on DVD so, if I actually own it... well that says something.
  3. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I loved the coloring/shading throughout the entire time, that washed out/grainy look. Visually, it was fantastic.
  4. Sn4tcH Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 4
    You know, I think that was initially one of the reasons I was turned off by it? It almost looked like a dream, and I don't like falling asleep during movies. But the style just was beautiful in the movie. Plus at the time it hit all the right cords for me. I love a good sci-fi, I mean... I hang out at a Star Wars forum... so duh. But at the time I was really into crime thrillers, like Silence of the Lambs and Seven. So to see those two kind of twisted together... I liked it. :)
  5. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    The gritty nature of the movie just fit, at least for me. Plus, there are some great angles of camera during some of the action scenes.

  6. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Technically this film was great. Visually with the style of the color and image processing, the visual effects, all of that was spectacular.

    The problem is that the movie makes no sense whatsoever.

    Anderton is implicated in a future murder, and in trying to find out what might lead to that murder he winds up in precisely the situation he's trying to avoid. The stuff of Greek tragedy. Destiny cannot be evaded.

    However, where does that prevision come from? It is ONLY the prevision itself that leads him on the path to fulfilling it. Therefore, if there had been no prevision, he would never have gotten to that point in the first place. The idea was to try to "frame" him, but there was no actual, active attempt to frame him. The only set-up was the set of pictures in the hotel room, a hotel room Anderton would not have found except for the clues in the prevision -- and since previsions cannot be fabricated, (though those viewing them can be fooled) how could those who set him up know where to place those pictures, and how did he luckily get led to them when they took no active steps to get him there?

    A prevision is only triggered by a future murder. In this case, the prevision was the CAUSE of the eventual murder, which means if there had been no prevision, none of that would have happened. There should have been no prevision. The plot is complete nonsense.

    M. Scott
  7. Moleman1138 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2004
    star 6
    One of my favorites for Spielberg. Sure it has Tom Cruise in it :( and Colin Farrell :) , but what I really like is the grittiness of the future. It truly is a piece of work that definitely got overlooked especially with A.I. the year before.
  8. plo_koom Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 5
    Thanks for the spoilers. :_|
  9. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    Why would you come into this thread if you hadn't seen the movie?

    Spoiler policy is that spoilers are kept in their own thread until two weeks after a film's release, at which point general discussion assumes that you have seen the film.

    Seeing as how the film came out about three and a half years ago (approximately 172 weeks ago), you probably shouldn't have entered the thread if you didn't want to know. Besides that, I was hardly specific about any of it. So either you're joking, or you brought it upon yourself.

    M. Scott
  10. jangoisadrunk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2005
    star 4
    But since it did, indeed, happen, it could be previsualized. I actually like the plot's insane mobius strip nature. And I think you are making too large of an assumption when you say the prevision can't have happened since it was the prevision the set off the chain of events. It's possible that in another timeline all the pertinant information was mailed to Anderton and that ended in the murder that triggered the prevision which cause the murder in the movie timeline. It's not a perfect explanation, but the movie doesn't warrant one in my opinion.

    As far as the movie itself goes, I loved it. It's my favorite Spielberg movie and one of only a handful of movies on DVD that I own (and doesn't have "Star Wars", "Lord of the Rings", or "Matrix" in the title). JediTrilobite is right about the cinematography. So many scenes, if frozen, could work as paintings. Real science fiction on film is rarely done so well.
  11. Jedi_Master_Conor Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2005
    star 6
    i thought it was an ok movie. good performances by all the actors even though i'm not a big fan of Tom Cruise
  12. Sn4tcH Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 22, 2004
    star 4
    I make a lot of jokes about Colin Farrell being the death of a movie. But I totally forgot he was in this! I'm not saying I don't like Colin though, I'm just saying the scripts he chooses end up being... uhm... bad.
  13. malkieD2 Ex-Manager and RSA

    Member Since:
    Jun 7, 2002
    star 7
    I've been trying to explain the paradox to people for years now, but I've always had trouble getting my point across. Thanks for putting it in a very simple way :)

    I ranted about this movie in the Philip K Dick's stories make no sense thread - you should read it some time.
  14. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    However, where does that prevision come from? It is ONLY the prevision itself that leads him on the path to fulfilling it. Therefore, if there had been no prevision, he would never have gotten to that point in the first place. The idea was to try to "frame" him, but there was no actual, active attempt to frame him. The only set-up was the set of pictures in the hotel room, a hotel room Anderton would not have found except for the clues in the prevision -- and since previsions cannot be fabricated, (though those viewing them can be fooled) how could those who set him up know where to place those pictures, and how did he luckily get led to them when they took no active steps to get him there?

    This paradox comes from a time travel idea of conjruing information from nowhere. A teacher goes into the future and picks up a manual of a scientific theory. He goes into the past and shows it to a student. The student then goes on to research the therory and publishes a paper on it. The manuel the teacher snatched turns out to be created from the work the student researched. So where did the information come from? Not the student, he was shown the work from the future.

    A prevision is only triggered by a future murder. In this case, the prevision was the CAUSE of the eventual murder, which means if there had been no prevision, none of that would have happened. There should have been no prevision. The plot is complete nonsense.

    The only real fix for the movie is one that is not shown. At some point Lamar would have tipped of Anderton as to who his son's kidknapper was. Perhaps not in person, just leaving some clue for Anderton to find. He then goes off and kills "Crow". The Precogs do not see the set up, just the murder. They beat Lamar to the punch in tipping of Anderton who just happen to be on duty to see himself kill Crow. What the movie suggests is that there is more than one timeline, or that you do not have a predetermined destiny. Agatha tells him that he can still choose. And we given what I just suggested it would mean that there could have been a reality in which Lamar plants a clue and Anderton kills "Crow" at such-and-such time, or the events that we see happen because Anderton sees the killing himself.

  15. bgii_2000 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2005
    star 4
    But the prevision DOESN'T come true. He doesn't kill Crow, Crow kills himself.

    But seriously, whenever you mess with time you get paradox. Always. You just have to suspend disbelief and watch the movie. If you're not gonna do that, there's no point in watching it.
  16. Darth_Banal Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 6
    I was OK with the future questions. I think I had a harder time accepting that the top cop in the nation's capital was getting high every night and no one noticed.

    I too liked the grainy, gray sheen the film was shot in.

    There sure was a lot of human fluid spraying around in that movie...blood, mucus, vomit, eyeball juices..:p
  17. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    The prevision consists of Anderton's gun gowing off and Crow going out the window and that's exactly what happens regardless of who's fault it was. You'll also notice that the ball is brown and not red. The crime is pre-meditated by Lamar but "carried out" by Anderton, that's what the Precogs see. Anderton is there at the death scene, not Lamar and that's why the Precogs see it that way. It is incomplete, it is an error, Crow does wind up killing himself, and that is why the whole thing is shut down.
  18. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    No, the prevision consists of Anderton very clearly, and in cold blood, killing Crow. He says "Goodbye Crow" and pulls the trigger. That Crow still dies is inarguable, but the prevision is not misinterpreted. It is a murder that never happens because Anderton has seen it and makes the choice to defy it. But it still remains that he was NOT motivated toward the crime by anything besides the prevision, which makes no sense.

    Like you said, all he had to do was get an envelope to start him down the path of clues. Heck, I would even have accepted it if he received the envelope before the ball dropped, but didn't even read it until after he was on the run. Instead, it just makes no sense, and the concept of alternate timelines is barely addressed.

    Precrime is shut down because of Lamar's commission of multiple murders for the sake of the program, not because of the Crow incident.

    Although I've heard interpretations that all of that is actually just a wishful dream of Anderton's, locked within his cell for the rest of his life.

    M. Scott
  19. VadersLaMent Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 3, 2002
    star 9
    But it still remains that he was NOT motivated toward the crime by anything besides the prevision, which makes no sense.

    If something does not make sense to me and I can logically make a guess of what could have happened then it works for me. The film may not show it to you but if an idea works outside the box then I say run with it and enjoy the film. There is nothing complicated about the Precogs showing Anderton the muder before Lamar can set him in motion himself. It winds up as one less thing Lamar has to do. Pretty simple.

    The idea of an alternate timeline is addressed as much as it needs to be with one line repeated over and over by Agatha "You can still choose" or some such.

    A slight correction then, "Goodbye Crow, the gun is fired, Crow dies. But he makes a choice when the time comes because he still has fee will. It still holds true, wether or not it was Crow's fault or Anderton's, he is set off by a situation he will be a part of.


  20. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I think that it worked really well and did make some amount of sense. The only reason that the system worked is that no one had access to the Precogs - ONLY someone who saw that they'd be killing someone could stop what they were doing. Anderton had plenty of chances to back off and let everything blow over, but he opted not to, instead fullfilling his destiny.
  21. ThrawnRocks Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2004
    star 6
    I really hated this movie. However, about a year ago a friend gave me a copy of the short story and I loved it. I feel this was a bad interpretation of a very good story.
  22. TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2001
    star 10
    I always thought the prevision exited because Lamarr planned a murder. You plan a murder, a prevision occurs. The fault of the system is that it names victim and murderer. That obviously fails when somebody else plans to have someone murdered.

    Yes, Anderton only goes to Leo Crow (eventually...) because of the prevision he sees. But actually, he goes to Leo Crow because Lamarr planned it that way. And knowing the system, he knew that the prevision would occur and make Anderton go there. It was his plan. He knows how previsions work so he could plan one. And the prevision shows the murder how it happens if it goes according to Lamarrs plan.

    It's not like the prevision comes up because Anderton plans to murder Leo Crow, which would mean he only plans it as soon as he sees the vision, creating the paradox.

    Up until the story of his son came up, Anderton planned to go there to NOT kill him.
  23. DorkmanScott Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
    That still doesn't make any sense. You're saying: Lamarr placed fake pictures in a random hotel room and that caused a prevision, because Anderton was going to commit a murder as a result of those pictures.

    That does not make sense.

    If part of Lamarr's plan had been to point Anderton in that direction, even a slight nudge, that would be one thing. But Lamarr could not POSSIBLY have triggered a prevision with the setup because he did nothing to set Anderton down that path. The prevision led him to the room where he would commit that murder. Without the prevision, he never would have had any reason to go there. The prevision caused itself. It's a paradox.

    M. Scott
  24. bgii_2000 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2005
    star 4
    Here's a possibliity. Lamar hires someone to kill Crow while wearing one of those face changer thingys. He tells him exactly how to do it (saying "goodbye crow") After the prevision comes in, and the computer ID's Anderton, he calls the hired gun and tells hims to stand down.
  25. jangoisadrunk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 7, 2005
    star 4
    It actually makes perfect sense. It was Lamarr's plan to have Anderton kill Crowe. That, in and of itself, set off the prevision, and he knew that the precogs would only show the names of the victim and the murderer. He also must have counted on the fact that the prevision itself would contain all the clues necessary for Anderton to find Crowe's hotel room. In other words, Lamarr knew that he could cause a prevision which would give Anderton all he needed to find and kill Crowe.

    You can talk all you want about how it's a paradox and can't have happened and is stupid, but in the end it's like spinning a tire in a mud hole, because anyone could apply the same criticism to EVERY SINGLE SCI-FI STORY IN HISTORY that uses a time travel paradox as a plot device.
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