Minority Report (2002) Blu-ray Review

Minority Report (2002) Blu-ray [2016 Edition]
Minority Report (2002) Blu-ray [2016 Edition] Buy on Amazon

One of my favorite films of the prior decade was Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report (20th Century Fox/Dreamworks, 2002), his adaptation of the Philip K. Dick short story that follows the “Precrime” unit of Washington DC’s police department as they prepare to launch a rollout of their unique plan to prevent crime with the help of special savants with precognitive ability… in this case, the tragic ability to presage murders before they occur. 

With its realistic future designs and bleached-out look, Minority Report is one of those films that tells us exactly what kind of future we’re headed for as a species and culture.  Much like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner the film is a hallmark of futurist design that seems so plausible as to already be here in our hands (if you’re reading this article on a subway via an iPad you might know the feeling).  Tom Cruise, who’s usually the most irritating aspect of recent productions he’s been a part of, is terrific here and seems to be yet another good Everyman match for Spielberg to wrap his story around. 

They also worked quite well together in the big-budgeted War Of The Worlds remake a few years later, and suffice to say, I liked Cruise as an actor in this film and  I think owes a great deal to Spielberg’s direction and control of the mega-star’s screen presence.  It certainly makes his turn as John Anderton, a top-cop suffering from drug burnout after the tragic loss of his son, all the more believable.  That cop is more than just a run-of-the-mill detective, he’s the head of the Precrime division that relies on three precognitive somnambulists, human with heightened sensory abilities due to a pharmacological mishap, capable of “seeing” snatches of future events limited solely to the shock of murder.

Precrime uses them to ferret out murders before they occur and are so successful at doing this in the DC area that the only murders that still occur are crimes of passion (red ball murders) that precogs cannot see until the last moment.  Anderton’s boss, Lamar Burgess (played by the awesomely sinister Max von Sydow) and Department of Justice lackey, Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) are butting heads over how to take the program national and in the midst of that pissing match manage to frame Anderton for murder… but which one did it, and how will Anderton get out of it, while also perhaps solving his son’s murder? 

That’s the story that Spielberg expertly tells while also adding mad dashes of gadget p0rn amid a plausible urban culture that still loves cars (especially super-cool, non-polluting mag-lev vehicles) and elaborate conveniences, but can no longer avoid the gamut of advertising that literally calls out to them personally while their every move is tracked via retinal scans.  The film offers all the best of Spielberg, and very little of his worst filmmaking habits… there are a few exciting and inventive chase sequences, and then there are emotional moments that verge on classic Spielschmaltz, but never completely nose-dive into it. 

Granted, there are also plenty of darkly humorous moments that Spielberg doesn’t often get to do, but usually does quite well, and the entire work is easily on of his breeziest efforts since Raiders Of The Lost Ark.  Which doesn’t mean it blows off PKD’s paranoid philosophies and speculative themes, but it does make for a rambunctious action movie that is so deeply entrenched in the look of “future reality” that the SF elements fade to the background, allowing the story to breathe and the viewer to get involved with the mystery while still marveling at the fantastic details and design elements of the various vehicles, spider-bot surveillance units and multi-touch gloves that make computing seem like conducting a symphony. 

Minority Report (2002) starring Tom Cruise
Minority Report (2002) starring Tom Cruise

This is one Blu-ray to own if you felt the DVD was lacking (though for its time, the DVD release looked pretty terrific) for it features a deep, gorgeous-looking transfer to 1080p in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.  Keep in mind that the look of the film is as close to the theatrical as it can be with Spielberg authorizing the HD transfer… the movie purposefully look bleached out with heavy shades of blue and lots of greys and blacks.  The muted tone suits the tech noir feel of the film, and the BD version beautifully replicates the theatrical presentation showing the grime and mold of urban decay as well as the glossy-glass structures and tech that make up Precrime headquarters. 

Sound is impressive in DTS-HD MA 5.1 with lots of center channel clarity and creepy ambiance (along with John Williams chilling score, nicely presented in the lossless mix), but the real reason to buy this 2-disc set?  The extras!  In addition to everything the standard DVD contained (a great set of extras itself), the BD contains a whole new bunch of bonus features… all in HD! 

Bonus Features

  • The Future According to Steven Spielberg
  • Inside the World of Precrime
  • Philip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg and Minority Report
  • Minority Report: Future Realized
  • Minority Report: Props of the Future
  • Highlights from Minority Report: From the Set
  • The Hoverpack Sequence
  • The Car Factory Sequence
  • Minority Report: Commercials of the Future
  • Previz Sequences
  • The Hoverpack Sequence Previz
  • Maglev Chase Previz