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HTF REVIEW: "Minority Report" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 7, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    Minority Report




    Studio: Dreamworks/Twentieth Century Fox
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 146 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English, French and Spanish



    Everybody Runs
    [​IMG]
    Count me as one of the minority of movie goers who
    wasn't initially impressed with Minority Report
    when it was released. Though I was fascinated with
    Spielberg's vision of a future world and its crime
    technology getting out of hand, I thought the film
    played more as a predictable murder mystery story
    with action scenes that felt rather flat.
    Time has passed since my initial viewing, and
    watching Minority Report for a second time
    now on DVD, I have begun to realize that this film
    has grown on me. I find the story to be ultimately
    fascinating and dialectic, broadening my appreciation
    toward the film itself, but I still feel the movie
    runs exceedingly too long.
    [​IMG]
    The year is 2054, and technology has given us hover
    cars that ride on super highways that run vertically
    straight up, automated homes that react to spoken
    commands, and the ability to interact with computer
    holographic images. Alas, with all this advancement,
    nobody has found the cure for the common cold.
    [​IMG]
    Perhaps the greatest advancement to date is that
    homicide is down a whopping 90%, thanks to a new
    development called "precrime", where here in the
    future, criminals are caught before the crimes they
    commit. As the film begins, we witness a vision of
    a husband committing murder out of passion. This
    vision is being channeled through three twins
    (one female, two male) known as precogs. These
    precogs have the ability to see the future as their
    visions are electronically captured on video screens
    for the District of Columbia precrime unit to act upon.
    The names of the KILLER and the VICTIM are embedded
    on wooden balls that drop out of chutes as if a live
    lottery were being held. As the visions of the precogs
    quickly appear on elaborate data screens, we watch
    Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise)-- the head of
    the Pre-Crime Unit, carefully sort out the evidence
    before him. Within minutes, the entire force descends
    upon the crime scene and arrests the husband moments
    before he commits the murder.
    [​IMG]
    Anderton has thrown all of his passion into a system
    that could potentially spare thousands of people
    from the tragedy he lived through. The psychic
    technology of precrime is foolproof. The precogs are
    never wrong in their predictions. Now is the time
    where Director Burgess (Max Von Sydow) must
    successfully sell this new era of crime fighting to
    the public, and he is banking on the fact that
    nothing will go wrong.
    Something suddenly does go wrong, however. A precog
    envisions a murder. As images quickly flash across
    the screen, the killer is revealed to be Detective
    John Anderton, who is now being accused of a "future"
    murder of a man he hasn't even met. Anderton goes on
    the run as he has 36 hours to uncover the truth
    behind the murder, despite the notion that the precog
    visions are never wrong.
    How is the transfer?
    It's difficult to judge this transfer. Had I not
    seen this film theatrically, I would think that
    there was some sort of problem with the transfer.
    The problem is not really a problem. Spielberg
    intentionally shot most of this film in high contrast
    that completely washes out colors but also gives the
    film a very coarse background. All of this is evident
    on the DVD. The picture never looks smooth nor
    completely color accurate. You are always at the
    mercy of Spielberg's so-called stylish filmmaking. I
    understand he probably wanted to paint the future in
    washed out textures, but I did not personally like
    the way he lensed this film. Nearly every shot has
    a hint of fuzziness in the background. Whites are
    awfully bright and overexposed. In Chapter 12, where
    John visits a "eyeworks" doctor, the entire scene
    is so visibly grainy, you would think someone popped
    in a VHS copy of the film.
    But you know what? This is how Spielberg filmed it.
    Annoying as it may be, this is probably the most
    accurate representation of what I saw theatrically.
    In this case, consider the transfer to be quite good.
    The 5.1 DTS mix is outstanding. Here we have
    a full-bodied 360-degree soundtrack that is amongst
    the best I have heard. Sound is very wide-opened
    here, not sounding the least compressed. As the
    film opens to starling images of murder, the score
    begins to rise across the entire sound stage as the
    LFE channel provides intense bass rumble that climbs
    to an ear-piercing crescendo only to halt suddenly.
    It is a preview of just how amazing this audio track
    is. Sounds are extremely well defined here, almost
    never coming from the same channel at any time.
    Watch as Anderton listens to Schubert's Unfinished
    Symphony while looking for clues. The symphony
    envelopes the entire listening area, while the
    "whooshing" noises of the screen's images seem to
    fly from one channel to another. Below his
    station lies the pool containing the precogs.
    You can hear the watery sounds of their living
    environment in the rear channels. LFE activity is
    very pronounced here, starting with the vibrating
    rumbles of police transporters. An escape on a
    freeway produces some terrific bass reverb as
    futuristic cars zoom across the front and rear
    channels. Overall, this is an absolutely
    electrifying audio experience.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    Minority Report has been released as a 2-disc
    set. Disc One is entirely the movie and
    nothing else. This includes a lack of any sort of
    audio commentary. Perhaps the good news is that this
    left enough bandwidth to include a 5.1 DTS surround
    track, a 5.1 Dolby Digital track and a 2.0 Dolby
    Surround track.
    [​IMG]
    Let's go to Disc Two and see what has been
    included on the supplementals...
    The first area we come to is From Story to
    Screen.......
    [​IMG]
    The Story - The Debate begins with Steven
    Spielberg talking about always wanting to work
    with Tom Cruise. The problem was, there never seemed
    to be a project that either one of them could come
    to terms on. It was actually Cruise that first came
    across the story for Minority Report, read it
    and then sent it over to Spielberg, who got very
    excited about the project and put it into development.
    Screenwriter Scott Frank talks a little about bringing
    back genre movies for grownups, something that has
    been missing from film for a long time. Spielberg
    gets a little personal with his opinions about how
    he would feel if the Precrime system actually existed
    in the United States today. This leads to the debate
    as if such a system would ever work.
    (length: approx. 9 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    The Players brings most of the entire cast
    together to talk about the film and their individual
    characters. We have Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise,
    Max Von Sydow, Colin Farrell, Kathryn Morris and
    Samantha Morton. It's kind of cool to hear Colin
    talk about the kind of person Spielberg is -- a man
    who sees the world through a child's eyes. The cool
    Max Von Sydow talks about the director's trained
    style and the fact he (Sydow) was able to often
    improvise. Samantha Morton talks about being able
    to freely communicate her ideas to Spielberg, and
    the fact that he often took them into consideration.
    (length: approx. 9 minutes)
    Let's now take a look through Deconstructing
    Minority Report....
    The World of Minority Report is a fascinating
    introduction to this entire area of supplements as it
    features Spielberg and Cruise who discuss how the
    future was ultimately envisioned. Spielberg actually
    brought together some of the greatest minds in
    technology, crime fighting and medicine to determine
    what the future would most likely be like fifty
    years from now. We hear from the film's Production
    Designer and Director of Photography about the
    challenges of making a futuristic film that falls
    into film noir (a world of shadows and darkness
    with extreme camera angles). Spielberg talks about
    wanting to make this the darkest, dirtiest and
    grainiest film he could. I think he succeeded well.
    (length: approx. 9 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Precrime and Precogs takes a look at the
    construction of the precrime set with its curves,
    straight lines, lots of glass and metallic surfaces.
    Director of photography Janus Kimisnki and Production
    Designer Alex McDowell talk about the importance of
    creating a transparent set and how it relates to
    the many layers of the film itself. With the aid
    of Spielberg, we learn how the Precog set was built
    and the ideas that went into developing who these
    individuals really were. The mechanical effects
    department was greatly responsible for maintaining
    the precog pool by filtering it and giving it a
    proper temperature. Costume Designer Deborah Scott
    talks about the challenges of creating the costumes
    for the Precogs, from original ideas that were too
    high-tech, to the finalized idea of an amphibian-like
    covering. Finally, Steven takes us through the many
    gadgets (sonic guns, sick sticks, jet packs) used in
    the film.
    (length: approx. 8 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Production Designer Alex McDowell introduces us to
    The Spyder Sequence. It is here that we learn
    how the look and practicality of these mechanical
    creatures came together as we look at early animation
    tests that were done. It's fascinating to see how
    models were developed and tested in cooperation with
    DreamWorks animation. Composer John Williams talks
    about scoring the scene, using tempo and instrumental
    texture to give these creations added life. Director
    of Photography Janusz Kaminski shows us how the
    elaborate hallway scene was lensed using computer
    animation to plan and an overhead crane to film.
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)
    Precog Visions has Mr. Spielberg talking
    about creating the visions of the precogs through
    a sort of prism (rather than a square screen).
    He hired a group called Imaginary Forces to do
    these prevision sequences. You'll have the
    opportunity to watch how all the individually
    filmed murder scenes were all brought together
    in a rather disjointed manner.
    (length: approx. 4 minutes)
    Vehicles of the Future takes a look at
    bringing complexity and excitement to the vehicle
    transportation system. It all begins with some nifty
    computer animation that shows how the entire car
    sequence was mapped out shot for shot. Vehicle
    Designer Harald Belker talks of how he was able to
    create a vehicle that went straight up vertically,
    without the passenger sacrificing safety. You'll
    see several amazing life-size models of the cars
    that were used. Sound Designer Gary Rydstrom gives
    us an interesting revelation -- the whirring sounds
    of the cars came off of a washing machine in his home.
    Finally, we take a look at the creation of the
    police transport crafts.
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)
    Now lets move on to The Stunts of Minority Report..
    [​IMG]
    The MagLev Escape is fun to watch. It has
    Tom Cruise on a wire harness in front of a blue screen
    as he attempts to climb across a working MagLev
    vehicle. You'll watch Tom in take after take as
    he is put through surprising vehicle turns as he
    tries to stay in control.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    The Hoverpack Chase takes us to the backlot
    of Warner Brothers where an alley was built to
    accommodate the needs for a 3D hoverpack chase. A
    stage and stunt rig were built in order to move
    individuals up, down and across the entire alley.
    The complexity of this project proved to be one
    of the most difficult pieces to lense in the entire
    film.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Producer Bonnie Curtis describes the group effort
    that went into The Car Factory. You'll watch
    in amazement as Cruise spins around on wires, trying
    to escape from Colin Farrell.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    Let's move on to ILM and Minority Report....
    In an Intro by Tom Cruise, we learn how the
    actor came to this unusual project with all its
    special effects. This caused Tom to pretend more
    than he ever has before, with Spielberg talking him
    through scenes where the effects don't yet exist.
    Through the folks at ILM, we learn more about the
    hour's worth of visual effects that were done for
    the film. Spielberg seems to be very impressed with
    the work, admitting that although he had great input
    on the effects work, he didn't want to know how
    the magic was done.
    (length: approx. 4 minutes)
    In Hologram, ILM Computer Graphics designer
    Barry Armour takes us through live-action green
    screen sequences, multiple camera shots and computer
    animation that all came together to create a life-like
    hologram with extreme depth. This is really cool to
    watch - don't miss it!
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Hall of containment takes us on a blue-screen
    set with ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar
    as we look at how the massive containment set was
    built with its moving platforms and later animated
    by ILM. Wait until you watch an ILM Sequence
    Supervisor talk about the CGI animation that was
    done, using only a few live actors and software that
    carved them out of a solid piece of geometry and
    then further mapped them out without any seams.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    MagLev greatly compliments the featurette
    in the stunt area by taking a look at how ILM
    created the ribbon roadway that the vehicle traveled
    across. It's kind of funny to look at one of the
    original models of this tunnel freeway that was
    created out of paper. Watch as CGI is added to
    the live action sequences to create a final product.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Hovercraft/Hoverpacks is a look at the process
    of creating believable hovercrafts from actual models
    and synthetic shots. We also again see how the
    Hoverpack chase was filmed as well as how ILM added
    flames and heat ripple to the packs to make the
    sequence look more realistic.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    Cyberparlor is a very short look at how this
    effects piece was put together using live action and
    background scan plates.
    (length: approx. 1.5 minutes)
    In Final Report: Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise,
    we get a summed up feeling about how Steven and Tom
    feel about their professional relationship. It's very
    interesting to hear Spielberg talk about how at the
    age of 50, he is still trying to find himself through
    his recent films.
    (length: approx. 4 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Let's move on to the Archives area....
    There is a wealth of images to browse through
    here -- just too many for me to even dwell into.
    An entire page dedicated to Production Concepts
    gives us illustrations and photos on everything from
    precrime to hoverships, spyders, vehicles
    and buildings/architecture.
    There are storyboard sequences for the
    Maglev sequence, Alley Chase
    and Car Factory.
    There are three trailers included here, as
    well as an additional trailer for the Activision
    Game
    .
    Finally, there are separate cast and
    Filmmaker filmographies that you can browse
    through using your remote. Production Notes
    takes you through the process of how Spielberg and
    Cruise coming together when Cruise showed him an
    early adaptation of Philip K. Dick's story.
    A special note: It's sort of cool that there
    are French and Spanish subtitles available with the
    supplements. It would have been even nicer if
    DreamWorks would have gone one step further and
    provided English subtitles for the hearing impaired.
    Final Thoughts
    [​IMG]
    No matter how much you enjoy this film or not,
    there is no arguing that Minority Report is
    a visually exciting, surprisingly thought-provoking
    sci-fi action film that presents Spielberg at the
    top of his game.
    DreamWorks has put together a Special Edition that
    will have fans everywhere applauding. There's such
    an array of supplemental material here that there's
    hardly any aspect of this film that is left out of
    it.
    The precogs have pre visioned that this is a DVD
    that belongs in your future!
    Release Date: December 17, 2002
     
  2. Derek Bang

    Derek Bang Well-Known Member

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    Right on. Loved this movie. Nice review, Ron.
     
  3. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    I've had this dvd for a week now Ron, for some reason the region 2 came out 2 weeks before region 1, very strange, anyway great review and I'm happy to see its got the same extras as the r2.

    Yep the picture quality was like the cinema version, desaturated color and a bit grainy, the direct opposite to what his mate George did with Clones, I've seen it 3 times altogether and have got used to this color scheme, it suits the film.
    I like the film a lot, some great sequences, but it does go on a bit too long.

    Sadly no commentary as usual, Spielberg does NOT do commentaries! But the many featurettes make up for this, I just wish they would have a play all function, too much clicking.

    One of my favorite extras is the hundreds of production designs and concepts, great stuff, but why don't they use up the entire screen instead of a small window?

    ps. Spielberg has done a Verhoeven and used a futuristic ad break within his film, in the same style too.
     
  4. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Well-Known Member

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    Looks like to be a good dvd. I will probably end up not getting it for Christmas, but get it eariler with Back to the Future. Two (or make that four) great sci-fi movies on one day, that will be a good day indeed. Good job on the review, by the way Ron.
     
  5. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Well-Known Member

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  6. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Well-Known Member

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    I enjoyed the movie yet feel the same way as Ron that it is just too long and a rather predictable end
     
  7. Gregory E

    Gregory E Well-Known Member

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    Hmmmm.....another "Highly Recommended", eh Ron? Seems to be a lot of those these days. I hope you're not lowering your standards. :wink:

    Well, I didn't get a chance to see this movie in the theater, so I'll at least give it a rental.
     
  8. Lowell_B

    Lowell_B Well-Known Member

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    I loved the movie in theaters, one of the 3 best of the year imo. I'll be picking up the DVD for Christmas.
    Great review Ron. [​IMG]
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Well-Known Member

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  10. Jedrek

    Jedrek Well-Known Member

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    AWESOME!!!! I loved MR and hopefully I'll be able to pick this up. [​IMG]
     
  11. Tim RH

    Tim RH Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the always-in depth reviews Ron (and this one in particular)! [​IMG]
    I'd have to say that I was a little disappointed with this film when I first saw it in the theater, thinking that A.I. was a much better film (however they are quite different too), but Spielberg's movies always get better on repeat viewings for me, so I'm buying this one anyway. It's still better than most of the crap they shovel into theaters these days. I would have liked longer featurettes on this DVD though, but so be it.
     
  12. Bill J

    Bill J Well-Known Member

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    Great review, Ron.
    I can't wait until Dec. 17th. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I'll probably get this DVD simply for the extras, the futuristic stuff in the film is nifty.
     
  14. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?

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    i missed it in the theater but have it on order.
    i work a a video store and can rent it early and am very tempted to do so.
     
  15. NickFoley

    NickFoley Well-Known Member

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    I getting this one on DVD. I didnt see it in the theaters, but cant pass it up now. [​IMG]
     
  16. Ron Kaye

    Ron Kaye Well-Known Member

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    The image reminds me a bit of the image on the Mel Gibson movie 'Payback'.

    No real colors except for blue/black/white.
     
  17. Sanjay Gupta

    Sanjay Gupta Well-Known Member

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    I just watched the film on DVD (Region 1) last night, and I must say, WOW! I have not enjoyed a movie so much in a long time. Regarding the Audio/Video quality of the DVD I concur with Ron's review. Personally I 'Highly Recommend' the film and DVD.

    Sanjay
     
  18. JoeyPalmiotti

    JoeyPalmiotti Active Member

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    I can't wait! [​IMG] Thanks!
     
  19. AaronJB

    AaronJB Well-Known Member

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    Does the "Minority Report" DVD have DTS-ES/DD-EX soundtracks or just DD/DTS? Thanks.
     
  20. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Well-Known Member

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    Greatly looking forward to this dvd. I'm really gaining a greater appreciation for Spielberg's recent efforts to be more provocative. While the execution is flawed, overall the film is enjoyable.

    Glad to hear that the dvd parallels the scope of the story.
     

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