Philip K. Dick was one of the most influential science fiction writers of a generation and his mark on the film world of the past 30 years is almost unrivalled. From Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner) through We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (Total Recall), A Scanner Darkly to Minority Report, based on a short story called The Minority Report, Dick has a lot to answer for in the best possible way.
While Blade Runner was dark in many senses and Total Recall an all-out comic book of a film, in the hands of Steven Spielberg Minority Report falls somewhere in between. In a future with super cool technology (well, for 2002 – nowadays all that moving images around on a screen looks a bit iPad and commonplace) but with a bleak underbelly, Washington DC is under the calming influence of “precrime”. With the help of three gifted “precogs” – people who see visions of the future – the police force can now prevent murders before they occur. Chief detective John Anderton (Cruise) lives the job, not least because his son went missing just before the era of precrime, and now survives on a combination of memories and drugs. Then the precogs predict that within 36 hours a murder will be committed – by Anderton.
What follows is a dark, imaginative chase story, a fine example of a neo-noir mystery thriller. Despite all the futuristic toys on display, at its heart Minority Report is a very human story, with Anderton’s past driving his obsession. With or without the technology, this is a morality story, about distinguishing right from wrong and the choices we as fallible people make. At times, the film is a grimy and uncomfortable watch, but the strength of the plot, Tom Cruise’s typically bullish central performance and Spielberg’s vision of Dick’s world all come together superbly to make a memorable story.
On a technical note, the film has transferred wonderfully to Blu-ray and looks crystal clear. Because of its noir feel, this isn’t the most colourful film ever made but if anything the high definition makes it even more cold, dirty and unpleasant, which only adds to the atmosphere already present. Whether you've never seen this modern sci-fi classic and fancy something new or you're already a fan, this is the version to get - an all-round awesome package.
EXTRAS ★★★★★ On Disc 1 there’s the feature and the following cornucopia of extras lasting well over two hours and is an absolute feast for anyone interested in how the film was made and the history behind it. The extras are as follows: The Future According to Steven Spielberg: An Interactive Guide to Minority Report; Inside the World of Precrime; Philip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg and Minority Report; Minority Report: Future Realised; Minority Report; Props of the Future; Highlights from Minority Report: From the Set; From Story to Screen; Deconstructing Minority Report; The Stunts of Minority Report; ILM and Minority Report; Final Report: Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise; Production Concepts Gallery; Storyboard Sequences; Trailers. Disc 2 is a digital copy of the film.