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Everything posted by StephenLyons

  1. Since this may very well be the one and only opportunity for Minority Report to be discussed in the the Canon, I feel like it's my responsibility to defend it. From the very first moment, as the production title cards - Dreamworks, so on - roll across the screen, everything is submerged in water like a dream. This is more than just a cool gimmick; it's Spielberg's attempt to connect the experience of watching the film to the precog's nightmarish visions of the future. This is later reinforced with a few techniques which Spielberg isn't known for but are nonetheless used quite well, and those are surrealism and absurdity. After John goes from enforcer to fugitive, he is confronted with nightmarish imagery, including Hineman's plants, Dr. Solomon's surgical devices, and the spider-like sentries that force peoples eyes open in order to scan them. Then there are moments that just feel a bit off, and this is a testament to Spielberg's fine attention to detail. There's the woman doing yoga in the high rise, Hineman's out-of-nowhere kiss, the spoiled food, and most memorably, the laughing woman in the hotel lobby. And, of course, all those side characters that come across as loony mad scientists. These moments are often funny, frightening, and most importantly remind us that we're on a journey into a distorted reality, and one shaped by technology. One takeaway - that technology isn't always born out of invention but is often the manifestation of our collective subconscious, our deepest fears and desire. It all speaks to what I think is the film's main purpose - an affirmation of free will, yes - but a message to the average consumer to question both the media and technology we consume and at what cost. By making the precogs more than just mindless human machines, Spielberg allows us to see innovation as both a blessing and a curse and to be skeptical of propaganda in its power to shield us from the harsh truths about our system. Minority Report remains relevant in an age of mass surveillance (used both as a tool for law enforcement and commercialism), mass incarceration, escapism, automation, and the exploitation of labor. If we can be made to care for a trio of young psychics, then we can also acknowledge the workers who make our I-Phones in horrible conditions overseas. In a film filled with cameras and screens, most of them cold and sterile like the bleached out backgrounds surrounding each frame, what we need is a shift in our perspective (a new pair of eyes), to see that a dream for some is a nightmare for others. The least we can do is confront it, which is the point of Agatha's stirring monologue near the end of the film. Minority Report is a well crafted thriller with many layers of meaning ( I could discuss the parallels to Greek mythology, and so on), but it's the film's style and aesthetic that is most striking, and one that no doubt went on to influence the likes of J.J. Abrams and most recently, Black Mirror. It might not be Spielberg's best film or even Tom Cruise's best performance, but it is a vital piece of dystopian sci-fi, and for that reason, deserves a spot in the Canon.