The amount of visual stimulation in Minority Report is truly remarkable. Everything is placed for a purpose, the new age, sci-fi designs of the Precrime building are stunning and practical. The computers, accessed with a fancy motion control scheme, are used naturally, not inserted as some new toy.
It brings this tale to life, both a gripping thriller and future parable dealing with invasion of privacy, advertisers given rights to our own irises, and the moral dilemma of arresting someone for a murder they did not commit… but will.
Phillip K. Dick’s short story is turned into an extravagant film, one a bit longer than it probably needs to be, yet it never loses focus. Spielberg’s eye for the art is beautiful, crafting both intense and gorgeous images, the master shot as the spyder bot drones invade the apartment one of the director’s best. It is a fusion of technology and master camerawork, panning over a variety of rooms inside the rooms as people argue, make love, and try to calm their children all to search for what seems to be an innocent man, John Anderton (Tom Cruise).
Anderton is not a simple hero, grieving over the loss of his murdered son before Precrime was created. He uses drugs to calm his nerves between arrests, himself the Chief of the entire operation. He wholeheartedly believes it is flawless, carrying a vendetta against anyone even considering murder as if they were killing his own son.
Minority Report is peppered with complex and entertaining action sequences, perfect summer fodder although at least with a purpose. A jetpack fight shows Anderton’s friends still have respect for him, even after he is pegged as a murderer, and the in-movie technology on display is a joy to watch. The Hollywood dose of humor is intact, a woman furious this possible killer is destroying her kitchen, not because he may kill her family.
The film would not work unless it felt plausible, and money on-screen that produces the end result allows for a convincing future. It is critical for suspension of disbelief, which goes a long ways here. It is instantly absorbing, and even challenging material, expertly produced. Hollywood can craft some fascinating stuff when it wants to. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Movie]
The future is a cold, drab place, robbed of its color. Spielberg and his longtime cinematographer Janusz Kaminski created a film loaded with noise and heightened grain that is thankfully fully resolved by this high bitrate AVC encode (that will surely keep the bitrate watchers satisfied). Lenses create hazy blooming effects, and the harsh contrast creates a deep sense of image depth.
All of this is retained in this Blu-ray effort, along with the exceptional, rich detail that comes with the simply flawless sharpness. Close-ups are consistently spectacular, whether in the Precog pool (despite heavy white lighting) or outdoors in the future city. Mid and long range shots are superb, immediately impressive including the park at 9:21. Inside the Precrime offices, dimensionality is never lost in the sea of special effects. Jad’s (Steve Harris) face carries awesome textural qualities at 40:21, just one of numerous examples of how flawless this effort can be.
Sequences inside the garden of Iris (Lois Smith) around 55:47 are amazingly rendered and crisp. The interiors of the greenhouse, with the hefty lighting scheme creates brilliant whites, while maintaining both the black levels and shadow detail. Rarely is anything lost to the rich, inky blacks as they always serve to enhance the eye candy.
Certain sequences carry a heightened noise, and these are the times where this healthy encode can really showcase itself. Inside the illegal eye surgeons apartment at 1:06:46, the structure holds without breaking down into a fit of artifacting, and the same goes for the club at 1:30:00. It’s like the encode just swallows this challenge and stays hungry for more. It’s a perfect example of how Blu-ray can maintain the integrity of the source material, even under harsh conditions. There are certain scenes where print damage becomes an issue, but rarely enough to become a distraction, and most of the time it seems to blend with the photography anyway. Another clean-up pass wouldn’t hurt, yet it’s so minor in the scheme of things, it’s hard to fault it. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Video]
Minority Report is an example of pure Hollywood audio design, loud, boisterous, and all around you. The highlight is surely the chase on the jetpacks, where engines flare in the subwoofer with incredible aggressiveness, and surround the viewer with precision placement in the rears. Before this at 44:18 as Cruise hops along the cars on the vertical freeway, whipping winds are generated with wonderful immersive qualities.
Into the warehouse assault where cars are being assembled, non-lethal guns are fired generating a tremendous amount of force in the low-end. It is nearly on-par with alien laser blasts in War of the Worlds. As expected, the amount of stereo and rear speaker utilization is spectacular, a fully realized soundfield if there ever was one.
It’s not just the action either. Sound design is regularly used for immersion in this future world, whether it is the clanging of the tracks on the subway at 47:27, or the intensity of the rain at 1:38:08. It all works, and the cities are alive with activity as they should be. Advertisements literally come from all directions, enhancing the effect. This is reference material. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Audio]
Extras here are lengthy, informative, and all kept on a second disc to keep the first disc looking as pure as possible. The first set of five featurettes are pulled from the DVD edition, about 70-minutes or so worth of content not including trailers and the like. Discussions on the story (and how it was adapted) make up section one, the world of the film is in Deconstructing Minority Report, stunts continue on into a third portion, the visual effects of ILM make up number four, and small variety of features (mostly promos) make up section five.
The Blu-ray edition gets even more though, including a 34-minute interview with Spielberg as he discusses his project with enthusiasm back in 2002. Inside the World of Precrime is a 10-minute look at the commercials used in the film, along with pre-production stuff tossed in with it. Phillip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg, and Minority Report brings in Dick’s daughter for her thoughts, along with the crew.
The disc rounds off with a series of shorter featurettes, including one on the props, another on the advertisements utilized, the science of it all, some raw footage from the set, and pre-vis. The only thing missing is a commentary, but it’s a Spielberg film. [xrr rating=5/5 label=Extras]