Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Review: Minority Report

Having disliked the original Minority Report film with Tom Cruise, I was nevertheless intrigued by the ads for the new TV show. It looked like an interesting science fiction police procedural. In fact, it looked so good, it reminded me of Almost Human.

You know, the wholly original premise that Fox cancelled in the Spring of 2014?

If you don't remember the film Minority Report, the premise was "pre-crime," and people were arrested on the word of three precognitives. The MacGuffin for the film was simple: one of the three telepaths disagreed with the predictions, and someone considered "Hey, maybe we should arrest people for things that the actually do." The film ended with the universal agreement that the entire "pre-crime" program was a bad idea.

So, this show opens with cops complaining about the good old days when they stopped murders before they happened. Yup, that's right. Completely and utterly forgetting the point.

All I can think at that point is, well, DIDN'T YOU PEOPLE SEE THE MOVIE?

I can tell you right there, I had some problems with the show the minute they bitched about the good old days of pre-crime.

Then they decided to stop the setup references to the movie and actually start acting like cops who have some idea of how to do their job.

Of course, our story opens with one of the three "Precogs" from the film, who is still getting flashes of murders in the future. He's so concerned about these flashes, he tries to stop the murders in progress. And fails. He tips off the lead investigator about his visions, and the perp commits suicide rather than be arrested. Then, because no television cop can every be happy with a closed case that requires no paperwork, the investigator easily tracks down our Precog, just in time for him to have another vision.

That was the first twenty minutes. And I can honestly say that I stopped caring.

I have to ask, was there one good reason this had to be Minority Report? Yes, I know that it's over ten years old and that the teens who saw in in the theater are now money-spending adults. Yes, I know that nostalgia sells. But the movie wasn't even that good, and there is so little connection to the film, the name is really the only end result.

And when they try to connect it to the film, that's when the show goes off the rails (to be explained below).

I'll freely admit that Minority Report had some cute moments and some fun bits of business. The cops have contact-lens HUDs with infrared scanners and crime scene reconstruction right out of Batman: Arkham Origins, and reacted like Tony Stark's user interface in the Marvel film.

And that, of course, Batman isn't the only video game that the stole from. They also ripped off a few character designs from Mirror's Edge, up to and including an Asian female with eye tattoos.

In short, it was nice to see some of the various and sundry bits of cute technology. But at the end of the day, I'd rather have Almost Human return. DO YOU HEAR ME, FOX EXECS, YOU LOUSY BASTARDS?

The acting was ... okay, I guess. The older precog, who operated alongside Tom Cruise's character in the movie, is fraught with concerns about changing the future, blah blah, let's hide in the middle of nowhere forever, blah blah, CAN WE HAVE A STORY?

And these people ... really don't have a character. One is "cop" and the other is "plot device," and that's about the extent of it. The driving force of one is "cop," and the other is "I have to act on these visions because I get these visions." Seriously, just say "With great power comes great responsibility" and be done with it why don't you?

At the end of the day ... I just don't care. I don't care about these people, I don't care about this setup, and for the love of God, if you want a show about precrime, go watch Person of Interest and be done with it.


  1. You want to know why they did this, even when the movie sucked?

    Easy. Hollywood is still trying to capture the popularity of John Ironheart. But mean ol' Dean Koontz won't let them deviate from his plots. You know, because he can plot better than they can? Just read about his 10 year epic failing to get "Cold Fire" made into a movie. Yes, it would even make a good movie. Problem? No producer on earth can live with the idea that The Aliens Aren't Real. Hollywood just... can't handle it. Yet you betray every fan of the series (last counting... that's a lot) if you make the aliens real. But that doesn't matter. It's the whizbang factor, and everybody has to put their own stamp on something. It's the least original "original stamp" ever conceived.

    Personally, I have thought a good TV show *could* be made out of some subplots in Johnny Mnemonic, a movie I didn't particularly like. Sad when the main character and the main plot are as boring unsalted whey, but certain sub plots suggest interesting directions that could sustain a series.

    1. Someone needs to get Brad Bird on the phone. The closest Dean Koontz had to a good adaption was Odd Thomas. His movies would typically make great movies if they weren't always decimated in production.


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