Minority Report

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Jennie Kermode's film review of Minority Report
Minority Report

The extras are unusual. They don't fit the usual pattern of star chit-chat on the set, a Making Of docuyawn, or CG techies baffling you with science. They are quality.

Spielberg is typically modest and informative, the ILM special effects gurus are approachable and indiscreet (they don't mind sharing their secrets) and Tom Cruise appears fearlessly athletic when it comes to throwing himself off a building.

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It is always heartening in this cynical, materialistic world to hear of filmmakers who go to such lengths to get it right. Spielberg gathered together the best scientific minds and invited them to a three day thinkathon, in which they were encouraged to predict how the American way of life would change in 50 years times. The product of their deliberations can be seen on the screen.

In his last few movies, Spielberg has been stretching himself. He admits as much. He saw Minority Report as "a rough, gritty film noir," not a sci-fi adventure, like AI. The challenge appealed to him.

The sections where ILM experts decribe how they approach new problems are detailed and educational - they are also gripping. They discuss how they managed the hologram sequence, in which Cruise's character talks to his wife, and when he is taken to see the prisoners in their capsules. They endevour to create the illusion of reality in a purely imaginary place. This is never better illustrated than when talking through the building of the Maglev road system.

The complexity of stunts is perfectly demonstrated in the scene where cops with hoverpacks are chasing Cruise down an alley and up a fire escape, ending with Cruise leaping from the top onto the back of one of these flying patrolmen. The alley had to be built in the studio, with a gigantic gantry from which stuntmen could hang from wires. The physical inventiveness and coordination credits the skill required to make an action sequence work.

Everything about this disc shows that someone out there made a genuine effort and thought about what they were going to show and how they were going to do it. You may think this is what every studio does when their big movies go to DVD, but it's not so.

Spielberg is relaxed and speaks easily. He praises his star actor. "Tom is always coming up with new ideas." Cruise is more self concious. He likes to do his own stunts. "They're tricky, but they're a lot of fun," he says, which is a tad bland. But watching him work is something else. He's so focused.

It would take too long to list the qualities of this DVD. It is both fascinating and illuminating. The best word to describe it would be "respect".

Reviewed on: 09 Dec 2002
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Sci-fi thriller about cops who predict murder before it happens with the use of psychics.
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Product Code: 20918DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9 widescreen / 2.40

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Minority Report: From Story To Screen; Deconstructing Minority Report; The Stunts Of Minority Report; ILM and Minority Report; Final Report; Minority Report Archives ( virtual gallery, storyboard sequences, illustrations and stills, production notes, biogs).

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