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"minority report" (2002) - steven spielberg
posted on 2-Jul-2002 by anton
it is hard for me to comment on spielberg movies. when I was growing up watching his films, I never knew any better, deprived in my cultural isolation. ever since then I have not really re-watched his older films with a critical eye, so his name always had an aura of untouchable perfection. of course, this always results in either too critical or too forgiving commentary.

with "minority report" I finally was able to shake off those childhood memories, and see it from an objective point of view. in brief, this film is both "overdone" stylistically and visually and "undercooked" as far as the storyline goes. it is a dazzling, colorful, stylish mess that manages to keep you glued to the screen, but in retrospect you are torn between obvious omissions (that often are too obvious to even be worth criticizing) and spectacular designs with intriguing storyline.

his cinematography is "hip" and "catchy", displaying plenty of colorful scenes, from grotesque gritty images to washed out touching landscapes. for the increasing geeky audience there are plenty of pretty futuristic toys to look at.

a story is interesting, unfortunately the psychological/moral implications are just touched upon, but it makes a nice premise. the storyline limps around a bit, unsure of where to go at times. usual spielberg's sloppy storytelling and cheap sentimentalism shows through quite often (not as often as "a.i." though and in a slightly different manner, although still unbearably sugary). his fairy-tale style kicks in too many times, and you almost cringe, making an effort to maintain the complete realism of the world he was trying to create. as with "a.i.", there are a few moments where you expect the film to end, but it just keeps going, personally I find it amusing, as a kick in the face of all-too-well-trained hollywood audience.

despite so many obvious flaws, there is this strange touching afterglow that i also felt after watching "a.i.". only later, in retrospect, all the imperfections crawled out. i suppose this is what spielberg is good at - a combination of knee-jerk reactions, coupled with talented visuals and engaging story line - it results in immediate overwhelming effect. the combination of a fairy tale with cheap sentimentalism, contrasted with the overall strangely cold feel, simplified plot moves, strong "coolness factor" and overdramatic childishness - he is good at making it stick to you, even if you resist it. this is when you either skip over all the flaws and make the best out of it, or cling to them and fail to see all the elements that make it worth watching.

there are so many interesting tidbits in this movie - from absurd characters that could have been right out of "delicatessen" or "12 monkeys", to tasty visuals. I guess what got to me is the fact that there was no unifying solid style - it was all tasty, flashy, rich and totally a mess, but in the case of spielberg it became his trademark style as of late, and in a sense it does work.

i would go and watch it again on the big screen, just to appreciate the stylized futuristic atmosphere. while the intellectual side of the me is cringing in retrospect, a part of me is craving to see it one more time, its imagery is still too fresh in my mind.

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