Max von Sydow

Minority Report

Year: 2002
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Written By: Phillip K. Dick (short story), Scott Frank and Jon Cohen (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is the only movie about the future that I look at and think “that’s what it’s going to be like.”  I don’t know about psychic pre-cogs who can detect crime before it happens but everything else looks legit. The computer operation, eye scanners, personalized marketing, vehicle models, and so much else that we see in the background of the film I think will hold true in 2054.  It’s hard to say really but I think as that year approaches this film will look more like a vision of the future than say Back to the Future II’2015.  Where the hell are our hover board Robert Zemeckis? Aside from being an interesting vision of the future this movie is a fast paced thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat till the end.  It offers some surprisingly outstanding performances from a director who simply makes hit after hit after hit.  In truth this movie is way down the totem pole for great films from Spielberg, but the man has made so many incredible movies it’s hard to get to the top.

Every time I get the opportunity to discuss Steven Spielberg I feel like I can’t say enough about how incredible he is.  This time around is no different.  The man has shown such growth as a filmmaker and he has never stopped getting better at what he does.  For this movie he rolled up his sleeves and did his research.  He didn’t just want to make any other vision of the future with this film but a more accurate picture of what the world would be like.  He met with specific people in a variety of fields and discussed with them where their business was going in the future. This is specifically why I think that in 40 years the world will look pretty close to what we see in this movie.  I just believe that much in Spielberg.  Not only was this film influenced by the information he gathered in his research but this film has over time influenced society itself.  It’s no secret that science fiction films have been influencing technological developments for decades now but this film specifically has been cited as an influence in new emerging technology today.  If you want specific examples feel free to read about it yourself on the film’s Wikipedia page.

Aside from the film’s vision of the future there is always one other specific thing that comes to mind when I think of this movie.  This too I credit Steven Spielberg for and his ability as a director, because otherwise I can’t figure out any other explanation for it.  What I’m talking about is the performance of Colin Farrell. I think he is incredible in this film, and I just can’t figure it out for the life of me.  How can the guy be so damn good in this movie and so widely suck in his career beyond this?  I’ve been seeing this guy in films for a long time now. I know him to specifically blow as an actor.  I have never been able to get over his God awful performance as Alexander back in 2004.  How is it that Oliver Stone, a director that made Charlie Sheen look great in the 80s, fail to get a good performance out of him when Spielberg did so great? It’s always puzzled me but at the same time only makes me appreciate Spielberg more. Somehow he has to be responsible because I sure as hell am not going to give credit to Farrell.  So, for the record, Colin Farrell blows but in this film he is awesome.

I don’t see the point in discussing Cruise.  He is in this film and he is doing his thing.  Probably just to spite haters like me he is a total professional all the way and turns in another killer performance to add to a killer career.  It’s peculiar that you can look at him in this movie and see no noticeable difference in his appearance 12 years later but I’ve discussed that before.  As a hater of this guy I have to admit that he really doesn’t have many flaws in his trade.  He is an outstanding actor and has made a significant career worth being proud of.  I like Max Von Sydow being the real bad guy once everything is figured out.  How did this surprise anyone?  When Emperor Ming it at the top of the hierarchy his hands are bound to be dirty. I like the short part played by Peter Stormare, always great to see him in anything.  Also in small roles Tim Blake Nelson and Neal McDonough add their talents to the cast.

This movie was based on a short story of the same name written by Phillip K. Dick.  I haven’t read it but I have read two Dick books recently and wanted to discuss him a bit.  Dick has been the influence behind a few science fiction films and is significant because one of them is considered one of the greatest of all time.  Blade Runner was based on a book by Dick called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.” I read that book recently and found it very interesting.  He also wrote the story that inspired Total Recall, and its remake twenty years later.  Dick was an author far and away ahead of his time.  He wasn’t right about plenty of things but was clever enough to give visions of the future that left a clear impression on his readers.  I also recently read The Man in the High Castle” which has been talked about being adapted into a film since it came out.  The book is about an alternate reality in the United States in 1962 where everything was different because we lost the war to the Axis powers 20 years prior.  In the book the US is divided into three regions where the Japanese rule the Pacific States of America, the Nazis run the Eastern states, and there is a neutral zone in middle America loosely run by a coalition of the two. A fascinating and frightening book that I really enjoyed reading and would recommend to any person with interest in the topic.

Back to the topic at hand, this film is a great example of a great director and a great actor adding another notch to their belts.  They showed up for work and collaborated to create something awesome.  They both continue to make great films and have been doing so for as long as I have been alive, it’s nice to see them get together to do it.  It’s hard to believe that 12 years has passed since this film came out.  Spielberg has reached a point in his career where he can do anything he wants now.  He is in his later 60s now but he isn’t too old to blow us away with his talent and his career will continue to be interesting to follow.  Cruise on the other hand seems to be standing in some different realm where time stands still and we only see him by happenstance.  Any day now that man is going to become an old man and the world will be so weird then.  I imagine there are a lot of older people out there who look at Tom Cruise and just don’t accept the reality of their age.  They see him looking just like he always did and in their disillusion minds they have what Morpheus would call a “residual self image” of themselves still as lively as they were in the 80s.  That’s all part of why I don’t like Cruise; the guy is a hell of an actor but he is screwing with the small minds of people everywhere with his ability to defy time.

When it comes to science fiction films this one is as good as they get and that doesn’t belittle the genre but enriches it.  This movie is interesting and exciting.  It will draw you in with a fantastic vision of the future and keep you on the edge of your seat with action sequences that will have you biting your nails off. This one is easy to recommend because it is awesome.  This movie is worth your time to see it and if you get the opportunity you won’t be disappointed.

 

AMBER’S REVIEW

I always really like watching this movie. It’s an interesting take on how the future will run. It has been really impressive to watch this movie over the years, and to see how close we actually are to a lot of these technologies. Technology and science have always intrigued me. I also love that they did research of true future technologies and incorporated them into the film. I think that’s the best way to make a movie about the future. We can actually watch it evolve over time and see that some movie called it first.

mreport

Having said all of that above, you would think maybe the poster could also be a little advanced. But, no. It looks like that. How boring is this poster? Tom Cruise in an “action pose?” To me he looks a little more like he may have a stomach ache and is doubling over. I can’t even tell what is going on in the background. The typography is completely bored and had barely if any thought put into it. It also looks like they stretched it out across the top. I could be wrong, there might very well be an expanded version. I hate this poster. I can’t even fathom the idea of someone getting paid for crap like this.

NEXT MOVIE: Mississippi Burning

Flash Gordon…..aaaAAAAAHHH

Year: 1980
Directed By: Mike Hodges
Written By: Alex Raymond (creator) Michael Allin (adaptation) Lorenzo Semple Jr. (screenplay)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is a movie that has stayed in the back of my mind for probably as many as twenty five years now.  I don’t know specifically but I believe I probably watched it many times when I was around 4 or 5 and haven’t seen it since.  Yet there have always been specific scenes from this movie that left a big impact on me because I have never forgotten them.  When I bought it recently and watched it again I now think this movie may have played a significant role in my love for this genre.  I wouldn’t call myself a big science fiction fan but I do have a sincere fondness for campy movies and comic related things.  Looking at this the other night I am wondering if this was in fact one of the first comic book movies and the world just wasn’t ready for it. It was preceded by films about Superman and Batman but let’s be honest, “savior of the universe” or not, Flash aaaAAAHHH could never compete with those guys.

This is a campy movie, and maybe more than was actually intended.  I do think the film was specifically made to be campy but adding to the effect is the fact that we don’t actually hear the voice of Sam J Jones through most of the film.  I read that things got really bad between Jones and the studio as production was winding down and he walked before finishing all the looping of his lines.  In his absence the producers had no choice but to dub over all his dialogue with somebody else’s voice.  Jones’s departure from the film also cancelled out two potential sequels that probably never would have come to fruition anyway.  In hindsight I’m sure Jones probably would have reconsidered his decision to leave as his career produced nothing significant afterwards.  Still, whether we actually hear his voice or not I hardly think it matters.  I think this guy is awesome in the movie. As a teen I spent many years watching That 70’s Show and watching this movie the other night couldn’t get past the “blonde Kelso” playing the hero. I specifically love the scene when he is getting beat up until a ball shaped object rolls towards him and he is able to overpower the aliens with football style fighting moves. His only fault was that he was the quarterback for the New York Jets, currently a pathetic and doomed franchise (sorry Jets fans, but you have to see the truth in that).  We would all be screwed if a Jets QB was tabbed to be savior of the universe today, Mark Sanchez would never get it done. If Sanchez was taken, all Prince Barin would have had to do during the fight to the death was turn around and attack him with his ass.  Sanchez would have fallen off the platform and into oblivion; Earth and the Universe would be screwed.

I think this movie is incredible because of costume design and production.  While it fails by comparison to today’s standards I think it was pretty incredible for 1980.  I love Emperor Ming, Klyus, Prince Vultan, and all of his birdmen for that matter.  To the developing imagination of a four or five year old I don’t know that there was anything cooler then the way these guys looked. Klytus with his metal face was everything I thought a top henchman should be: loyal, wicked, and badass looking.  Prince Vultan was an annoying character every time he opened his mouth but he looked cool, and he had an army of equally cool looking hawkmen to lead into battle.  Emperor Ming; what can I say about this guy? What a great villain right? Cold, calculating, and evil to the core. I love the look of this guy too, everything from the crazy eyebrows to his bitching outfit. The outfit actually weighed something like 70 pounds and could only be worn by the actor for short periods of time. Max von Sydow was great in the role and was even nominated for a Saturn Award for the part, whatever that is.  Von Sydow was actually nominated for an Oscar recently for his role in a movie I will not see. I have a specific rule that if the preview of a movie makes me cry I do not watch it, this was the case with the movie in question, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I know the role he played in this movie and from the preview it looked very profound, but the preview shamed me with glimpses that had tears rolling down my face.

The scene from this movie that stayed with me for over twenty years was this one (click the link to check it out).   The idea of the fight to the death was something new to me at my young age the first time I saw it and it left an impression on me.  Soon my action figure scenarios entailed fights to the death between my G.I.Joes, X-men, or He-Man figures.  I would even take empty boxes and poke pencils through them to emulate the spikes rising from the floor as Flash and Prince Barin fight each other with whips.  The wounds they leave on each other with the whips also left an impression.  I would often take a red washable marker to these action figures to draw blood from the wounds they were giving each other. It’s a scene that might not seem as cool to a younger person today who has grown up with so many incredible fight scenes from tons of different movies. This was one of the first significant fight scenes for me as a child and that makes all the difference as far as I’m concerned.  It was awesome then and it is still awesome now.

I have had the strangest urge to buy this movie looming over me for years now.  A few years ago I came across a used collector’s edition in a store and picked it up.  As I stood there with it in my hand I felt compelled to buy it but talked myself out of it because it had a fairly significant price tag to it for a used DVD.  I had since regretted not buying it and always had my eye out for another copy.  Surprisingly this isn’t a hot item in many DVD retail stores where sales have continually dropped over the years, shocker right?  When it eventually popped up as an Amazon recommendation recently I just couldn’t resist and finally got a copy. I didn’t really know what to expect when I watched it because outside of that one fight scene I remembered very little about it.  I literally enjoyed every bit of it. Maybe it brings back some of the excitement I felt as a child, or maybe it’s just because this movie is freaking awesome.  Amber would argue the first point because she said it was stupid but sound off in comments and let me know what you think.  I’m sticking by the fact that this is just an awesome movie and she is crazy.

I really can’t close out this review without mentioning the soundtrack by Queen.  I would never call myself a Queen fan but I have liked a few of their songs, such as Bohemian Rhapsody.  This song knocks them all dead; in fact I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since seeing the movie.  You can check out the video below:

Something else I keep coming back to since seeing this movie is the idea that it must have been a heavy influence on the guys from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Maybe I’m wrong but I think these examples speak for themselves:

Specifically the input from Dennis, and the outfit he is wearing, seem heavily influenced by Queen. There is also this:

birde-of-warThis is what they did….

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But this is obviously what they were going for right? Maybe I’m just looking into it too much but when watching this movie I kept finding myself thinking about these connections to the show.

To close this review I just want to finish by saying I love this movie and really enjoyed watching it again.  If you were born in the 80s or before I think you will both remember and have a chance to enjoy this movie. If you were born ten or twenty years after this movie came out then I simply hope you approach it with an open mind.  I think this movie is worth your time, and I would love to hear some thoughts from other fans.