Tom Cruise is the head of the Pre-Crime unit. There’s an exciting opening sequence in which it is shown how the Pre-Crime unit operates to prevent murders. Soon there is going to be a vote as to whether Pre-Crime should go national or not. A guy from the FBI comes in and starts questioning whether the system is really fraud-proof or not. Pre-Crime predicts that Tom Cruise is going to murder someone. Tom Cruise runs. There is a mostly unnecessary action sequence inside a nebulous factory that turns out at the end to be a car factory. There is over-exposure of severed and bloody eyeballs, although sometimes it’s quite funny as well as being gross. Tom Cruise kidnaps/liberates the woman who predicted his crime and goes to meet his destiny. He meets the guy he’s supposed to kill and figures out why he has the motive to kill him. After a tense moment he decides not to kill him. The guy reveals a tantalizing hint of a conspiracy and causes Tom Cruise to shoot him.
Gord thought the movie should have ended there.
FBI guy comes to the scene of the shooting, decides that there’s something fishy, and goes to confront the person he thinks is behind it. Tom Cruise and the precog run to the country and are hiding out with Tom Cruise’s ex-wife. Without the precog in the tank, murders can’t be predicted and FBI guy is shot through the heart by Tom Cruise’s gun. Now it looks like Tom Cruise has murdered two people. The Pre-Crime guys catch up with Tom Cruise at his ex-wife’s cottage and arrest him.
I thought the movie should have ended there.
But wait, Pre-Crime has been voted in and there’s going to be a gala. Before he was arrested Tom Cruise revealed the existence of this conspiracy to his ex-wife. She figures out who’s behind it, makes further use of the bloody eyeballs, frees Tom Cruise, who exposes the person behind the conspiracy at the gala, that person commits suicide, the Pre-Crime experiment is abandoned, Tom Cruise gets back together with his ex-wife, and the precogs get to live happily ever after in an isolated cottage near a nice lake that may or may not be the site of some previous murders.
So, sort of like Artificial Intelligence, it went on too long and tied up too many loose ends.
Other than that, though, it was pretty slick. I liked just about everything that made up this particular vision of the future. It all seemed pretty plausible. Computer screens are flat pieces of some see-through material, presumably some sort of fibre-optic. Tom Cruise has these really cool mouse/glove things that he uses to manipulate images in the Pre-Crime centre. Retinal scanners are everywhere, but in most places seem to be used more for personalised advertising than security. Newspapers have finally reached the stage that futurists have been predicting, that is broadsheet-shaped pieces of some kind of display that can change to show you breaking news and stories of interest specifically to you. Cars (for in the city at least) are sort of like a cross between an elevator and a car and seem to be perhaps partly or maybe fully automated. I thought the product placement was absolutely brilliant, because it was worked in in such a way as to demonstrate the new technology at least as effectively as anything else in the film, and really, in daily life we are bombarded with product promotions, especially in large cities, so a vision of the future without product placement would actually seem kind of strange to me.
I did have some problems with the technology, though. For instance, in order to move an image from one computer screen to another within the Pre-Crime office, they put it on a smallish chip of fibre-optic and physically walked it about three paces across the room. Surely those two computers are linked in such a way that the file could be transferred electronically. I mean, I worked in an office where people were transferring files to each other all the time and there was never so much as a floppy disk involved. And, why were cars for the country so differentiated from cars for the city? As well as the elevator cars, FBI guy drove something that looked like a moderately altered PT Cruiser (in fact, FBI guy had this whole 30’s gangster thing going for the whole movie), and Tom Cruise drove this very smart and semi-futuristic looking Lexus, but it really didn’t look like either the Cruiser or the Lexus would have survived a mile on the city freeways. And, as Gord said, “Do you really think the Gap will be selling the exact same clothes 50 years from now?” Well, actually, I think the Gap’s clothes are so bland and generic they will be selling the same stuff, but fashion seems an awful lot harder to predict than technology.
Anyway, three pints, but the last pint is the one that causes you to think, “I really should have stopped at two.”