Films to See Before You Die: #87 Minority Report

minority report

Minority Report (2002)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Max von Sydow

Synopsis: In the year 2054 there is a government program exclusively in Washington, D.C. called Precrime which has eliminated murder. They are able to do this by premonitions by the Precogs wherein they are able to see murders hours before they happen. Police officer Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) is the lead detective of the Precrime unit working for the founder of the program Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). The program is being investigated by The Department of Justice agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell) before is goes national. While they are being investigated a murder has been seen by the Precogs that John Anderton will kill a man named Leo Crow in 36 hours. Anderton now running for his life must prove his innocence by finding his “minority report” which means stealing the most powerful Precog Agatha (Samantha Morton) and extracting it from her before his time is up.

Trivia: At the police station, the officers talk about the metaphysical proof of precognition. Chief Anderton rolls a red ball along a table to demonstrate the law of cause and effect to Det. Witwer. All of this is an allusion to the famous claim of philosopher David Hume (1711-1776), that by observing billiard balls you can actually demonstrate that cause and effect does not exist but is merely a habitually created fiction of the mind.

Why I think you should see this: Minority Report is a great sci-fi film and has aged pretty well actually. I have always been a huge fan of Spielberg’s whether he is directing or producing each film has a sense of wonderment that most filmmakers cannot bring to their films. Tom Cruise is great in the lead as the always cornered but never beaten John Anderton and Max von Sydow does a great job as usual in his role.

Films to See Before You Die: #89 Serenity


Serenity (2005)

Director: Joss Whedon

Cast: Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Synopsis: The crew of Serenity is still on the run from the totalitarian government known as the Alliance that will stop at nothing to get its property back River Tam (Summer Glau). This means that Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) can only choose dishonest jobs on planets not controlled by the Alliance as to keep River safe in exchange for her brother Dr. Simon Tam being the ships medic. Now the Alliance has sent an assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) after her which spells trouble for Mal and his crew because this man will stop at nothing to get River back. After Mal discovers the horrifying truth it becomes an all out battle to get the secret out before the assassin can stop them.

Trivia: In the cargo River is hiding and why they want her back so badly. The bay, just after a Reaver is shot, some of the crates behind River have the message “Reusable Container: Do Not Destroy” printed on them. It’s an inside joke. The ship set had to be rebuilt from scratch for the movie because the original, from the show, was destroyed.

Why I think you should see this: This film is a rare commodity in which it is a movie adaption of a television series that contains the original cast and doesn’t feel like just a long episode. For those who don’t know about Serenity it is a continuation of the story from the show Firefly which I suggest you check out first. The acting is superb with Nathan Fillion being rock solid as Captain Malcolm Reynolds and Chiwetel Ejiofor doing an excellent job as the cold and calculating villain. This is also Joss Whedon’s directorial debut so those wanting to get a look at his style before The Avengers comes out should probably check this out.

Films to See Before You Die: #96 John Carter

john carter

John Carter (2012)

Director: Andrew Stanton

Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Mark Strong

Synopsis: John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) a Civil War veteran in 1868 who is asked to rejoin the army and upon refusal is locked up. After escaping he finds a cave that has a lot of strange markings on the walls, he obtains a medallion that transports him to Barsoom (Mars) where the air is breathable and the planet inhabited by two different species. The difference in the planet’s atmosphere makes him able to jump huge distances and he is incredibly strong. Carter is taken captive by the Tharks a race of 12-foot tall green barbarians who are led by Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe). After rescuing a princess (Lynn Collins) of Helium a race of red humanoids Carter is asked to aid her city against a warlord from Zodanga who has been slaughtering her people. Initially he refuses but soon after realizes that he cannot just stand aside that he must fight for Barsoom.

Trivia: The first “John Carter” story by Edgar Rice Burroughs made its debut in 1912 in a magazine serial. Thus, the 2012 feature film marks the centenary (100th anniversary) of the character’s first appearance.

Why I think you should see this: I have seen this movie twice in the theaters and loved it both times it is an absolute masterpiece of sci-fi filming. The effects are incredible and the lead character is very likable as are all the rest. I really encourage people to go see this in theaters while it is still out and if you miss it make it a top priority for rental. I was simply over whelmed the first time I saw it and after it was done I was very sad that it did poorly at the box office because that makes it unlikely for the promise of any sequels.