Minority Report Blu-ray Review with D-BOXMay 17, 2010
It is easy to knock some of Spielberg's later works compared to his earlier masterpieces. Minority Report, the 2002 sci-fi thriller based on the book of the same name, is one of the exceptions proving Spielberg still has a lot of gas in his creative tank.
Minority Report is an intriguing twisting science fiction story which Spielberg has supercharged with slick visuals and a great first collaboration with Tom Cruise in bringing it to the big screen. It tests the consequences of knowing the future via precognitive visions and then acting upon it to save lives. The moral ramifications of enslaving people to conjure the predictions as well as boxing up people who were stopped just shy of committing murder – but never actually doing the act – are capable of spanning endless discussions and debate.
In the hands of Spielberg, Minority Report bristles to life with the creation of a futuristic world where the invasion of privacy extends beyond precognition and into mass media. Cruise's character is on the run for most of the film and must duck and dodge numerous means the authorities have of tracking him. The scary part is some of the futuristic technology Minority Report suggests and ILM realizes is coming true which makes the film more relevant today than when it was initially conceived.
Minority Report was remastered for its arrival on Blu-ray and the result is an incredibly film-like image that Spielberg must have had a hand in signing off on. The original bright and saturated cinematography that adds a unique visual flair to the film is intact with whites and blacks as polar opposite and deep/intense as can be expected from a 1080p transfer. The film grain has not been scrubbed (at least to my eyes) and detail is outstanding with only a handful of scenes depicting noise that might be considered a bit excessive. The transfer looks as you'd expect it to playing at 10 times the size in your local cinema which is great for film purists, but might not be appreciated as much by audiences associating a high definition transfer with the absence of film grain.
Along with being the best Minority Report has ever looked on home video, the film has never sounded better, too, with the inclusion of a lossless 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. There is a lot of "low" talking in this film which could have easily drowned out under the score or other sounds. It does not. When the handful of action scenes kick up so do the surrounds and LFE which both respond aggressively and deep.
D-BOX Motion Code
Minority Report is an unconventional action film in that the best sequences coming in the beginning and middle while the climax relies more on tension than bang for your buck. As a result, the best D-BOX moments are limited compared to typical action films. The only sustained stretch of D-BOX action runs during the middle act's extended chase sequence starting with the Maglev escape, through the Hoverpack chase and finally ending in the car manufacturing plant. In that plant is the discharging of a pump-action stun gun that sends an enjoying low frequency effect through the D-BOX enabled chair. Other D-BOX moments tend to follow John Williams' score with several beats being picked up through timed and correctly pitched chair movements, especially during the opening pre-cog sequence.
Beyond the Feature
All of Minority Report's supplements are housed on a second disc with over one hour of them newly created for Blu-ray and presented in high definition. Several of the new featurettes are derived from a new interview with production designer Alex McDowell, all of which are worth watching for anyone the least bit intrigued by the technology portrayed in the film.
NEW: The Future According to Steven Spielberg (HD) - The unusual application of picture-in-picture technology accompanies a re-edited interview with Spielberg recorded on the eve of the film's theatrical debut rather than during the feature film. That's the way you might expect reading the back of the case and the introduction screen. But accessing other interview snippets, behind-the-scenes footage and pre-production art takes you completely away from Spielberg rather than picture-in-picture. The design is seamless in that when the extra material concludes the Spielberg interview picks up where it left off, but it is cumbersome to have to constantly interrupt Steven and deal with countless bursts of load time.
NEW: Inside the World of Precrime (10:11, HD) – A fictional promotional piece touting the obvious effectiveness and history of precrime. A woman narrator explains the ins and outs of the technology on top of a barrage of clips and stills from the film.
NEW: Phillip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg and Minority Report (14:18, HD) – A look at the man who conceived the Minority Report novel and how he developed the story. If anything this piece makes you want to go read the book.
NEW: Minority Report: Future Realized (6:22, HD) – A brief but fascinating look at the now very real crude geo-spatial control program that is featured as a future technology in Minority Report. Is this really the future?
Minority Report: Props of the Future (9:43, HD) – Spielberg has preserved all the props from the film which the production designer looks back on to explain why they were designed the way they were.
Highlights from Minority Report: From The Set (HD) – The Hoverpack and Car sequence are broken down individually with behind-the-scenes footage by the production designer as part of a larger interview that began in the previous featurette.
Minority Report: Commercials of the Future (3:55, HD) – The production designer continues, this time discussing how media and advertising were built into the film. We are already seeing personalized ads to an extent on the Internet so the loss of privacy seen in Minority Report is a stronger message today than it was eight years ago when the film was released.
Previz Sequences (HD) – The early animations for the Hoverpack and Maglev Escape action sequences.
Previously available bonus features from the DVD release offered in standard definition only include the following:
Unlike Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Minority Report is a piece of Steven Spielberg's catalog of films that is not to be missed. Paramount clearly understood this when investing in a remaster and all-new high definition bonus features for this Blu-ray disc release where each of the two discs is full of entertainment and filmmaking knowledge while devoid of fluff. Or maybe they secretly house their own pre-cogs and saw the potential backlash if Minority Report was not properly presented. Either way, we are the winners and this set comes highly recommended.
- Dan Bradley
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Dreamworks - Paramount
April 20, 2010