Friday, April 3, 2015

Misleading Titles Week: Total Recall 2 a.k.a. Minority Report

A fine greetings to you all still reading this blog and on to Day 4 of Misleading Titles Week. Today's cinematic creation would be construed as an "A" List film due to its director, budget and big names attached to it. However, even with an surefire hit can come lost in translation, a foreign production distribution confused on the film or multiple working titles can be drafted on the script itself waiting to acquire the rights to existing intelligent property. The film today is based loosely on the short story written by the late Science Fiction author Phillip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep, Total Recall, Paycheck, Screamers and A Scanner Darkly) directed by Steven Spielberg (Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, Jurassic Park and Schindler's List) so how could there be confusion? This is Total Recall 2 a.k.a. Second Sight a.k.a. Minority Report

Yes these close-ups are necessary. DO NOT QUESTION IT!

The year is 2054 and Washington D.C. Is virtually crime free thanks to the combined efforts of a squad of specialized police known as "PreCrime", an experimental police force that utilizes three precognitive psychics to capture potential crime of murders. Their visions of the future are recorded to determine who, what and why before it comes to light and the crime is stopped before it ever starts. While a blessing in theory to stop the loss of life before it happens, the argument becomes how can you violate laws and rights of citizens that have not committed a crime. Chief Judge Anderton (Tom Cruise of Top Gun, A Few Good Men, Mission: Impossible, Jerry Maguire and Jack Reacher) stands by this program as a necessity to avoid the pain and loss of others as murder is an unnatural death. Anderton while a respected officer of the law has been secretly taking illegal drugs since the disappearance of his son to numb the pain and eventually be divorced by his wife Lara (Kathryn Morris of A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Cold Case, Paycheck, The Sweeter Side of Life and The Coin).

Sheesh, he's surfing torture porn again.

Before the program is officially signed off on and made nation-wide, U.S. Department of Justice Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell of American Outlaws, Phone Booth, The Recruit, S.W.A.T. , Alexander, Horrible Bosses and Fright Night) demands with accordance with the law, a full shakedown of this system. The concern of any bugs in the program need to be cleared. During the review the precogs predict a murder of one Leo Crow within 36 hours and his killer will be Anderton? Anderton not having a clue who Crow is and believing that Witwer tampered with the precogs hightails it out of the building with Witwer demanding a manhunt after Anderton.

On the run and with security having its citizens retinal scans to confirm their whereabouts in the city, city official buildings and even apartment entry codes, Anderton goes underground, off the grid and even has a horrible black market operation to get replacement eyes allowing him to roam freely, giving him time to see if PreCrime is flawed as it appears to be. With his own team in hot pursuit of his springy, well-toned ass it is only matter of time for them to bump into each other. Will Anderton be able to reason with Washington? Is PreCrime a bust? Will there be couch leaping involved?

Okay, silliness aside I did want to point out a few things on the film. This sci-fi whodunnit film was originally supposed to be a sequel to Total Recall that writers Ronald Shusett and Gary Goldman took from the original story. With Speilberg and Cruise involved in two separate projects the script fell on the shelves and was up for a re-write John Cohen drafted as they did not feel Total Recall was the way to go. Taking away with the original setting in Mars and explaining psychics were created by the harsh environment and cheap domes had to be replaced with a simple mutation in the gene pool story arc.

With fine tuning and the use of this same named short story Minority Report, Speilberg approached scientists ranging from bio-medical research, car engineers, architects, virtual reality techs to create a city of the future in practical effects as well as CGI.

Spielberg's trusted cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and War of the Worlds) bleached the film's negative in post-production to create that weird desaturated colors scheme almost giving it a film noir feel not dissimilar to Ridley Scott's Bladerunner. With a complex story, decent action and pretty impressive performances it was no wonder it was up for as many awards for the Oscars.

Is it me or is this TRON in traffic jam?