What Happened In The 'Minority Report' Movie? Catch Up Before The TV Show Starts
This fall, our television sets will bring us three new shows adapted from feature films, including CBS's Limitless and Starz's Ash Vs. Evil Dead (four if you count CBS's Supergirl), and two new shows adapted from works by Philip K. Dick, including Amazon's The Man In The High Castle. But, only one new show will bring you both at the same time: FOX's Minority Report , based off of the 2002 film by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Cruise, which is itself based off of Dick's famous 1956 short story. But, just how well do you remember what happened in Minority Report the movie?
An intimate knowledge of the film's events shouldn't be required to watch and enjoy the show — after all, the FOX series picks up 11 years later — but it certainly can't hurt. When Minority Report came out in 2002, it was received rapturously by critics and audiences alike, receiving 90 percent on RottenTomatoes and becoming the 17th highest-grossing film of the year. (That's behind franchise entries like Spider-Man, The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, Star Wars: Episode II — Attack Of The Clones, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Men In Black II, and Die Another Day but ahead of other acclaimed action films like The Bourne Identity, Panic Room, and Blade II.) It featured a post-Vanilla Sky Cruise and a pre-Catch Me If You Can Spielberg firing on all cylinders. And, it introduced the world to such mind-boggling futuristic technology as insect robots, electronic paper, and facial recognition billboards — objects of which now exist or are currently in development.
I've sifted through the eye-popping visuals and the pulse-pounding action to come up with six nuggets of information about the film you should probably remember before diving headfirst into the premiere of Minority Report on Sept. 21.
1. The Precogs
The Precrime Division depicted in Minority Report revolves around three so-called "Precogs," who are able to see crimes before they happen. The Precogs are slightly mutated humans with telepathic abilities. Each of them has some power by themselves, but when the three are joined, their ability amplifies. Because of this, they — Agatha (the most powerful) and twins Arthur and Dash — are kept sedated and strapped into a pool 24/7, with no lives to speak of outside of predicting every murder in a 300-mile radius.
2. The "Minority Report"
What exactly is a minority report? It's when one of the three Precogs has a vision that differs in some way from the vision of the other two... and it's Precrime's dirty little secret. If the public knew there was a flaw in the system, the Division would be shut down for good. After all, people are being arrested and imprisoned for crimes they haven't actually committed yet based on the telepathic visions of three mutants; if it was known that those visions could be flawed, the whole endeavor would collapse.
3. The Crime
Of course, this all goes to hell in a handbasket when Precrime Captain John Anderton (Cruise) receives a vision from the Precogs of himself committing the murder of a man named Leo Crow — a man he doesn't even know, who the Precogs predict he will kill in only 36 hours. Knowing that he has no intention of killing someone named Crow in a day-and-a-half, Anderton kidnaps Agatha (Samantha Morton), assuming she's in possession of a minority report that will disprove the vision.
Unfortunately, she's not — and after Anderton finally tracks down his supposed victim, he realizes Crow is the man who abducted and murdered his son... except he's not, really. Crow was simply hired by someone to pretend to be the abductor so Anderton would kill him. Anderton refuses, proving the vision wrong, but Crow still kills himself in the same manner, making it look like Anderton is guilty.
4. The Twist
The person who hired Crow and is behind Anderton's frame job is none other than the founder and director of Precrime, Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). It turns out that Burgess had taken Agatha from her drug-addicted mother, Ann, when she was a child; when Ann sobered up, she came looking for her daughter. Knowing that Agatha's removal from the program would mean Precrime's downfall, Burgess murdered Ann. Early in the film, Anderton was unknowingly starting to piece this together, which is why Burgess had to remove him from the equation.
5. The "Echo"
Burgess was able to get away with Ann's murder thanks to yet another flaw in the system: An "echo." These are when the Precogs receive further flashes of a vision they've already had, which are deleted from the system as extraneous. Burgess hired a hitman to kill Ann, and he was obviously foiled by the Precrime Division. But, as soon as the hitman was arrested, Burgess then proceeded to murder Ann in the exact same method, causing a new vision of Ann's death which was shrugged off as a presumed "echo."
6. The End
When the Precogs predict that Burgess will kill Anderton, the Director has two options: Commit the murder but go to prison for the rest of his life, or don't commit it but prove his own system flawed in the process. Unable to face either failure or incarceration, Burgess kills himself. This proves to the public that the Precogs are fallible, and Precrime is shut down immediately. Agatha, Arthur, and Dash are removed from the program and given their lives back, safe from prying eyes on a remote and picturesque island. Although the fact that there's now a TV show proves that their idyllic existence must not have lasted very long...
Images: Bruce MacCauley/FOX; 20th Century Fox (6)