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Minority Report

Hollywood went back to the well of Philip K. Dick when Spielberg made his version of Minority Report, a slickly directed, special-effects bonanza. However, the film destroys the essential mental puzzle that formed the basis of Dick's story.

Furthermore, rather than presenting an interesting conundrum, the film merely contradicts itself in fairly practical and inexplicable ways.

To wit: We are led to believe that Max von Sydow's character is able to fool the PreCogs into predicting that Anderton is going to kill a man he doesn't even know by setting up a situation where Anderton thinks that person has murdered his son, when in reality he hasn't. The system calls this a "brown ball" murder-- that is, one that is premeditated, rather than a crime of passion. In order to accept this, we must believe that Anderton's general desire for revenge against his son's murderer-- even though that person is not specifically known to him-- is enough for the PreCogs to consider the murder premeditated. (Never mind that in the US' current legal system, this would not qualify as malice aforethought.)

However, at the end of the film, when the PreCogs predict that von Sydow is going to kill Anderton, this is presented as a "red ball", a crime of passion. The plot requires this because there can't be any notice to the police before the confrontation between Cruise and von Sydow occurs.

But that murder, had it taken place, would have fit precisely the criteria for premeditation as set by Cruise's murder of the Leo Crow character (had it taken place-- in the film, Crow is killed in a struggle over a weapon).

Think about it this way: Von Sydow was willing to kill anyone who would stop him and his PreCrime project. That had already been shown, in his murder of Anne Lively and Danny Witwer. Anderton fits this mold; he stands in the way of his control of PreCrime. As such, this murder is premeditated, and NOT a crime of passion. The same applies to Witwer's murder, which while it took place during the time when Agatha was away from the PreCog tank, and therefore the system didn't work. However, we're told that the PreCogs can see premeditated murders as much as four days in advance, and Agatha was gone far less time than that, only a few hours before Witwer was killed. In fact, if the opening murder attempt is indicative, it would well have been possible that Agatha could have foreseen Witwer's murder even before Anderton came and abducted her from PreCrime headquarters.