WARNING: This review contains MAJOR SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.
Spielberg has changed, no doubt, but with the release of Minority Report we see a glimmer of hope that Spielberg has returned to making movies that tell stories over making theological or moral statements.
All things considered I’d still have to list Spielberg’s greatest accomplishment as “Schindler’s List”, but there is no doubt that his best films come before the 1990s. “Goonies”, “Jaws”, “Close Encounters”, “E.T.”, “Indiana Jones”, and “Poltergeist” all rank near the top of my list as some of the greatest in American cinema.
The era of Schindler’s List, Amistad, Saving Private Ryan, and A.I., opened the door for potent emotionalism and strong views on goodness and ethics. It’s like all of a sudden Spielberg decided that since he was one of Hollywood’s best he was required to educate Americans on honor and life and blah blah blah blah balh. Maybe he just got tired of making fluff (*cough* Hook *cough*).
With Minority Report there is real hope that Spielberg has returned to the land of bedtime stories, or at least he’s getting there. MR is still missing those childlike qualities that run rampant through his early movies. MR comes out clearly as a think piece (is the future set, should we arrest people for crimes they didn’t commit, questions of genetic experimentation) but it leaves those questions in the foreground and mostly unanswered; it simply tells the story.
Nonetheless this movie does not reach perfection, although it does come close. Once again Spielberg has decided that the world we live in is one where everything comes out perfectly. As if the U.S. government has no use for three people that can tell the future. As well, John Anderton (Tom Cruise) somehow learns to get over the loss of his son, mentor, and job, gives up drugs, remarries, and has a child. The movie also lacked a little in the character development department; it would have been nice to know why Ed Witwer (Colin Farrel) hated John Anderton so much.
Regardless of the few flaws, Minority Report is well worth seeing in the theaters. And even though I’m glad to see Spielberg trying new techniques and expanding into new genres, I’m still waiting for the next “classic” Spielberg to hit the theaters.