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Due to time constraints and a desire to have a life outside of this website, I've decided to dispense with any serious comment on the film in this review. Instead I've opted to provide a brief summary of the plot and focus on the technical merits of this disc, which is after all the primary reason for Blu-ray reviews such as this.

 Minority Report

Feature


Based on a short story by science fiction author Philip K. Dick, Minority Report stars Tom Cruise as John Anderton, a Washington, D.C. detective in the year 2054. Anderton works in ‘Precrime’, an elite unit of the police force that arrests murderers before the commission of their crimes. Precrime functions due to the premonitions of three psychics, or ‘precogs’, whose visions of future events are never wrong. When Anderton is identified as the future killer of a man he's never met, he is forced to become a fugitive from his own colleagues as he tries to uncover the mystery of the victim-to-be's identity. His search for the truth leads Anderton to suspect that he is being framed by hotshot FBI agent Danny Witwer (Colin Farrell), and in his desperation he kidnaps the female precog, Agatha (Samantha Morton).

Video


Minority report arrives on Blu-ray with a 2.40:1 widescreen transfer (1080/24p AVC) that provides a significant upgrade over the standard-definition DVD release. The film has an intentionally gritty, bleached-out look that has translated to Blu-ray extremely well, with colours that lean very strongly towards the colder end of the spectrum (much of the action is bathed in a steely blue hue). These colder tones are rendered more naturally than the DVD, as is the rest of the palette, with the occasional splashes of red and other primaries looking more vibrant than ever. If this were any other film I'd be complaining about contrast issues, but the blooming whites are just as they should be in Spielberg's hyper-stylised world. Blacks are also strong, and although they're not always as inky as one might expect this is also an intentional stylistic choice and shadow detail remains strong regardless.

 Minority Report
The level of detail on display is very impressive throughout, especially in close-ups where facial textures are incredibly lifelike. Even small details like raindrops falling against John's windows are individually identifiable and the rich environments virtually leap off of the screen. Grain-haters will no doubt be concerned by just how much of the stuff is on display, but it's entirely faithful to the source material and one of the major improvements over the DVD (which lacked the resolution to correctly resolve the grain structure). In any event it all adds to the noir-ish look of the piece. As one might expect from a newly-minted master personally approved by Steven Spielberg, other than a few white specs and some minor posterisation the transfer is virtually free from artefacts. I use the qualifier because I don't watch my films on a one hundred inch screen, so it's entirely possible that projection users might spot some minor issues that escaped me. In any case, the UK release doesn't seem to have suffered too severely in the image quality stakes in spite of having a smaller encode and lower bitrate than the US release. In fact, the lack of the 'tramlines' that appear at the top and bottom of the frame on the US disc is a most welcome improvement. Even with its minor imperfections I think it's fair to say that Minority Report has never looked so good on any home format—it really is that good.

Audio


Minority Report's stunning visuals are ably backed by DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that checks all the right boxes. Unlike many of the recent high-profile titles to come my way, Minority Report doesn't go in for an over-abundance of surround action coupled with bombastic use of the subwoofer. Instead it offers a refined soundtrack that seamlessly integrates all elements of the mix. Although most of the action occurs at the front of the soundstage for the first forty-five minutes or so, the rear channels are used to compliment with ambient and localised effects. As the film shifts up a gear so does the surround utilisation, with some of the most memorable moments occurring during Anderton's escape from pre-crime (the personal jet-packs sound awesome).

 Minority Report
While generally more restrained than films like 2012, bass has a strong presence when required. As with surround utilisation it's at its strongest during the scenes in which Anderton runs from the police, with the maglev sequence a particular highlight, but I also enjoyed the 'sonic booms' from the agents' cool hand-held weapons. Dialogue is also refreshingly strong and clear, with nary a muddied line to be heard. As one might expect, John Williams' music is one of the soundtrack's strongest elements, but as a huge fan of his work on the Star Wars saga I might be slightly biased. There are numerous cues that actually put me in mind of some of his work on the prequel trilogy, and during the scene where Anderton fights off the agents in the car assembly plant Williams is practically channelling a similar scene from Attack of the Clones.

One thing I was hoping for was the restoration of a piece of Peter Stormare's dialogue that was horrendously dubbed on previous releases. Unfortunately this was not to be, and we still get 'attitude' instead of 'hard-on' and it still sounds just as bad as it ever did. This very minor quibble aside—and even though it's not as flashy as some recent blockbusters— Minority Report is still very accomplished aurally and the Master Audio track does a great job of showcasing that. On balance I still think the visuals steal the show, but the audio isn't a million miles behind.

 Minority Report

Extras


Fox has assembled a decent selection of new and old bonus material for this Blu-ray release. I've outlined the new material below so as to separate it from the older stuff, further details of which can be found in the links section at the bottom of the page.

The Future According to Steven Spielberg: An Interactive Guide to Minority Report (34:01 HD): This is a very interesting interview with director Steven Spielberg, conducted around the time of the film's theatrical release. The interview is divided into eighteen segments and as an additional incentive, Fox dishes up further branching featurettes available via an overlay that plays alongside the video. Each featurette is pertinent to the topic Spielberg is currently discussing.

Inside the World of Precrime (10:08 HD): This is a mock infomercial style look into the world of Precrime, complete with soothing female voice-over and behind-the-scenes clips and sketches. There's even a fake Lexus promo thrown in for good measure.

Philip K. Dick, Steven Spielberg and Minority Report (14:15 HD): This is an interview with Isa Dick (no sniggering) Hackett, daughter of the late author. She talks about her childhood, her recollections of her father's work, and her reaction to the film. A number of Philip K. Dick biographers and experts are also on hand to flesh things out.

 Minority Report
Minority Report: Future Realized (06:20 HD): This is a look at how some of the technology featured in the film inspired the creation of a real-life tactile interface. It's demonstrated by its creators, and while it's very 'cool' it still has a way to go before it has nay the practical applications.

Minority Report: Props of the Future (09:40 HD): As the title suggests, this piece focusses on the various props featured in the film, most of which were hoarded by Spielberg after shooting wrapped. It's doesn't sound particularly exciting, but it's actually a pretty engaging featurette.

Highlights from Minority Report: From the Set (08:57 HD): This featurette explores the development and shooting of two of the film's major set-pieces, the hoverpack sequence and the car factory sequence.

Minority Report: Commercials of the Future (03:52 HD): This featurette examines targeted advertising as depicted in the film, along with the design of said advertisements.

 Minority Report
Hoverpack Sequence Previz (02:07 HD): This one is fairly self-explanatory, in that it's just a series of basic animatics played alongside the completed footage.

Maglev Escape Previz (01:40 HD): As you probably guessed, this is very similar to the previous featurette.

2002 Featurettes: This section includes all of the bonus material from the original DVD release of the film, including 'From Story to Screen', 'Deconstructing Minority Report', 'The Stunts of Minority Report', 'ILM and Minority Report', and 'Final Report: Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise'. Again, because of time constraints I've decided against a lengthy description of every item, but if you're curious about the content check out Tom Woodward's DVD review (linked below) for a full run-down.

Archives: Again these are carried over from the DVD release, and include a 'Production Concepts Gallery', 'Storyboard Sequences', and three trailers. As with the 2002 featurettes, those who never owned the DVD can read more in Tom's review.

Digital Copy: The second disc in the set is what I affectionately like to refer to as a Digital Coaster. I've yet to find a use for one of these things—I've no interest in watching a low-resolution video on a hand-held device—but your mileage may vary.

 Minority Report

Overall


I very much enjoyed revisiting Minority Report on Blu-ray. For me, it's one of the most enjoyable Spielberg films of the last two decades (although clearly not his best), and every time I watch it poses new questions. I never considered myself a fan of Philip K. Dick's work, but I recently realised that some of my favourite films are based on his novels and short stories. It's interesting that Minority Report, Total Recall and Blade Runner—adaptations by three different directors—are thematically similar, especially with regards to the endings, specifically the characters' doubts about their identities and the reality with which they are presented. Of course I can't be sure of Spielberg's intentions, but I like to think that the ending of the film isn't as straightforward as it seems.

As for the disc, well Fox has delivered yet another great catalogue title with audio-visual qualities to rival many of the more recent features to land on my doormat. I wouldn't go so far as to label any of the elements 'reference quality'—as I mentioned, the print isn't completely free from artefacts—but it's a damn good job all the same. Spielberg fans should be delighted with what is ultimately the best available version of Minority Report (minor differences between UK and US disc excepted), and it's the perfect way for newcomers to experience the film.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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