Minority Report

Minority Report - a review by Dave Fischer

This new sci-fi thriller is based on the short story by the legendary writer Philip K Dick. As numerous previous attempts at bringing Dick's work to the silver screen have all met with scorn and contempt from the writer's innumerable fans, I approached this new attempt with a great deal of skepticism.

The following is a basic rundown of the main points of comparison between the original and the adaptation, after an initial viewing.

The movie is composed of chemical deposits on a clear substrate, while the story it is based on is normally viewed as chemical deposits arranged on a white, entirely opaque substrate. Further - the movie consists of a wide spectrum of multi-coloured deposits, while the original is presented as entirely monochromatic.

Philip K Dick's work is arranged as a sequence of rather small rectangular sheets, with seperate image groupings on either side, which are viewed sequentially, at a rate that is individually chosen for the viewer's prefered comfort. Further - the viewer can backtrack or even jump non-sequentially forward if desired, though this option does not seem to be often invoked.

The remake, on the other hand, is presented in a much more narrow format, but consisting of a single long sequential "strip", which is viewed at a constant rate, set by the presenter, and not in any way under the control of the viewer. The story is thus forced on the audience at a constant rate of the "lowest common denomenator", with no options for non-linear browsing.

The arrangement of pigments in the original work is designed for the representation of abstract symbolic data describing the events of the story. This "writing" format is a relatively new invention, dating only back to the early days of the bronze age in Mesopotamia and Egypt, about 5000 years BP. I assume this format was chosen to emphasize the modern, technological setting of the story, considering the "science fiction" genre.

The adaption, surprisingly enough, drops the "writing" medium in favour of direct visual representation of images of the objects in the story. This format long predates "writing", and as such is a very odd choice - moving retrograde to the intent of the original author, in choosing the techonological medium to present the story.

This odd decision is not dealt with anywhere in the film, and is left as a jarring discontinuity in the overall effect of the piece. I found it difficult to concentrate on the story as it unfolded, as I constantly investigated each new element and twist of the story, looking for some hint of resolution to this issue.

In conclusion, I cannot in good faith recommend this movie to any fan of Philip K Dick's work. I do not consider it a faithfull adaption, in detail or in intent.

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