Precrime System In Minority Report

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Upon its release in 2002, Minority Report was a defining moment for Steven Spielberg’s career. A return to the top of his form, the landmark piece of intelligent, adult science fiction leaves you to contemplate the inevitable technocratic takeover that is just around the bend. Based on the short story of the same name, Minority Report delves even deeper into the world Philip K. Dick constructed – but does it live up to its source material?

In Washington D.C., 2054, a ‘PreCrime’ unit has been in operation for roughly six years now, under the leadership of Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow). By using a system made up of three procogs - human-like creatures that can prophesise murder before it transpires - the unit has successfully eliminated all
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In the film, the precogs are essentially viewed as a higher power. Suspended in a pool of photon milk, they are kept in a room called ‘The Temple’. Here, they are treated with the utmost reverence, and that reverence is transferred to the process of harvesting their visions. The short story portrays the precogs in a nastier light, describing them as ‘mutants with enlarged heads and wasted bodies’ that are ‘deformed and retarded’ and storing them in a ‘monkey block’. Essentially viewed as emotionless objects, there is an obvious lack of respect in comparison. While Dick is all about dehumanization, and Speilberg is about the myth of humanity. For Dick, the pre-cogs are a simple plot device, while for Spielberg, they serve as the most obvious victims of the system’s tendency to put the ends before the means. The decision to divert from the original text and parallel it almost entirely, really demonstrates Spielberg’s intention to recreate the story through his own eyes.

Anderton is an undeniably complicated character. Left to struggle with the loss of his kidnapped son, he falls to narcotics as a coping mechanism. The tragedy leads him to become head of the PreCrime initiative, where he continues to take hits to help fight his inner demons. Philip K. Dick’s version of Anderton is in another ballpark entirely. In the story, he is in his late middle-age; possibly getting close to retirement. He has tirelessly worked on the PreCrime initiative for the last 30 years and is one of the few to find a publicly-valuable usage for
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