For the last Movie Gadget Friday Josie Fraser checked out the Babel fish The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, for this week's installment she looks at the Pre-Crime Analytical Wing from Minority Report:
Let's not complain that Steven Spielberg's 2002 film Minority Report isn't very good, particularly when it
sits between AI and The Terminal. And lets not be too bitter about the fact that it has little
resemblance to the 1956 Philip K. Dick short of the same name, especially as the next movie to come limping out of the
P.K. Dick adaptation/crippling stable was John Woo's all-time career low Paycheck. Let's be positive and
concentrate on how Minority Report is super rich in gadget-goodness, which means this week's feature has a cluster of
them to feast upon.
The futurist think tank employed by Spielberg to dream up a brave new world came up with some pretty neat ideas, including personalised advertising triggered by casual, public retinal scanning and tracking; swarms of mechanical spiders designed to carry out systematic and thorough police searches; and the MAG-LEV (magnetic levitation) road system which allows vehicles to travel at accident-free high speeds, horizontally as well as vertically, across the city,
The Pre-Crime Analytical Wing comes from the original story and is a unique set of gadgets both in film gadget history and within the narrative of the movie, due to its organic and non replaceable components ? namely three shaved idiots in a bath tub of soapy liquid ? a mechanism that brings a whole new angle to the concept of immersive computing environments.
These ?pre-cognitive? idiot-savants are the genetically altered psychic children of drug addicts who float in a
giant nutritious soup bath all day, every day, over hearing the futures grisly deaths of the cities inhabitants. The
Pre-Crime analytical wing has been built around the precogs soup-assisted ability to channel future murders. Their
visions are projected across the huge screen of the data CAVE (Configurable Automatic Virtual Environment). A crack
team of detectives, lead by drug riddled obsessive Detective John Anderton (Tom Cruise) manipulate the precogs data
stream using a physical computer language ? so they look like they get to play an eye-toy game of someones impending
murder for a living.
As well as the data CAVE, the precogs are hooked up to an archaic and extremely unlucky form of lottery machine ? if your name appears psychically burnt into a wooden ball, you?re going to be arrested and put away for an extremely long time ? without having actually committed, or even considered any criminal act.
Remember citizens, it?s your duty to continue to Vote Yes for Pre-Crime!