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What to expect from ''Minority Report''

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Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, ...
Minority Report: David James

Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg have a lot in common — including the fact that their most recent movies were pretty weird (Spielberg’s Kubrickian ”A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” and Cruise’s head-scratcher ”Vanilla Sky”). These days, they have yet another career move in common: their new movie ”Minority Report” (due in theaters June 21), a complex, sci-fi whodunit with mysterious trailers that raise some burning questions. Here are a few answers, with relevant input from Cruise and Spielberg.

WARNING: A few mild SPOILERS follow.

So how much DOES ”Minority Report” have in common with ”A.I.” or ”Vanilla Sky”?
Like ”A.I.” (and some of ”Vanilla Sky”) ”Minority Report” takes place in the future: the year 2054, to be exact. But ”A.I.”’s world of flooded-over oceans and weeping robots is much more removed from our reality than that of ”Minority Report,” which mixes ”Jetsons”-like technology (cars travel up the sides of buildings, cops fly around with personal jetpacks) with familiar ”Martha Stewart Living”-style suburban homes.

Like ”A.I.,” which is based on a philosophical dilemma (Can a machine really love?), ”Minority Report” has some deep underpinnings. The movie’s central conceit raises questions about destiny and free will: a Pre-Crime police unit is able to arrest murderers before their crimes actually take place. Meanwhile, those baffled by ”Vanilla Sky”’s constant mix between dreams and reality will find relief this time. ”’Vanilla Sky’ was delicious because you have to figure out where you were at all times,” says Spielberg. ”In ‘Minority Report,’ the reality is clear.”

What’s Tom Cruise’s character like?
He’s a flawed hero with more complexity than, say, Cruise’s ”Mission: Impossible” incarnation. But the actor points out that he has plenty of experience with nuanced roles in such films as ”Magnolia” and ”Born on the Fourth of July.” This time, as Captain John Anderton, he’s a good cop (he heads the Pre-Crime unit) who’s driven to a drug addiction by memories of his past: His wife left him after his young son was kidnapped and murdered. Says Cruise: ”He’s got a tremendous amount of loss.”

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