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October 2017

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curiosity

"Next" (2007)

"Next" is a sci-fi action adventure based on a Philip K. Dick's short story, so it is more interesting then it seems at first. Nicolas Cage plays a Las Vegas magician who can see two minutes into the future. He just wants to have a normal life but FBI counter-terror agent (Julianne Moore) wants him to find a stolen nuclear bomb.

I spent most of the movie repeating "don't mess with a pre-cog" under my breath. I learned that from Mike Resnick's Penelope Bailey series. The only way to survive a pre-cog is to do exactly what they want you to do. You can't use them for your own purposes. Although "Next" doesn't take it that far. Frank Cadillac can only see two minutes in the future. The FBI Agent wants to push him to see further. She doesn't know what kind of trouble she getting herself into and the movie doesn't go in that direction, but it could have. The ending was very Philip K. Dick.

There are some cool special effects. At one point Nicolas Cage appears to split apart and go in several directions. I thought that was a very effective way of showing him trying alternative futures until he found the one he wanted.

It is a fun sci-fi action adventure, if you like those kind of movies. Which I do.

Reading the other reviews it seems that a lot of people just didn't get it. Frank Cadillac doesn't "develop the ability" to split apart or dodge bullets those were just ways of showing how he used his ability to see the future. The reason we aren't told a lot about the terrorist is because this movie isn't about them.

Comments

Sounds a little like the premise of Minority Report, also by Philip K. Dick.
Only in the sense that it uses precognition. The plots are entirely different. Minority Report is a murder mystery, it's a bout a cop framed for a murder he didn't commit. "Next" is almost the opposite of a murder mystery, it is about a man trying to keep the woman he loves from getting killed. The people who didn't like the movie seem to think it was about a man trying to stop some terrorists, but they are wrong he really doesn't care about the terrorists he just cares about the woman. And his ability only tells him about his own future.

I'm trying to think of any stories where a pre-cog sees multiple futures and picks the one they want. I think there are some time travel stories like that. The effect is very similar to time travel.

If I recall correctly there was a short story by Robert Sheckley about a store where the owner would sell you what you need. The main character tries to blackmail the owner so the owner gives him a pair of shoes and the man slips on a wet sidewalk and dies. Never mess with a pre-cog.
Heh. I love pre-cogs. I'm also a horrible Mary-Sue-er, so I've put a psychic into Deep Blue Sea that has the nickname of "Cass" and when the main doc reveals the truth, Cass steps up and says "Ok, here's the deal. You do what I say, when I say it. I won't be your Cassandra again. Obey or die, it's that simple."

I'm horrible.