Next – HD DVD Edition

Seeing into the future is not all its cracked up to be and living proof of that is Cris Johnson (Nicholas Cage – Adaptation, Leaving Las Vegas). Johnson is a Las Vegas magician who performs to half-filled rooms under the name of Frank Cadillac. His amazing show is due to the fact that he can see into his own future two minutes before it happens. As a child Johnson was poked and prodded due to his unique ability and so now as an adult he keeps a low profile and his ability a secret. The only thing about his ability that seems to be tormenting him now is the vision he keeps seeing of a young woman (Jessica Biel – I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, The Illusionist) who enters a diner at a few minutes past eight. This is the only vision that Johnson has that is not in the very near future as he can normally see only two minutes into the future. Actually he has no idea when it is going to happen so he goes to the diner every day hoping it's the one. He wants to figure out why he can see this woman so far into the future. When he finally meets her it is just the beginning of his adventure.

Having lead character Cris Johnson's ability to see 2 minutes into the future would have been helpful on the night I saw it. The film is based on a short story by Phillip K. Dick (Minority Report, Blade Runner) and somehow in the expansion of the idea behind it something was lost in the mix. Even if we are to accept the idea that a human has the ability to know what is going to happen in the future, there are still so many things in the film that do not make sense that it is hard to take the story seriously. We could explode a nuclear device in the holes in the plot and no one would get hurt. Most of the characters are one-dimensional and hardly, if at all, developed. This causes them to act in very predictable ways and this is not good for an action/thriller film. The film could/should have been about the whole concept of seeing into the future means that you change the future. There could have been tie-ins about how differently we all would see things, what reality really is and how we would handle this kind of power. Instead it is made into a cater to the lowest common denominator type action film. Too bad as it had potential.

It could have been due to the problem with the script, but even the acting in the film is a little below par. I mean, Nicholas Cage is Nicholas Cage. You know what you are getting from him. He is completely laid back in his presentation of the character, but, hey, that's his style. Jessica Biel is quite good in her small part and makes her character interesting and believable at least. The most disappointing performance is from Oscar nominee Julianne Moore. She is completely unbelievable in the role. Trying too hard to be the tough as nails female Federal Agent she actually comes off as a caricature rather than a character.

Besides the problems with the story I was shocked at how poor the CGI effects were. They were pretty uniformly fake looking that it almost made me laugh out loud in parts. The tension that the director, Lee Tamahori (Die Another Day, Along Came A Spider), was trying to build up is in parts completely ruined by the phoniness. The question that the film tries to pose is that if you knew what was about to happen would you try and change it. I believe that if we all had that ability that going to see this film would be one of the things we change.

Special Features:
-Making the Best Next Thing
-Visualizing the Next Move
-The Next "Grand Idea"
-Two Minutes in the Future with Jessica Biel
-Theatrical Trailer

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