I had been looking forward to watching "Next" – it was touted as another "Philip K. Dick story" and since science fiction movies again seem to be becoming a bit scarce, I wanted to see this. Of course, the trailers seemed to indicate that it might be another one of those recent crop of "our freedoms are being trampled by the government which is evil and corrupt" and that was putting me off from getting to it immediately. Enough already with the whole terrorists and civil liberties crap – don’t these American’s have anything else to moan about in the land of the brave and the home of the free? :p (And that rant is something I should have one of these days – US entertainment has become so sickening in the way the same theme crops up over and over and over and over in all the recent movies, TV shows and even comics)
Anyway, watch "Next" we did. And all I can say is, if that’s next on your list, just say "Next!" and move on :p Let me tell you, this is no Philip K. Dick story – so don’t be fooled by that one. They took one tiny premise from a Philip K. Dick story, "The Golden Man", and then created a hodgepodge of a movie that defies all logic, reason and the laws of attraction. Seriously now, Jessica Biel falling for a Nicolas Cage with a head of hair that looks as if it was stolen off a doll and stuck on his head with crazy glue? Who is gonna believe that? :p
The most surreal thing I found about the whole experience was reading the reader comments for the movie on IMDB. A lot of people seem to think that this was a great movie with a philosophy, humour, action and excellent special effects! I can’t help but wonder if I saw a different movie because I can tell you, we watched it on DVD and I could still see the cheesy special effects. So how could those who watched the movie on the big screen have missed that? There are a lot of stunts with big logs rolling down mountains and boulders missing Cage by inches or vehicles tumbling down around him a la "Die Hard 4.0" – but you can plainly see that these are just CGI creations because they look utterly fake. But maybe that’s just me …
But I digress. The core of the story is that Cage’s character, Cris Johnson, can see two minutes into the future. This is all that they took from the original Phil K. Dick story. That, and the name of the protagonist, which was Cris in the original as well – I shudder to think where the Johnson came from :p To this, they add some nameless (and apparently organization-less) terrorists who have stolen a nuclear weapon and want to detonate it on American soil – again for no specific reason. The terrorists make no threats, don’t seem to have any specific goals except to blow things up.
The next twist is that Cris can suddenly see much further into the future about a girl. No explanation as to why he can do this or why the girl is important. In fact, none of this is resolved when the movie ends. It just is. Sounds like a good way to set things up but if you’ve got at least half the brain of a red-ant, you’d probably want to know they why of things – not just that they are.
Then things get really sloppy as Cris’s abilities are used to move the story forward and he does a lot of things which make no sense at all. Yes, some people on IMDB claim that those who didn’t enjoy the movie didn’t understand the complexities of the movie because it didn’t stop to spell things out But that’s not my issue. I’m a science fiction buff – I understand how time travel and precognition is supposed to work. What I don’t get is how this darn story is supposed to hang together if you look at it logically. But then again, in this day and age, logic is highly overrated, right? :p