Another Philip K. Dick Flick?  Skip it, and wait for the NEXT one

by Alan Rapp on April 27, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Next
  • IMDB: link

next-posterGreat idea, horrible execution.  That’s Next in a nutshell.  To start off with the film has much working against it.  First off, it’s based on the Philip K. Dick short story “The Golden Man,” and we all know that Hollywood has had mixed success translating his work on screen. 

Add to that a floundering Nicholas Cage (anyone remember Ghost Rider?) and the curse of Jessica Biel (see Blade Trinity, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Illusionist, Summer Catch, Elizabethtown, Rules of Attraction, and Stealth) and you have all manner of disasters just waiting to occur.

The film centers around lackluster magician Cris Johnson (Cage), working under the name Frank Cadillac – we don’t care why, but the film feels a need to explain the name, which is about the only thing it seems to give a straight explanation. 

Cris in fact does have a magical ability; for whatever reason he can tell his own future, two minutes at a time.  For two minutes he can see all possible outcomes and then change his circumstances or actions, and thus reset the future.  Cris has been cursed with this ability his entire life and although he hides it well, the FBI and a group of terrorists are both after him.

The FBI want him to find a terrorist cell who are planning to blow up L.A. with a nuclear device.  The terrorists want to kill him to make sure he can’t find it.  Cris however only wants to spend time with Liz (Biel) a woman he had a futuristic vision far past two minutes and wants to get to know, stalk, and have sex with.  Well good thing she’s played by Jessica Biel who, from her previous movie choices, likes creepy guys – despite what her character says.

I need to stop here for a second.  The film does nothing to explore the why’s or how’s of anything in the film.  Why does Cris have his powers?  Why do the terrorists want to blow up L.A.?  How did they learn about him?  How did the FBI?  Why is Julianne Moore acting like someone just killed her dog?  How do Chris’s powers work (they change throughout the course of the film from Groundhog Day-like reenactments to all possible futures happening at once)?  Why does Moore lie to Liz when the truth would actually earn her cooperation and the lie only leads to furthering the relentlessly braindead plot and another huge action sequence (did I just answer my own question)?  How come Cris can only see two minutes into the future until the plot needs him to see further and then his power becomes limitless?  Did I really just waste two hours of my life on this stupidity?  These are just a few of the questions running through my head during the least thrilling moments (not much different than the most thrilling moments) of this flick.

I’ve saved my “favorite” one for last.  At one point in the film Cris and Agent Ferris (Moore) are in a parking garage where a sniper needs to be taken out.  Ferris knows that the guy is waiting for orders so she calls in for every type of phone line and electronic signal to be blacked-out for a two-mile radius.  Forgetting for a second whether or not this is even possible, the sniper is taken out and Cris delivers the next move.  Do you know what Agent Ferris does next?  She tells her team.  Do you know how?  Yep, she calls them on her cell phone!  Um…the kind you made unable to work less than a minute ago!  If I’m the first one to catch this then everyone involved in the making, marketing, and distribution of this film is indeed as stupid as I think they are.

Add to this some really stupid plot twists, Nicolas Cage sporting some of the most ridiculous movie hair ever, and some so-so action scenes and special effects, and you have want amounts to a perfectly, and thankfully, forgettable film.

If you turn-off your brain, nope, you’d still feel cheated by this film.  With an interesting premise all it can give us is mediocrity and the furthering of a generic terrorist plot that isn’t well thought out or explained (not that anything in the movie is).  For more on other Philip K. Dick flicks check out this post and the review for A Scanner Darkly.

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