“Here’s the thing about the future. Every time you look at it, it changes… And that changes everything else.”
I’m predisposed to enjoy stupid sci-fi movies, usually more based on the ideas then the resulting execution. Next is based on Philip K. Dick’s The Golden Man. And as you know, this is not the first time Dick’s stories have been raped for big screen cinema. At least eight of his stories have been cinematically adapted, including Blade Runner, Screamers, Total Recall, Permanent Midnight, Minority Report, Paycheck and A Scanner Darkly. Most of the aforementioned films sway from the original material, but use the core of Dick’s unique sci-fi ideas. And for the most part, I’ve enjoyed these films (even Paycheck). That said…
Next follows Cris Johnson (Nicolas Cage) a Las Vegas showroom magician who can see into the future, but only for two minutes. A terrorist group has snuck a nuclear device into Los Angeles, and the FBI have decided to waste all their resources in finding the man who could possibly see where the bomb could go off, before it happens. Why their time and energy wouldn’t be better suited in directly finding the terrorists is beyond me. It gets worse: The terrorists also find out about Johnson’s ability (how? we don’t know. They don’t even bother to explain this in the movie) and have decided to waste their time trying to assassinate the only guy who could possibly see what they’re planning on doing. And for Chris, he wants none of any of this, so he takes off on a journey to avoid death and the government. A journey that brings him to Jessica Biel, a woman who defies his ability and allows him to see even further into the future. Ridiculous? It gets much worse.
The core concept, like most of Dick’s ideas, offers a lot of potential. If you could see the next two minutes of your future, you could course correct your life to avoid any short term obstacles. This idea is explored cinematically in good effect only a couple times throughout the film. And of course there’s the climax sequence with the bad special effects (where Nicolas Cage is simultaneously exploring all the options) that you’ve probably seen in the trailer/advertisements. But it even gets worse. Next has possibly the worst ending to any movie in the last 10 years. You will leave the theater feeling cheated, much like me.
If I could have seen two hours into the future, I probably wouldn’t have seen Next. But now that you’ve read my review, you have essentially seen the future. Make your choice accordingly.
/Film Rating: 4 out of 10