Maybe, just maybe, the ghost of Phillip K Dick has finally reached out to take revenge for the repeated butcher of his work. He already owes Gary Goldman, one of the three hacks who wrote Next, for the hatchet job he did on Total Recall (and that was a much better film).
Dick’s original short story, “The Golden Man”, is a sci-fi classic. In it we meet a mutant human who has evolved to a new level: he has no sense of past and only a vague idea of present. Instead he sees the future as we do the past – as a multitude of different “paths” he can take.
In Dick’s hands the story had a disturbing transcendental quality. The existence of this man signalled the advent of a new race of beings that would ultimately push humans into extinction by virtue of inherent superiority.
Of course by the time this idea gets to the big screen all we’re left with is a parlour trick that lets Nick Cage act like Rambo and get away with it. We shouldn’t be surprised. Hollywood directors have been decimating Phillip K Dick stories for decades. Only one filmmaker has ever managed to capture his genius, and that was way back in 1982 with Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.
Next has plenty of other flaws, not least a deeply embarrassed (and embarrassing) performance by Julianne Moore. You can literally see her grimacing her way through some of the lines. As for the pneumatic Jessica Biel, she just looks pleased to be sharing the screen with so many A-listers. And then there’s the lame ending. We won’t ruin it for you, but trust us, it’s lame.
One thing’s for certain – the writers of Next have seen the enemy, and they are French. The Russians and Germans must be pissed - they normally bag all the good terrorist parts. Maybe they’ve organised a secret global boycott of the movie in revenge.
Whatever the reason, Next seems to be headed to that dusty graveyard of failed blockbusters. So why not do your good deed for the week and go and see it. Poor Mr Cage sure could use the extra money – haircuts don’t come cheap after all.
- Alistair Fairweather
It might be the acting or the plot, or even his appalling hairdo, but something has made both the critics and the punters turn on Nicholas Cage’s new movie. The weird thing is, it isn’t even that bad.
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