Next (2007)

Genre(s): Action / Science Fiction
Paramount || PG13 - 96 minutes - $29.99 || September 25, 2007
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-09-12

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Lee Tamahori
Writer(s): Philip K. Dick (short story, "The Golden Man"), Gary Goldman (story), Gary Goldman and Jonathan Hensleigh and Paul Bernbaum (screenplay)
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Julianne Moore, Jessica Biel, Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, Peter Falk

Theatrical Release Date: April 27, 2007

Supplemental Material:
  • Making the Best Next Thing
  • The Next "Grand Idea"
  • Two Minutes in the Future with Jessica Biel
  • Visualizing the Next Move

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Surround 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.


Plot Outline (from DVD back cover): Cris Johnson (Cage) earns his living in a seedy Las Vegas magic act, but his ability to see a few minutes into the future is authentic. Government agent Callie Ferris (Moore) knows this, and relentlessly recruits him to help thwart a terrorist group from detonating a nuclear bomb in the heart of Los Angeles.

Based loosely on Philip K. Dickís ďThe Golden ManĒ, Next looks less like a Hollywood blockbuster and more like something made for the SciFi Channel. It does offer some escapism-esque entertainment value but itís tough for me to say itís anything more than a decent movie. Obviously since 1982ís Blade Runner, Philip K. Dickís properties have been hot in Hollywood also giving us Total Recall, Minority Report and A Scanner Darkly. Yet, he also was the inspiration behind Impostor and Paycheck. Certainly he has vision but in the case of ďThe Golden ManĒ (Next), itís more Minority Report-lite than anything.

Writers Gary Goldman (Big Trouble in Little China, Total Recall, producer on Minority Report), Jonathan Hensleigh (Die Hard 3, The Saint, The Punisher) and Paul Bernbaum (Halloweentown, Hollywoodland) all try their hands, I think separately, in bringing some life to the film. What do we get between the three? Little character development, bland suspense sequences and just an overall average story that couldíve been so much better.

Nicholas Cage, as Iíve already touched upon in my Face/Off review, has had a spotty career so far. Two of his worst performances are The Wicker Man and Ghost Rider, so itís with great pleasure to say heís quite subdued and to a certain extent, at home with this role. Cage has never had a problem portraying the underdog, everyday man kind of character and given how poorly executed the other parts of the film was, his performance is actually one of the bright spots.

The biggest offender going against Next is Lee Tamahoriís direction. Not much should be expected from the guy and he did release the action-packed Die Another Day but has since delivered the awful xXx: State of the Union and now this outing is uninspiring. The problem is everything in Next is simply ordinary despite an interesting concept (and thatís all it is) and a solid starting lineup with Cage, Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel.

Speaking of the cast, I understand how Cage could become involved since this is the same guy who felt The Wicker Man was a worthy project, but Julianne Moore and Jessica Biel? Neither of these ladies -- especially the latter -- arenít exactly having a tough time finding work.

The story itself is fine and while many may groan at the ending, I found it more than suitable as anything was needless (though adding some extra wouldíve been nice). They tried developing Cageís and Bielís characters and I just couldnít believe it. And itís not just the creepy factor (Cage is twice Bielís age), but instead we have Biel falling for Cage within only hours (and sleeping together). Yeah, the whole idea of destiny is presented, but itís still unbelievable.

The other obvious mishap, and how this looks and feels like some SciFi Movie, is the CGI work. It seems as if the production ran out of money toward the end and half-assed some of the special effects. Two obvious examples is the train v. car explosion early on and a nuclear explosion on the pier toward the end. What I saw on the screen was on the level of the SciFi Channel, NOT a $80m+ Hollywood movie.

Next is a flawed movie and itís no wonder why it made a mere $57 million worldwide (only $18m in the States). It certainly isnít a bad movie and if you can accept the bad CGI or simplistic screenplay, youíll find at least some entertainment.


Given its box office failure, the fact Paramount including anything beyond trailers is amazing.

Making the Best Next Thing (8:16) - A Ďmaking-ofí featurette that goes through the typical motions featuring interviews with cast (Cage, Moore and Biel) and crew (mainly the writer and producers) and gives a glimpse into how the movie was made.

Visualizing the Next Move (7:47) - Since one of the filmís weakest points were the effects, itís interesting seeing the visual effects makers and the stages it went through from pre-vis to final product. There didnít seem to be much enthusiasm for their work on this one.

The Next ďGrand IdeaĒ (6:54) - Part of the movie takes place at the Grand Canyon and they use an Indian tribe that reside there.

Two Minutes in the Future with Jessica Biel (2:30) - Biel does an interview (of sorts) and talks about her views on seeing the future and what it would be like. If youíve seen the interview on The Illusionist DVD, this is the same kind of thing.



The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen and I would guess it is a perfect transfer. Problem is some shots (like the police chase early on) just look strange. I have to give the benefit of the doubt to Paramount because I think the scene just didnít look that good in the first place.

I didnít expect any kind of DTS track or anything, but man was this Dolby 5.1 mix disappointing. For dialogue scenes, itís fine but when you come upon the three or four action scenes, it doesnít deliver. Even cranked up, there seemed to be no depth behind those sequences.


If I had seen Next at the theater, I probably wouldíve given it a lower rating. But for DVD, I think itís at least semi-entertaining best as a rental rather than purchasing. It has a lot going against it, but the movie does provide a certain escapist entertainment value.