Review: Next (RATING: 5/10)11 March, 2009
“Here’s the thing about the future. Every time you look at it, it changes, because you looked at it, and that changes everything else.” —The divine sage that is Nicholas Cage
I’ve found out that this is true, from personal experience. Every time I looked at my own future, sitting down to write this review, I thought more about the movie. And that changed what I was going to write in my review. And that changed… Well, everything else stayed basically the same. But yes. Had I written this review the day I saw this, without thinking too much, I would have given it 7/10. And then, yesterday, after I thought about it some more, the rating was going to be 6/10. And now, after too much thought, it’s settled at a nice round 5/10.
This movie was stupid. And it’s rare that I say that. Well, not exactly. It’s rare that I say that as an insult. I tend to like schlocky action movies with some kind of gimmick (such as Underworld, one of the best movies I’ve ever seen… because it’s terrible), and in fact that’s the reason I saw this in the first place. But come on, the gimmick is that Nic Cage can see two minutes, no more, into his own future, no one else’s, and saves the world.
Kinda. You do have to give the director points for trying. He doesn’t actually save the world; there’s a huge nuclear explosion at the end and everybody dies. Again, kinda. Roughly a third of this movie doesn’t actually happen. It turns out that Cagey can see further into the future as long as it has something to do with Jessica Biel. I mean, Liz Cooper. Now, I would go out of my way to see Jessica Biel, too (in fact it’s pretty much the only reason I saw Blade III), but it doesn’t seem to give me any special powers.
So basically, he’s recruited against his will to help the FBI find a nuclear bomb before it explodes (because for some reason they think that two minutes would be enough to stop it? That’s never really explained). Biel gets kidnapped, and one thing leads to another, they save her, and stop the terrorists, but the bomb goes off still. And then we discover this was just him seeing the future from an earlier point in the movie (see, it was more than two minutes because Biel was involved! CRAZY!), and the movie really ends with him going peacefully with the FBI to presumably fail again at finding the bomb.
Plotwise, this is entertaining. But, as I said, the more I thought about it, the more I disliked it. For example, one of the key twists of the movie is that Cage sees Biel explode on the roof of a parking lot (because the terrorists rigged her with explosives) and rushes out to that lot. This of course hadn’t happened yet. Mulder—I mean Julianne Moore—races after him, and catches up with him. She tells him—you know they only were going to do that so that you would be lured out onto this roof so they could kill you. As long as you’re not paying attention, this is fine. But then I noticed. The terrorists did something in the future so that they could kill Nick Cage. But, they haven’t done it. And if they only did it to lure him out, then they had no real intention to do it. Which would mean that they didn’t. So, that’s a paradox in its own right. But, more importantly, no one except Cage himself knows that he can see more than two minutes into the future when the chick is involved. So… it just doesn’t work.
The other part I had a problem with was the (admittedly cool) concept and effects of him dodging bullets, punches, falling cop cars, etc, because he knew where they were going to be. But just seeing into the future wouldn’t be enough for this. He would still need lightning-fast reflexes. Granted, he is a stage magician, so maybe sleight-of-body is involved somehow. He dodges roughly 12 bullets fired in short succession at a distance of about 10 feet in a big confrontation, with an effect showing all the possible futures of him dying, and so he takes the one path that keeps him alive. Not possible. Even within the confines of the movie. There is also a scene of him splitting into many different versions of himself to check all the decks of a ship. Again, cool, but in theory before every split he would have to consciously decide to go a different way, and not just do it to check a place, but really choose. In order to change the future. I have doubts about this.
Although the movie was bad, I did think about the following: it would be an awesome way to pick up women—or really do anything. Kind of like a mini version of Groundhog Day. Keep doing things until you do it right.
Never see this movie. It’s rare that I close a review with that, but really, don’t. It was entertaining while I watched it, but every time I think about it, it gets worse in my memory. To me now, this was not worth the two hours it took out of my life. So let’s change that quote from the beginning of the review:
“Here is the thing about the past. Every time you look at it, it changes, because you looked at it, and that changes everything else.”