Posted by: playingthedevil | March 6, 2011


like this week’s the bourne inception, er, the adjustment bureau, next is also supposedly based on a philip k dick story.  but like most dickdaptations(paycheck, imposter, screamers, and something called blade runner, a scanner darkly or minority report), it’s extremely loosely based on its original source.  not that i care that movies are faithful to their original sources, but after having read (the wikipedia summary of) the original story “the golden man,”  calling next a loose adaptation would give looseness a bad name.  they should have just used “inspired by” instead of “based on.”  no, p.k.d. did not write about a vegas magician.

nicolas cage plays the vegas magician cris johnson who can see two minutes into the future.  i don’t know if he’s a mindfreak or not, but they should have just went the whole way and splurge at hot topic to make him look like one.  all they did was giving him black wig, which looks suspiciously like the one from bangkok dangerous.  anyway, the feds want him to help them find a nuclear device in l.a.(p.k.d. didn’t write about that either).  the bad guy terrorists want him too, for reasons never explained.  i don’t know what your mental picture of these terrorists are, but in the movie, they are just generic, white, “european” terrorists.  there’s julianne moore as the leader of the feds, probably paranormal division since she seems to think that cage’s magician is the best way to prevent nuclear disaster.  jessica “stealth” biel plays a  cardboard, and supposedly hot love interest, who looks and acts like either an oscar statue or part of the belongings of goldfinger.  that’s what you get from casting a tv actress from a christian/ptc approved wb soap opera.

with a 96 minutes running time and six of them being the end credit, next is simplistically divided into three acts.  the first one is the most interesting where we see some cageness as the magician on stage, running around the casinos and showing his special ability.  he also has voice over telling us what interesting themes and issues the film could have delved into.  the second act on the reservation and cabin is where everyone from performers to screenwriter sleepwalk through.  it ends with a pretty unexciting action sequence.  the third act bounces back a little with some generic action scenes.

cage not only starred but also produced next.  and as a cage-ist, a lot of the elements in the movie reminds me of his other movies.  there’s the vegas stuff(honeymoon in vegas, leaving las vegas, con air), the reservation(windtalkers), the bomb in l.a.(face/off), the generic warehouse/junk yard action scenes(gone in sixty seconds), the breaking out of jail scene(the rock, by the way, can all magicians who can see the future beat five to six military guys?), the multiple cages(adaptation).  there’s not that much on screen, so that’s what i think about when i was watching it.  other than the opening scene, he’s in muted (wait for it) paycheck mode.  and for a $70 million dollar movie, and the scope of the story, it feels surprisingly small scale.

a lot of people seem to feel cheated by the ending.  i felt that way too at first but having some time to think about it, it does kind of work in a superhero origin kind of way, and feel slightly less cheated.  next starts out with a lot of interesting ideas but ignores them and settles for the generics.  it’s definitely not good, but it’s not bad enough to be entertaining(wicker man).  it doesn’t blow minds like blade runner or minority report, it’s about on par with john woo’s paycheck, but with nicolas cage in it(which automatically makes it better). in cage cannon, it’s on the same level as the national treasures, better than ghost rider or gone in sixty seconds, but not as good as knowing.   yet, it made the least at the box office compare to all of the above.  they should definitely keep the first act when they make next:  port of call new orleans.










next is currently available in my dvd collection.


  1. Big Nicolas Cage fan. Working on watching all of his movies. Thought this was silly, but watchable. His hair is hilarious.

  2. same here. lord of war and bangkok dangerous are next. still want to see drive angry in 3d in theatres, even though i heard he’s in his quiet muted mode.

  3. Nice. Drive Angry looks cool, We have Zandalee, Time To Kill, The Wicker Man, The Weather Man, Birdy, The Boy In Blue, and Con Air coming up.

    • red rock west is great too.

  4. Just watched that one a few weeks ago. An entertaining flick.

  5. How’s the Nic Cage-athon going for you? Just watched The Wicker Man and Valley Girl recently. The Wicker Man was hilarious. Valley Girl wasn’t too bad.

    • got sidetracked by some of the other themes we come up with. love valley girls though. and missed drive angry in theatres. it’ll be on dvd may 31st. may watch lord of war next cause i just watched simone for our al pacino week. the same guy did both of those as well as the truman show and gattaca

    • we’re also doing a seagal week later this month for his birthday and the release of born to raise hell. and we’ll finally get to command performance in july for a whole month of die hard in/on/at a ____ theme

  6. Can’t wait to read those upcoming reviews!

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