A Wizard of Oz Leitmotif in Steven Spielberg's films
MINORITY REPORT 2002
At the beginning, when the ‘future murderer’ goes into his house to investigate his wife’s infidelity, he is backlit by light streaming in windows. The place is silent, but its dusty peace belies the chaos ahead. When Dorothy creeps through her house after it falls into Oz, that same interlude of silence works like a good story-teller’s pause to build tension. See Lincoln, E.T., the Extraterrestrial, Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Twilight Zone the Movie, Kick the Can Episode, Poltergeist for other Spielberg ‘quiet before chaos’ moments that hearken back to WOO.
Cops wearing jet packs try to capture Tom Cruise/ John Anderton in the alley when he first runs. They are as clumsy in their landings and takeoffs as the witch’s flying monkeys. See Raiders of the Lost Arc, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, The Lost World of Jurassic Park, The Adventures of TinTin for other flying monkey impersonations.
John Andertonundertakes a quest to find a ‘wizard’ of sorts, the doctor who designed the prediction system that uses human clairvoyants.
John escapes from the auto factory in a car that takes him to a peculiarly artificial looking forest (Note: other outdoor scenes in the film look normal). Check out Munchkinland’s theatrical set flora. It’s very plastic and bears small resemblance to nature’s varieties. Spielberg is definitely trying to apply an OZish look to flora surrounding the doctor’s house.
This patch of woods features a crudely hand-painted ‘No Trespassing’ sign just like the witch’s enchanted forest did.
The old woman’s garden over the wall and her green house are filled with more exotic fake-looking plants. As animated as the human apple trees on yellow brick road, they are very Oz-like indeed. See E.T.
In one heavily weighted final scene, the pre-cog warns our protagonist to “RUN!” WOO reference is “Run, Toto, run.” See War Horse, A.I., Jurassic World, Twister, Sugarland Express.
When Tom Cruise is cornered, he repeats a mantra “Everybody runs,” to himself…Remember WOO companions’ phrase “Lions and tigers and bears oh my!” that propelled them faster and faster through danger. See War Horse for another mantra.
At the end, the camera pulls up from the pre-cogs in their safe-haven, and shows the viewer an aerial panorama of their little rooftop. This shot is very much like shots of Dorothy’s house seen from above. See Close Encounters for tiny home’s illusion of safety. See Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Twister for other roof tops.