I finally saw Inception Sunday night after trying to ignore all the internet reviews, forum discussions, and random comments from friends and strangers over the past week. I was really excited to see this movie for several reasons:
- Chris Nolan – He’s made Dark Knight, Batman Begins, Memento,… other stuff – so it stands to reason this should be excellent.
- I’ve never seen a Leonardo DiCaprio movie I didn’t like.
- The premise, or what I had gathered from the previews, sounded interesting and unique.
- I love Mind F movies (a.k.a wtf movies) like memento, usual suspects, shutter island, 12 monkeys, the prestige, seven, fight club, etc…
- bwwwwaaahhhhhhhh (i love that sound, not the vuvuzala sound, but the bwwwaahhh you hear in the trailer ….. and also in the Dark Knight)
- The previews made it look like the CGI and other effects are just epic
I was surprised when I went to grab my seats and I saw the theater was half filled. For the second week that a movie is out, there usually isn’t that many people in the seats. FYI – I saw Predators the night before, and there were only four other people in the theater.
Lets start out with the simple things first: The acting was great. Well maybe that is misleading since I really can’t tell the difference between good, great, amazing, and incredible acting. I usually can only pinpoint when the acting is either not very good, or just plain horrible. Still, every character was believable to me, which I think has a lot to do with good casting and good acting.
The visuals were stunning. I think that amazing special effects are taken for granted now that CGI has advanced to the point it is currently at. That being said, most movies have a tough time making CGI truly feel real. It’s either completely fake but awesome like in Avatar, or it is realistic but somewhat commonplace. With the later you get this weird blend where you are watching something that is supposed to be real, and you are surprised by how realistic it looks even though you know it’s not. You can usually point to certain objects or scenes and say wow, that’s great CGI, but in Inception it’s hard to tell what is CGI, and what is sets, and what is miniatures.
That’s one of the things I love about Christopher Nolan, a lot of his effects are real, which is why they look so good. He doesn’t rely on CGI since it is at times easier and cheaper than blowing up a real car, or smashing a toy model and slowing down the frame speed. If I remember correctly, The Dark Night had almost no CGI if any at all. If you want a good example of how CGI still isn’t up to replacing real sets and miniatures, take a look at the space battles in Return of the Jedi and compare it to the space battles in Revenge of the Sith. I totally think the effects from almost 30 years earlier look better. Also, I’m a huge nerd for bringing Star Wars into this review.
OK, so lets start talking about some of the more complex stuff. How about the premise? In short the movie is set in a world, i’m assuming is sometime in the near future where our everyday technology hasn’t progressed a ton and no evil alien/lizards have taken over and machines are still are friends. In this future we are able to link people and go into their dreams. While you are in their dreams you can do stuff like steal their secrets and maybe possibly suggest ideas to them.
Theres all kinds of explanations throughout the whole movie that goes into details that explain how the dreamer interacts with the visitors and the subconscious and the what not, but you don’t need to really know that cause there’s tons of action and crazy awesome weird gravity fights.
The one thing I like about this is that if you die in the dreamer’s dream you don’t die in real life, you know, cause that would be stupid. Instead you make up; UNLESS you can’t wake up in which you go into this scary sounding limbo place that doesn’t actually seem that bad when it happens in the movie.
That might be my only complaint about the movie. They build up the dead but sleeping limbo as a place you go to have your brain melted, yet when it happens to a couple of the guys they come out of it seemingly unscathed. Plus it didn’t seem that hard to get out of, despite the fact that it was supposed to be crazy hard to escape from.
So let’s talk about the best part of the movie, for me at least anyways, the ending. I always love open ended endings where the viewer is left with an ambiguous conclusion. In Inception the ending gives us two possible scenarios.
- Everything that was going on in the real world of the movie when they weren’t in a dream was real.
- The entire real world was actually a dream and every level they mentioned (i.e third level dream) was actually an additional level down. In essence the entire movie was taking place in Leo’s dream that he can’t wake up from.
I like to think that the whole thing is a dream that Leo/Cobb hasn’t woken up from since that would be more awesome and WTFish. Still there’s a lot of arguments for and against this. I think that there is no real answer and that Chris Nolan deliberately wrote it so that either explanation could be true.
In summation I give it 5 out of 5 stars. (i should come up with a better rating system based on the movie itself, like 5 out of 5 wtf dreams)
Also, for those who like pictures and hate lots of words, here is an info graphic I found that is supposed to detail all the multiple levels of dreams, characters, and kicks.