Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discussion

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Aragorn, Jul 15, 2010.

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Grading

  1. Excellent

    71.0%
  2. Above average

    23.7%
  3. Average

    3.6%
  4. Below average

    1.8%
  5. Poor

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    I wouldn't disagree with you about the "truth" of the situation not mattering.
     
  2. Set Harth

    Set Harth Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Disgusting.

    Hilarious.

    No way I'm gonna see it either.

    But for a different reason. :rofl:
     
  3. byron lomax

    byron lomax Commander Red Shirt

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Just saw the film and enjoyed it. Like most of Nolan's films, it didn't quite blow me away but it kept me engaged. Loved some of the effects, like the city folding over on itself. The central character story was quite predictable, though.

    One thing I will say: Nolan has definitely improved with action scenes. That will pay off well with the next Batman, I'm sure.
     
  4. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Any thoughts on the following?

    What happened to Cobb's totem? Did we see it? All we see is what he says is Mal's totem, and he appears to treat it as though it's his own.

    Is it significant that Nolan cast the same actress (Marion Cotillard) who played Edith Piaf in "La Vie En Rose" as Mal -- given that the theme music to "Inception" is based on "Je ne regrette rien" played at 1/10 speed and the song is used to send signals between levels?
     
  5. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    ^He said in an interview that was a coincidence.
    I assume that he just started using her totem, since she was dead there's still no one who knew the feel of it other than him.
     
  6. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    We never do find out what Cobb's original totem was. Some people have speculated it's his wedding ring but that doesn't work since it only shows up in the dream world and appears not to be with Cobb in reality.

    Rule wise it seems okay for him to use Mal's totem. The only guideline appears to be no one else alive should know it well enough to duplicate it in the dream world. Plus you get the added bonus of it adding a ton of subtext.

    It's apparently just a coincidence. Nolan wanted to dump Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien after Cotillard was cast but Hans Zimmer talked him out of it.
     
  7. flavaflav

    flavaflav Captain Captain

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    average. cool concept. however, too many explosions and poorly executed action sequences (Nolan has improved from TDK, but that's not saying much). The limbo thing was stupid. Acting all around was meh. It simply wasn't all that much fun to watch. Overhyped would be an understatement and it blows my mind peeps are actually debating the ending. A decent flick, but not even close to being great or the years best. Not worth more than paying a matinee price for
     
  8. Avalon

    Avalon Captain Captain

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    I had wondered that, too. A quick search of the threads at IMDb a few days ago turned up someone who said that Cobb hadn't had one of his own because the totems were Mal's idea and hers was the first one. But I've only seen the movie once myself, so I can't confirm that personally. I don't remember hearing him say that. It would make sense, though.
     
  9. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Darn you beat me to it. I love the ending
     
  10. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    You mean there are people in the world who never have dreams where physically impossible things happen? Every dream they've ever had in their lives adheres strictly to the mundane logic of real life?

    I think the general rules of the game for real-world dreams are the same from one human to another. If this is not true, please link to the scientific studies that show that. This would be rather startling info and I would think it would be well known. There might be a few random cases of people whose dreams never deviate from the rules of the real world, but they would be bizarre psychological outliers.

    Unlike you, I don't see any reason to give credence to the arbitrary rules Nolan pulled out of his ass for this movie. They were obviously cobbled together for one purpose: to create a summer blockbuster movie with the familiar attributes - car chases, video-game type "levels", explosions, etc - that would please the average movie watcher and not challenge or scare them too profoundly.

    It was an okay flick but not nearly worth all the fanboy drooling on the internet. :rommie: The artificial mechanisms behind it are too glaringly obvious. It reminds me of The Matrix - a lot of faux profundity mistaken for the real deal.
     
  11. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    With nearly 7 Billion people on the planet, many of whom would consider third-world conditions to be a luxury, I think that it is possible some of them have fairly mundane dreams.

    Everyone dreams differently and everyone's dreams are going to be different from night to night. As I posted in a Misc Thread a week ago I had a dream where aliens were forcing me and a complete stranger to hide from a nuclear apocolypse so that we could re-populate the earth when all was clear. This dream included mechs, alien/human hybrids, vast and complex underground chambers and had a special effects budget that'd make Michael Bay blow his load like a 13-year-old boy looking through the underwear section of the J.C. Pennys catalog.

    Last night? I had a dream I was at work, dealing with a massive sale that gave us huge business and all my co-workers were being bitches about doing their jobs. Very, very mundane dream that aside from a detail here and there I could've mistaken for the real life.

    The point was in inception was the team, namely Cobb and the Architecht, were "populating" and creating the "dream world" to make it as mundane as possible so the person would mistake it for real life and not "wake up" thus either ending the mission or sending the person into Limbo. It further seems this dream state was made to be so complex and "deep" into the brain that the person didn't even remember everything that happened. (Much like how you may dream everynight but not always remember the dreams you had.)

    Saying something like "the movie was lame because the dreams weren't "dream-like" enough with T-Rexes eating cars!" is just, well, stupid. Because first of all it ignores the very, very real fact that not all dreams are surreal, bizzare and off-the wall and that they were purposefully making the dreams as real as possible so that their mark wouldn't realize he's dreaming because both other times in the movie where the mark realized the dream wasn't real the dream world collapsed and the person woke-up. (I'm not clear how that would've happened in this movie given the sedative they were using if Murphy would've ended up in Limbo or woken up -despite the sedative- if he realized he was dreaming (as almost happened as Leo talks to him in the bar of the "Goldeneye 64" level.)
     
  12. Hunter X

    Hunter X Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Exactly. It's not like these people couldn't have dreams where a dinosaur stampede suddenly happens, or they all start flying. It's not like the city couldn't just fold in on itself. It's just that not everyone has flying dreams. Not everyone has dinosaur dreams, or if they do, dreams about dinosaurs the same way. My dinosaurs are always mean and eating my family and friends. Other people may have a pet dinosaur that they ride around Saturn's rings or something like that.

    On the other hand, everyone understands their world, and probably has mundane dreams about it on occasion. By making the dream as close to something in the target's world as possible, you negate the risk of throwing things at them they'd never dream of themselves, thus alerting their subconscious that there's an impostor in the dream.
     
  13. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Infact, Cobb even tells Kitty Pryde that she's making too many big changes, using too much of a "real world" setting and that this was dangerous for her because his sub-conscious would realize it wasn't in control anymore and then attack her, which it ends up doing once she creates the walkway under the el-train/highway. Making the dreams too bizzare or making too many changes tipped off the subject that something was amiss sending the "immune system" into action to get rid of the problem.
     
  14. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Hmm. Well, I don't know if I give every Nolan film a pass. To be completely honest with you, it took me some time to warm up to The Dark Knight, probably because it didn't have the emphasis on Bruce Wayne/Batman that I was expecting after Batman Begins. I love The Dark Knight, but after Wayne was the center of the story in Batman Begins it was somewhat disappointing to see him take a lesser role since The Dark Knight was much more of an ensemble film about The Joker, Harvey Dent, and Gotham City, and Batman only really played a part. However, after some introspection, I have come to realize that Batman did play a pivotal role, he just wasn't the emotional center of the film like I was hoping.

    I had a very adverse reaction to both Following and The Prestige, even though recently I have warmed up to The Prestige a bit more. I think most of Nolan's films aren't necessarily crowd-pleasers in the traditional sense that they're immediately satisfying... I think it takes some time to truly absorb the layered density of Nolan's films.

    As for the criticisms for Inception, I think I can kinda understand them. I've seen the film three times now, and the effect kinda wears off after the third viewing. I am not sure if the film will have the same resonance for me that maybe Batman Begins, Insomnia or even The Dark Knight does, since there are so many layers both literally and metaphorically to Inception that it is a lot to take in, but then again that's pretty much the same with every Nolan film.

    I don't know. I think I need more time to absorb Inception to really determine whether or not I agree or disagree with the criticisms and the praise. I think it's an extremely polarizing film, if anything.

    I agree. I do think that is a legitimate criticism of Nolan's films is that he is very focused on structure. I think that's evident in all of Nolan's films besides maybe Insomnia. That's because Nolan is obsessed with narrative structure and playing around with the chronological and sequential order of things. It's why his films are usually non-linear.

    It's also because he was a student of literature and enjoys structure the most, I think. However, the density of the way he structures his films is sometimes a turn-off and I can see why people might have a problem with them with his films. I enjoy the density -- to a point -- so long as the emotionalism or the characters don't suffer, but I think Nolan is growing as a filmmaker and in his earlier films made sure the characters and emotions were present alongside the machinations of the plot.

    I know some people think Nolan's films are superficially cold, but I have found ways of becoming emotionally invested in all of his films. I think Inception is a step forward in this regard -- you really become emotionally invested in Cobb and even Fischer and the entire story hinges on this one man's desire to see his children again. The ending, if anything, is about the one relative thing in both dreams and reality -- emotion. The film is essentially about the truism of emotion conquering all, and that's something I think is really solid.

    I think I grew more detached on the third viewing. Maybe because I was tired or because like yourself I was paying too much attention to structure. However, I do think I understood the structure a bit more clearly the third time around. I think my biggest problem is the way the exposition is handled and introduced in the second and third act. I can understand how people don't enjoy how Nolan sometimes unnecessarily complicates his films, and while I understand in the case with Inception that he was raising the stakes, I felt like he was merely trying to really complicate things and I am not sure if in this case that was required.

    That might be because I have a preference of characters over story in a lot of cases, so to me the most interesting parts of Inception don't come from the machinations of the plot but of the character moments like when Cobb is introducing Ariadne to the world of dreams or when Mal kills herself or when Fischer experiences emotional catharsis with his father.

    I immediately felt it. I felt it with Memento and The Prestige and I feel it with Inception. I might need to see it a fourth time (!) to determine my true, honest feelings regarding the film. I had to do the same thing with The Dark Knight.

    Thank you! :D
     
  15. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    JacksonArcher, I'm going to read your response more carefully, but I want to first thank you for responding, and doing so with honestly and being thorough, but, more importantly, not taking anything I said as an attack on you or an insult. I love discussing films like this and I can see you do to, and I am glad that you can see that this was all I wanted out of my post: a real discussion! :)
     
  16. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    No problem. I'll be the first to admit I can sometimes blindly follow Christopher Nolan (Don't take that the wrong way...) and I'm probably far more supportive of his films than critical. However, I love discussing films such as you do and that's all that really matters.
     
  17. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    No problem there. After all, I like some of the "worst" Rush songs out there because, well, I'm a huge fan of the band!
     
  18. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Something was lost when the film shifted gears (yes, I do consider Batman Begins and TDK to be one film split in two) from Wayne to the villains. You can see this in TDK in the reduction of the talk about how Batman is supposed to make villains afraid. Note that there is not a single "bat" in the film (it's the first of all six modern Batman films to not have one). However, the canvas of the story needed to expand. A few key lines of TDK connected it Batman Begins rather eloquently, particularly Wayne's somewhat misinformed opinion ("criminals aren't complicated, Alfred..." that's a great reference to the first film, doing exactly what a well done sequel should do when bringing up the original film).

    As far Inception, I really liked Nolan's directing, and the broad canvass he paints on. He did such a good job. However, the plot with Cobb's wife was very odd. Some critics call it a subplot, but to examine the film it almost has to be the main plot, because it could be argued that this story is what the film is about. I don't know if that was intentional or not. In any case, I was puzzled by how detached I was. The performer who played Cobb's wife seemed to be taken out of a typical romance or a soap opera and somehow the emotion I was supposed to feel wasn't there, at least for me. In any case, this "emotional story" was not the most powerful thing in the film for me. Far more powerful was the notion that 1) ideas are like parasites, 2) the simpler ideas are what would work the best for inception (the best part of the plot about Cobb's wife was the idea that he had instilled into her- that concept was more interesting than the actual performance of this subplot/love story) 3) Fishr trying to reconcile with his father. Yes, I was far more entranced by this than the story of Cobb's wife. That's just me.

    I can't be certain if Inception had too many rules or too few, but, as rigidly structured as it is, it seems to play fast and loose in its own universe. I wondered about the dreamboxes. Is this common equipment, or if not, how did Cobb procure the boxes? Why do they tap into a person's wrist and not their head/brain? Why is it that the projections of these boxes work as if they are real boxes?

    Anyway, more to come...
     
  19. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    Also, your enthusiasm for Nolan's mastery of his craft is nothing to be ashamed of. Not only because I share it, but because we are living in bleak times in term of cinema. Nolan's old school style is very reminiscent of Speilberg, Kubrick, and Hitchcock, but he definitely has a modern sensibility that is essential that is appropriate to the material. When I say that I won't give a Nolan film a pass because it simply is a Nolan film, it is because I am passionate about the content and style of his directing, and love to examine why, and in doing so I want to recognize what works and what does not work, just as I did in my examination of almost everything in Spielberg's millue.
     
  20. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Inception (Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio) Grading & Discuss

    I think the problem with the Mal character was that she wasn't a character at all. She was a projection of Cobb's sub-conscious, and as a result, was a part of Cobb himself. In certain scenes, such as ones deprived from Cobb's memory, she's basically the summation of Cobb's interpretation of Mal. The Mal he remembers. We always remember people very specifically. Since his memory of her was close to her death, it was a very specific memory.

    We didn't get to see the Mal that Cobb first met and fell in love with, or the Mal who wasn't obsessed with the dream world. In that sense, she wasn't really a fully formed or even reliable character, but an intentional enigma that was a part of Cobb. Essentially, Cobb is his own enemy in the film.

    As a consequence, Marion Cotillard had to give a very one-note and often one-dimensional performance.

    I think the main plot of Cobb and his team trying to get inception by planting an idea in Fischer's mind is the plot of the film, but the real story and emotional through line of the film is Cobb's emotional turmoil. At the end of the film, Cobb achieves the same emotional catharsis that he and his team tries to do for Fischer. It doesn't matter whether or not he's in "reality". Fischer achieved the same catharsis in the dream state, so does it matter if Cobb achieved the same in the dream state as well? No, I do not think it does.

    The film is essentially about overcoming grief. Cobb has to come to terms with his guilt over Mal's death, and Fischer has to overcome his grief over his father's death and never feeling loved. So in an essence both stories are intercorrelated and they intersect.

    I think ultimately Fischer's emotional catharsis could be more satisfying, but that is because in a sense Fischer's emotional state is the film's MacGuffin. His emotional catharsis is what the team is after, so instead of trying to obtain an object, they are trying to obtain an emotional response (which is another part of the film's brilliance in my opinion). Cobb's catharsis is probably the most earned, because we see his plight throughout the film and the lengths he'll go (by endangering the lives of himself and his team by narrowly, possibly escaping limbo) to achieve that.

    I think one of the best decisions Nolan made was to not indulge into the scientific nature of the dream machines. To get too bogged down in the analytical, scientific nature of that would detract from the real story. People complain that Nolan over-indulged in his Batman films by exploring every facet of Batman's origins and thus removing the mystique of the character; I think people would have complained had we known every single detail of the dream machines or how Cobb and his team were able to acquire them. I had those same questions too, but sometimes knowing more is not always necessarily better.