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. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I agree it's wise not to try to explain the "science" or the "technobabble" of these things. That said, they still have to be believeable, at least at a glance, and the questions of logic shouldn't come into play if these things are believable. No one questions Millennium Falcon's ability to be a space-faring vessel in spite of its condition- it just seems believable that it is. Or, for a more apt comparison, check TNG's Frame of Mind. There is a prop that is little more than a metal cylinder with a lit niche on it, and it serves as a device that will perform reflection therapy on Riker. Turns out it was not even real, but when it was on the screen I never doubted that it could do what the character said it could do. It scanned his head, and projected the images, and, what's more, it looked like a real, tangible machine. The dream boxes in Inception, with their "wrist" tap, and their awkward, yellow, plunger-like buttons, looked like toys to me.

    By the way, Frame of Mind had a similar story to Inception, and, despite it's very limited time and budget, almost worked better. By having the play be confused with reality, and having both the entire thing set in an insane asylum really made the viewer question things!
     
  2. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I had no problem with the dream machines. I thought they seemed practical. I have no idea why the strings attached to the wrists. Honestly, it was one of those things where I just suspended my disbelief and didn't pay it any attention. I mean, the devices allow you to share dreams, so that's all you needed to know. The machinations of it didn't really seem important to the plot.
     
  3. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

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

    Nolan chose to not explain how the PASIV device worked in the movie so I don't see why we would need to attempt to discuss how they worked. They were nothing more than a plot device in the first place, a cool one but a plot device.
     
  4. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Ok, fine. But you really do need to know how it is that representations of them worked just as well as actual dreamboxes. To be clear, if I'm dreaming that I'm using a computer and am on Google, I'm not actually on Goodle
     
  5. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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

    But you think you are, and that's all that matters.

    You need to stop thinking so literally and start thinking a little more abstractly.

    "Dreaming" that you're using the machine in a dream sets up your subconscious to accept the fact that you're about to go into another realm, it allows the subconscious to deal with it without getting defensive about it and rejecting it. None of the dreamers in this film, or in reality, for that matter, control their subconscious. They have to do things to fool it into accepting certain parameters.
     
  6. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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

    No, but you don't know that while you're dreaming. It's not until we wake up that we realize it was a dream at all.
     
  7. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I understand that. Sure, that's true. But that does not change the fact that I'm not tapped into google's site. And that does not change the fact that, with the dream boxes, there's nothing under the surface to make them work.
     
  8. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Premium Member

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

    So what? It's a dream. They don't need to "work" to serve their purpose. The dream-guns don't really "work" either, but they can still wound you.
     
  9. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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

    Exactly.

    This Google Search analogy doesn't work anyway. If I were to do a google search in a dream, the results I got wouldn't be based on anything except my own subconscious. My brain isn't tapped into the real google, so I wouldn't get accurate results.

    BUT, my brain DOES know how the dreamboxes are supposed to work, so if I had one in my dream, it would work just fine because my subconscious already knows what to do with it.
     
  10. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    but then, you really wouldn't need the dreamboxes in the dream. They'd be extraneous.

    Please understand my basic point: In the dream, there are no actual dreamboxes.
     
  11. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Premium Member

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

    They're a mental trigger, that's all. Could be a jack-in-the-box would work as well, if the mind expects it to work that way. The conceit of Inception is that the subconscious is more willing to accept a dream if it sticks close to what it knows of reality.
     
  12. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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

    Did you see my last post?
     
  13. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    Yes, and I understood it It's all interesting, but I think my point is still valid.

    Critic Jim Emerson made two interesting pointsin a blog entry.
    1. If they wanted Ellen Page to create realistic architecture in the dream, why spend all the time training her using unrealistic dream imagery (Escher steps and folding cities)?
    2. Why not save some of these cool sequences for end of the film? Imagine a chase scene in a folded city!
     
  14. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Premium Member

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

    She folded the city herself as an experiment. At least, that was my impression; as the dreamer, she was the only one who could affect things on that level.
     
  15. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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

    Quite simply...I just don't think this is the kind of film for you, then. I don't mean this as a slight or insult, just an honest impression, your thinking seems to be stubbornly literal and obtuse, and this movie's subconscious/dream rules are figural and abstract. Some people like and are able to think certain ways, other people others. Maybe this film just goes against your grain, and that's fine.

    And the critic is wrong. They did not train Ariadne using unrealistic imagery. The first point of the training session was that she must create realistic interpretations of the world that a subconscious would not reject, that's why all the twisty world stuff sent Cobb's subconscious on her.

    Then, they showed the use of the Escher-like "impossible figures" as a simple tool to be used lightly in order to trap or confuse subconscious projections. Hence, Arnold losing the one "henchman" by making him fall in the stairwell. But they didn't appear to be unrealistic upon first glance. That's the point of "impossible figures." It's like an Ames Room.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ttd0YjXF0no
     
  16. Flying Spaghetti Monster

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    With all due respect, that's almost an inflammatory statement. More to the point, it's a gross mis-generalization of what I said. As evidenced in all of my posts regarding the film, I loved the movie, and am only criticizing it because I love it so much. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't give two shits about it. By the same token, I'm not willing to give Nolan a pass on every element of the film simply because he has made what is arguably the best and certainly the most interesting film of the year so far.
     
  17. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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

    Almost inflammatory? :wtf:
     
  18. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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

    Agreed. I also thought that we saw much more accurate dream imagery in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Restless." There's an internal logic to the dreams and no single image is excessively stoner-y. However, the dreams do a good job of combining several real world elements together that normally don't go together. (Some of that was also a great wink to the production realities of the series. Xander moves between several rooms that aren't connected in the "real" world of the series, but the sets are right next to each other in real life. Willow dreams of a building that is sort of a cross between Sunnydale High & UC-Sunnydale, with the archways of the college but the lockers of the high school. IRL, the college sets in Season 4 were just majorly redressed versions of the old high school sets from Seasons 2 & 3.)

    For that matter, there are other movies I can think of that weren't supposed to be dreams yet felt more dreamlike than Inception. Hudson Hawk has an oddly surreal feel throughout. The Terminator is like many nightmares I've had where I'm helplessly chased by a relentless killer.

    This would be easier if the movie itself weren't so literal. First of all, calling this a movie about "dreams" is very disingenuous, particularly in light of recent theories I've heard about what dreams really are.

    If I understand correctly, the current theory is that, during sleep, the brain's sensory inputs are turned off. This turns on another section of the brain that floods it with random sensory data-- colors, lights, sounds, textures, shapes, etc. None of it looks like anything, but you're brain won't accept pure nonsense. The brain's job is to use all of the sensory data available, combine it with what it already understands about the world, and then tries to make the best sense out of it that it can. But it's like looking at clouds. Clouds don't actually look like anything. They're just random collections of evaporated water in the sky. We only think that clouds look like other things because they remind us of something else in our memories. Furthermore, even if you & I both experienced the exact same random sensory dump during a sleep cycle, the final dreams would still be totally different because each brain is unique and interprets the same signals in slightly different ways.
     
  19. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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

    (The Borgified Corpse continued. Damn these public library computers and their sessions timing out!)

    So what's going on in Inception aren't really dreams as I understand them but rather shared telepathic experiences in fixed landscapes created by the architect. This is why they work best if they are as realistic as possible to avoid tipping off the mark that it's not real. This is why other people are able to walk around in these dreams as if it is reliable 3-dimensional space. (I don't know about you folks, but in my dreams, if I walk around the corner, there's no guarantee that I'll be able to retrace my steps. When I try, there will often be something totally different around that corner the next time.)

    While I enjoyed the movie for the emotional issues and the questions it raises, I think that what we ultimately get here is less like dreams and more like The Matrix. Rather than dangerous, surreal fantasy worlds cobbled together from hundreds of different experiences, the movie provides us with an illusion that's nearly indistinguishable from reality except for the ability to sometimes bend and/or break the laws of physics.

    And I don't know about anyone else, but there were more guns in this one movie than there have been total in all the dreams I've ever had in my entire life. I understand the fictitious reason why they're in the movie, but it's things like that that make the movie feel much more like a standard thriller heist movie rather than something more unique & dreamlike. (Although, I suppose this is the sort of compromise that Nolan would have had to make to get the movie made at all.)

    And why does everyone seem to age in real time in these dreams?

    I wonder how I would have reacted to the Mal plotline if I hadn't seen Shutter Island. After the emotional wringer of that movie, I can't say I was particularly interested in wading through more of DiCaprio's dead wife issues.

    I thought DiCaprio was passable but, as is the case in a lot of his movies, he's often the least interesting thing in them. Marion Cotillard was hot but dull. Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Ellen Page were much livlier & entertaining. They should have been the stars of the movie instead. Tom Hardy was fun to see, mostly because of my pointless nerd giggle every time I recognized a Shinzon mannerism surfacing in his performance.
     
  20. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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

    Question what? That the entire TV series occured in Riker's mind? Uh-uh. It was pretty obvious to anyone who "knows how TV works" that the whole episode was a dream/illusion. Not saying it wasn't a great episode, it was, but there was never a doubt in my mind that Riker was having a dream or was having something done to him. Unfortuantly, that's just the "flaw" in doing episodes like that in a TV series, the viewer knows that the whole series isn't going to be rendered null in the middle of it's season and with more seasons (and possibly movies) in the future.

    As for TBC's take on what dreams "really are" as an argument about what the dreams were in this movie:

    You're comparing apples and oranges. What you're pretty much saying is that "Star Trek isn't about space travel because Einstein and modern physicists say faster-than-light travel is impossible if not just wildly impractical from an energy standpoint."

    Inception is about dreams because in Inception's universe dreams do occur the way they're suggested. That it doesn't line up with what present-day understanding of what dreams are is irrelevant. In the movie this "is" how dreams are.