vote on Inception's ending (spoilers obviously)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by Temis the Vorta, Jul 31, 2010.

?

Inception ends with

  1. reality

    65.2%
  2. dream

    30.3%
  3. other

    4.5%
  1. coolghoul

    coolghoul Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks to Treker4747 and Ryan for the answers to my questions.

    Let me see if I understand correctly. Limbo is equivalent to the 4th level of a dream? (1st level - Van, second level - hotel, third level - James Bond Ice Fortress, 4th level - Limbo)

    Ok - also too much time in Limbo will mean your brain turns to mush. But Saito does spend too much time there. (He's a really really old dude when Cobb finds him) So how come when he wakes up, he's alert enough to use the phone and do the plot-ex-machina to make sure that Customs will allow Cobb tome thru (the charges against Cobb are removed from the official databases based on his interevention). (Btw, that answers the question of how Cobb is able to get thru US Immigration & Customs without problems. (Or he could be using a fake identity but then why didn't he try that instead of staying out of the US and not meeting his children).

    Let me understand the totem piece further. What is so special about the top that it is Mal's totem? (and later Cobb's)? Everybody in the dream world knows (assuming projections are rational) that a top on spinning shouldn't continue spinning but eventually come to a stop. So - why would the top keep spinning if a projection models it? A car doesn't keep running cos projections that cars normally stop when people use brakes! Similarly why wouldn't a projection know that a top is supposed to spin only for a short duration and then topple over?
     
  2. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    We don't actually know how much time in Limbo is "too much time." He was a really old man, yes, but as soon as Cobb showed up, he remembered who he was and what he was waiting for. The fact that they managed to keep Saito alive through the other dream levels for as long as they did probably helped.
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    The "brain turns to mush" thing is over stated. It's more that the more time you spend in Limbo the further away the "real world" is. Cobb and Mal spent something like 40 or 50 years in Limbo a long time, for sure, but hardly such a long time that they would've forgotten their real lives beyond just being, as Cobb puts it, "old souls." Cobb and Mal, under a standard sedative, would've only been a sleep for something like 8-10 hours for the 50 years to pass "in Limbo."

    The problem with the final mission was that the sedative was going to keep them asleep for 10 hours and it made the time dilation that much more powerful, it increased it to factors of 20 meaning the 10-hour flight would equate to almost 300 years in Limbo. The idea was that Wantabe would be "so old" by the time the flight ended that he'd have forgotten his promise and even who he was. Moreso, the idea was that anyone would experience this but that idea seemed more theory as no one had gone that deep before aside from Cobb and Mal. Wantabe, however, said he'd remember the promise and seeing Cobb helped him remeber that promise so was able to remember to keep his promise and still be, somewhat, cognizant when he woke up, though it'd likely take him time to readjust to his life. Again, think of the TNG epiosde "The Inner Light" for a similar idea to this.

    I think it might've been less "the top won't fall due to lack of gravity in the dreams" and more "that's how I want my totem to work."

    I mean if it was the gravity thing that's apply to a lot of things we see occur in the movie. But since Leo's idea was for his totem to spin "forever" in his dream that's how it works not because it can't fall over but because Cobb, subconciously, won't let it fall over. This is probably where the rule of not letting others know too much about your totem comes from as it creates potential for abuse. Mal had, apparently, let Cobb know how her totem worked so he knew how to exploit it to manipulate her. So even if she couldn't "physicaly see" the totem spinning/not spinning somewhere in her mind she knew what it was doing even on a subconcious to her subconcious level.
     
  4. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Except that, even if stuff in the movie was "real," it still didn't really happen because, you know, it's a movie. None of it matters except to the extent that all movies matter. The characters & events are as real & important as you want them to be.

    Honestly, I have a hard time doing any literal analysis of this movie. When I do, too many things don't add up. But then, I think that a lot of Nolan's movies are like that. Analyzed literally, the Joker's clockwork perfect crime spree in The Dark Knight makes no sense at all. The Joker must be analyzed as a symbolic force of chaos. And while the ending of The Dark Knight seems very impractical & unnecessary on a literal level, that too makes more sense on a symbolic level.

    On a symbolic, meta level, Inception is about the process of artistic creation, manipulating the emotions & ideas of the audience. Just as The Prestige was a movie about magicians that was itself a magic trick, relying on doubles, deception, & diversion.

    Or the entire movie was really dreamed up by that autistic kid from St. Elsewhere.

    Considering how preposterous the technology in the film is and how it totally flies in the face of what the modern understanding of dreams is, I'm inclined to believe that the whole thing was a dream. There's no such thing as extraction, inception, or any other form of dream walking. None of these people ever existed; or if they did, there's no reason to believe that how they're depicted in the film bears any resemblance to "reality."

    Which annoys me slightly if only because the implication is that Cobb is the only real thing in the entire movie and I think he's the least interesting character. I would have preferred a greater focus on Arthur and/or Ariadne.
     
  5. ManOnTheWave

    ManOnTheWave Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I think the movie was designed to leave an audience arguing for years.

    That said, I fall in the "the whole movie was a dream" camp. While in "reality, numerous characters tell Cobb to "come back to reality," "wake up," and "who are you to judge what is real?" We are also told from the outset that a totem is used to judge reality from dream. In the third act, we learn that not only is Cobb's totem not his, but he admits to tampering with it. One character points out to another that Cobb, our point of view in this story, breaks every rule he sets. Cobb doesn't know up from down, or reality from dream. And every character and situation in the film is some variation of him talking to himself.
     
  6. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    By that criterion, we've now effectively relegated the entire Star Trek series, and many other films, to "it was all a dream" status.

    But whose dream?

    My money's on the St.Elsewhere kid.
     
  7. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  8. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    :rolleyes:

    Thanks. I didn't realize it was a movie.
     
  9. cheeseyfatmonkey

    cheeseyfatmonkey Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm a real vote too, however, I'm voting real with doubts. I thought the spinning top was about to fall over at the end.

    My doubt comes from the scene where the van is about to hit the water. In the background under the bridge a freight train is passing by and it made me wonder if this film is full of potential visual clues like this one of if it just a freight train?

    Good film:bolian:
     
  10. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Thing is all Mal has to do is perform a kick back in reality to get Cobb out.

    The one place that Inceptions seems to fall apart is the jeopardy of limbo. Despite all the hand ringing, according to the rules of the movie there really shouldn't be much danger to it at all.
     
  11. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This is the biggest questionmark unless the whole movie takes place in Cobb's limbo, in which case he could already be in a coma and beyond help in reality and Mal is trying to snap him out of it. This could explain why she doesn't appear straght away if she has to track him down in Limbo. It doesn't explain why she acts a bit crazy though so I'm more inclined to think she is a representative of his own subconscious trying to wake him up because the real Mal can't get deep enough.
     
  12. Avalon

    Avalon Captain Captain

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    It's reality.

    He doesn't need to see the top fall over. He knows it's real. It's why he couldn't stay in limbo with Mal any longer, it's why he could let go of her and his guilt, it's why seeing his kids in limbo would never be enough for him. Dreaming is no substitute...not for Cobb.

    He knows he's in reality because he remembers how he got to the house. That's what the whole long trip through the airport and meeting up with Miles is about. He doesn't just find himself at his in-laws' house; he "remembers how he got there".

    So...we don't see the top fall over because we don't need to, either...
     
  13. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    Mal tells Cobb to stay in limbo so she's definitely a projection of his subconscious. The movie's never completely clear on the consequences of staying in limbo too long. It seems to be it's less a danger to your physical health (you're just sleeping after all) as it is to your mental health.
     
  14. T'Baio

    T'Baio Admiral Admiral

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    And we have a winner. :techman:
     
  15. ThunderAeroI

    ThunderAeroI Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I call dream, unless I missed something.

    Someone explain how cobb got out of the van when it was underwater, and some punk was loud when he was talking to that old guy. Who was it, and what was the conversation?
     
  16. NuFan

    NuFan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I agree that you see it start to topple just before it cuts to black.
     
  17. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    :techman:
     
  18. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    There we go. Now I don't have to post some big in-depth treatise on why the movie ends in reality. If you think the above quote is what happened, you don't really feel the need to articulate your beliefs beyond voting "Reality" - thus the disparity in posts to votes.
     
  19. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    The ":rolleyes:" is unnecessary. My comment had nothing to do with your specific perceptions of the movie. I intended it as a broader statement of what I believe was one of Nolan's intentions in ending the movie ambiguously the way he did. The statement, "It's a movie," was more the personal epiphany I had when I was walking home from the theater a bit perplexed.

    Why would he make a movie where everything was just a dream? If it's just a movie anyway, then nothing that "really" happened really happened regardless. So why does fiction become less significant if it's a fictional dream instead of fictional "reality"? I think these are the questions that Nolan wants us to ask. (And I'm not entirely sure he wants anyone to answer them.)

    But then, I think a lot of Nolan's movies can't be interpreted literally (except for Batman Begins. And I suppose The Prestige can be interpreted literally as well as structurally). His movies are less about characters & events and more about ideas, themes, feelings, & structure. (In this way, Nolan is very much the opposite of modern populist pulpists like James Cameron & George Lucas. Movies like Avatar & Star Wars are much less about exotic ideas and more about using classic heroic archetypes in exciting settings to thrill audiences while reinforcing timeless themes of good vs. evil.)
     
  20. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    That's a little different. We don't know exactly how warp drive is supposed to effect FTL travel. It just does. It's an unknown science. Now, if the Enterprise traveled through space with a giant rotary propeller, that would be preposterous because we know that space doesn't work that way.

    In real life, we know a lot about dreams. Much of what we know contradicts how "dreams" are treated in Inception.

    For example, on a basic level, we know that dreaming is a function of the brain. So why do the devices tap into the wrists instead? (It's like medieval science when they thought that blood was created when the stomach fed nutrients to the liver, that blood contained thoughts, and that the heart was the regulator of where all the thoughts come from. The brain was dismissed as basically a giant radiator.)
     

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