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. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    To be fair, we don't know how the "dream machines" work, how people are "hooked up" or what. Simply because it doesn't matter, the dream machines and their mission aren't the story.

    They could've had them sit in the chairs with their heads "wired" to phones made of tin cans and shoe-strings for all I care, how they dream and how the technology works isn't the story.

    For the same reasons in Star Trek it doesn't matter how Warp Drive works, what Warp Factor 9 is in terms of multiples of c, etc. as even in Trek the FTL and space exploration isn't the story, the story is The Human Condition and exploring that, the space-travel is just the backdrop.

    And who cares how dreams work in the real world, something that is debated at length today by different doctors, scientists and psychologists; the movie lays out how dreams work in it. and gets away with its... loose interpretation of it by the fact that we don't know how dreams work, why they are the way they are and how people precieve them is different for everyone.
     
  2. Level 2 Diagnostic

    Level 2 Diagnostic Captain Captain

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    I'm not sure how Cobb "knowing" it's reality is any kind of proof that it's reality. Mal was very convinced that it wasn't reality, because she could look at her own children and see they weren't real. Why would you trust Cobb's instincts over Mal's? Just because he's the main character?

    Yeah, but plenty of stuff in that final sequence could indicate that those scenes were a dream. How the heck did Miles end up in the US before Cobb? Did Miles even mention he was going to meet him there? And wasn't Michael Caine wearing the exact same clothes in the airport that he was wearing in his earlier scenes?

    How did Cobb get through customs so easily? He was a fugitive, wanted for killing his wife. Certainly his face would be all over the 24 hour news channels. He breezed right through customs just because a powerful CEO made one phone call? Even if Ken Watanabe worked his influence to get all charges dropped against him, it's very hard to explain why there wasn't a whole media circus waiting for him at the airport.

    I get the feeling that a lot of people think the ending was "real" because they really want it to be real. Not because the evidence supports it, but because they think it would make the whole movie "pointless". But I find that a pretty silly line of thought. Was The Wizard of Oz "pointless" just because it was all Dorothy's dream?
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    When Cobb meets Caine at the university he gives Caine some presents for the kids for when he (Caine) goes to visit. Considering some time, even as long as a week, passes between the training of the team and setting things up it makes sense that Caine would arrive in America before Cobb.

    I'm not sure he's wearing the exact same clothes but we can either chalk this up to them simply being the same style of clothes or simply the movie not wanting to spend money to buy two outfits for a character we see for all of five total minutes betweent he two end of the film.

    As for how his name was cleared so fast, powerful movie CEO magic. Nothing more. Plenty of movies use this trick and raise the exact same question.
     
  4. JacksonArcher

    JacksonArcher Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Don't the kids wear the same clothes as well?
     
  5. Avalon

    Avalon Captain Captain

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    I don't really have enough time to address the rest of L2D's post, but I just wanted to throw this out there:

    People wear the same stuff all the time. I have about enough clothing to get through two weeks, but out of that I really only have about a week's worth of clothing I prefer to wear. I'm guessing this isn't unusual because I recognize pieces of clothing that my friends, family and co-workers wear -- in other words, there's a pretty good chance that on Tuesday I'll see Mark wearing that green plaid shirt and Betty will be wearing her denim skirt. David has that brown sweater he favors when it's a little chilly.

    When I was a kid, I would have worn this one v-necked top every day if my folks hadn't insisted on washing it periodically. ;)

    I'm just saying -- seeing someone in the exact same clothes isn't really a weird dreamlike thing. It happens in the waking world every day.

    (As to the kids at the end -- Phillippa is definitely wearing a t-shirt under her dress, which is different from all her other "appearances". And she looks old enough in the face to match her voice on the phone. I didn't get as good a look at James.)
     
  6. Level 2 Diagnostic

    Level 2 Diagnostic Captain Captain

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    Whether or not people repeatedly wear the same clothes in real life is not the point of my question at all. The question is, what was the director's intent in including this detail? Do you think the wardrobe people just happened to pull out the same outfit at random, or was this a deliberate detail included to maybe make you think it was a dream?

    And if that ending was meant to be taken as "CEO magic" then Nolan is an even worse writer than I thought. This would be like Steve Ballmer placing one phone call and Roman Polanski gets to come back to the US, pass through one of our airports, and go to a relative's house, all without anyone noticing or caring. Does that seem even remotely likely? Polanski isn't even accused of killing anyone like Cobb was.
     
  7. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    They're very similar but not the same. His daughter's dress and his son's shoes are different. His son also has a lot more hair than in Cobb's memories.

    A number of people have complained the dreams weren't weird enough but I'm sure Nolan made them more real so we would pick up on these little details. If it was all flying dragons and bendy cities the dividing line between dream and reality would have been so clear no one would have even considered the little things like what the kids and Michael Caine were wearing. It puts the audience in Cobb's position on wondering whether everything is real or not.
     
  8. Ryan

    Ryan Commodore Commodore

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    I didn't read into it to much. It's a MacGuffin. The details don't really matter to the rest of the movie. While the bureaucratic paperwork moved through remarkably fast I certainly don't have any problem believing a major multi-national energy corporation could buy a gubernatorial pardon.
     
  9. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Just got back from seeing it again and some quick things:

    1. The father's clothes are different in the airport (different color of shirt.)

    2. The kids are noticably older than in Cobb's visions.

    3. The top noticably is starting to wobble.
     
  10. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    How would anyone know he was coming? He used an assumed name to get on the plane. Probably used one to get off, too. And why would people recognize him? A lot of guys kill their wives, and it's just this side of dumb luck which ones are on the local news for a couple of nights and which ones get national coverage for months on end. And it was a year and a half or two years ago.
     
  11. Marten

    Marten Captain Captain

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    It think it was as real as it gets in that movie.

    But one thing bugged me. He walked away. He did not care if it was real or not. That is highly inconsistent with his behaviour in the rest of the film. He couldn't stand living in the fake world with Mal, why would he stand living in a world that might very well be fake with his kids?
     
  12. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    His kids turned around, and he could see their faces. I think that alone proved to him that it was real.
     
  13. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    This.

    And Marion Cotillard is damn sexy and smoky.
     
  14. The Borgified Corpse

    The Borgified Corpse Admiral Admiral

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    Ouch! Forgotten already? You were just down ther
    Lots of great fictional characters wear the same clothes all the time. Like... Launchpad McQuack...:shifty:

    But Polanski was famous before he was a fugitive. Presumably Cobb was not.
     
  15. Set Harth

    Set Harth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's right, a "lot" of Nolan's movies can't be interpreted literally, with the exception of Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, and Inception.
     
  16. coolghoul

    coolghoul Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^ Actually the more I think about the reasons put forth by everybody, the more I think it *must* be reality. And then I get more confused as to why Nolan would choose to end on the reality/dream question-mark. It makes it nothing more than an affectation rather than any genuine conundrum.

    And therefore I go back to the there-must-be-more-reasons-for-it-to-be-a-dream way of thinking... But what? Except that he deliberately sets that up.
     
  17. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    ^I maintain my theory that Nolan is mean. He knows it's real, but he wanted an ending that makes the audience go, "Aaaaaaawwww!" I mean, the entire theater laughed out loud when it ended because the top falling/not falling thing was just over-the-top (no pun intended) enough to be funny.
     
  18. CaptainCanada

    CaptainCanada Admiral Admiral

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    Nolan intends for people to be guessing, and he's unlikely to ever say which interpretation is correct (great artists know it's best to leave things like that ambiguous, to keep people talking), so to me it comes down to which interpretation you think makes the most sense for the movie.

    I'll start by saying that I discount the various theories about how the whole movie was a dream or some kind of elaborate alternate inception, etc., because you really can't argue about that either way and it would sort of make the whole thing pointless. I focus solely on whether he woke up or not at the end.

    I would say he did, simply because I think it's much more consistent with Cobb's character arc leading up to it; for most of the movie, he's descending, he has the big climactic confrontation with Mal, and the point of his rejection of her and his speech about it is that he recognizes that she's not real and refuses to accept dreams. To have him then turn around and fall into a dream kind of voids his whole character arc.
     
  19. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    I think he puts the doubt in there just for the question mark, just to start discussion. Look at this very forum, three, four threads on this movie and in them discussion on whether or not people thought the ending was in "reality" or still in the "dream"? We couldn't have this disucssion if the ending was obvious and clear-cut. That's great film-making, something as simple as the white-flash at the end of "Total Recall" is the movie the "real world" or was it the memory implant Quaid had paid for?

    Watch Inception and how you want to view the ending is all going to be on how you read the movie as a whole, your own idea of what is real and not real and, I suppose, also your idea on whether or not "happy endings" are genuine.

    One of my co-workers loves unhappy endings. He's not seen this yet but he'd likely advocate for the ending being Cobb stuck in Limbo/Dreamland and he'd likely precieve the totem as being in perpetual spin. Nolan cut-off the ending just in time to give doubt. Some see the wobble, some don't. Some see the wobble as being just part of the top's spin some see it as a sign the top is about to fail.

    Some see the age, and clothing, difference in the children between the ending and the visions, some don't. (The children are close-enough in age that they look "alike" but after three viewings the children are pretty differently clothed not to mention noticably older, especially in the girl. In the memories the daughter looks to be about the age of pre-schooler or kindergartner at the end she's noticably taller and older by a couple of years and in different clothes.)

    Some think that him seeing his children is really his "totem" and what's going to happen to the top doesn't matter he knows he's in the real world. Some see that him being in a dream would make the entire movie pointless, mean that Mal had "won" and that Cobb is in his own nightmare in a dream he himself said wouldn't be good enough for him. He wanted reality.

    But, some see the ending as being Cobb in the dream.

    That's what good film-making is, ending the movie in such a manner to raise question and doubt no matter what the ending "really is" or what Nolan intended.
     
  20. coolghoul

    coolghoul Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Actually Total Recall is better in that regards. You can never know one way or the other whether he truly had that adventure or it was the excellent adventure-vacation from Total Recall playing out forever and even in his mind. (Unless you get told by the creator/writer - kinda like what Ridley Scott did with Bladerunner)

    In this case, I don't think there's any doubt in *your* mind, (once you've thought it thru) that this is reality.

    Can you actually formulate a good reason for it being a dream and "make it stick"? I *see* the evidence of it being a dream/limbo there - children not really changing, Caine at the airport, us not seeing how Cobb woke up thru the levels, all the way down to the top which spins for an inordinately long time and seems to "fix" it's wobble about 3 times (from what I remember from that one-time viewing). But what are the *reasons* for it being a dream? All of them are unsatisfactory. Either Cobb is still in limbo or he has returned to the "real" level from the movie - but now that level is a dream. Why is that? All of it is "unreasonably unfathomable" (in short, is there a theory which can explain what is happening without being "it-just-is-a-dream" at some level?)
     

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