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Reviews Comments: Not A Fan Inception film/book review by longstreth

I find it strange that Inception spent 20 minutes showing the viewer all the cool ways to bend reality (rolling up Paris, fooling around with impossible architecture) and then spent the next two hours building a heist that employed NONE of these tricks.

Why did we need to see Paris folding up? It was cool, but the characters didn't even bother to use these abilities when it actually counted. Except for one hardly-satisfying Penrose stair in the hotel dreamworld, the entire movie was played as straight as your typical heist movie (read: Oceans Eleven). Why weren't Dom and Ariadne and Co. screwing with the laws of physics to make their job easier? The film's rationale was that the stranger the circumstances of the dream, the more likely the projections will realize and start to attack. I don't buy it: seems like the projections were attacking anyway. The job would have been a whole lot easier (especially in the snow world) if they had used their abilities.

So that's what Inception is: Ocean's Eleven for people who like to pretend they're watching imaginative movies.


  • longstreth
  • 1st Jan 11
For the record, I really tried to like Inception. I was just disappointed by how ... plain it was. cf. the review below mine.
  • 1angelette
  • 3rd Jan 11, if they used those laws of physics, the projections would realize it was a dream and find them faster?
  • 3rd Jan 11
I thought the parts inside Mal's head and memories made the movie interesting. Because like you said, the rest is just Ocean's 11 inside somebody's head. Recycled INSPACE?
  • longstreth
  • 5th Jan 11
People have nightmares all the time where physics does wonky things. I have dreams where I can hardly see due to random foggy mists (even inside buildings) and others where I try to run as fast as I can but it's like I'm on the Moon (gravitationally speaking). Those are legitimate dreams. So why couldn't we have seen those in Inception?
  • Zaptech
  • 5th Jan 11
Because, as they said very clearly in the movie, screwing around with dream physics causes the projections to come after you more aggressively and violently. They already had enough trouble leaving the physics alone. If they had been playing around aggressively with the physics in the dreamworld, the projections would have mobbed them.
  • maninahat
  • 6th Jan 11
By setting up such a strict rule though, the film does deprive us of some potentially very interesting action sequences. The revolving corridor was way more memorable and interesting than that boring 20 minute snowy outpost shootout. Why couldn't all the dreams have their own, screwed up laws?
  • MarkAntony
  • 7th Jan 11
Heh, see, here's the thing: it is just a heist movie. Do not watch Inception with the expectation it will be strange or philosophically complex. It's actually just a really straightforward reverse-heist with an odd setting for its backdrop.
  • LaCapitana
  • 7th Jan 11
I like simple stories with excellent execution better than really complex stories. If Inception were a mind-screw, I wouldn't like it as much because it's not my type of movie.
  • DemonSomething
  • 10th Jan 11
Wouldn't the zero-gravity hallway scene count as physics-bending?

For the fact that the projections were already attacking, its assumed that they weren't supposed to attack, but did due to a Chekov's Skill. Also, as Paris indicates, if one screws with a dream enough, a massive crowd of projections, likely into the hundreds will attack you
  • GuyInWhite
  • 12th Jan 11
Ugh, I hate it when people say this is just a heist movie. We need more original concepts these days, and Inception delivers. You want a heist movie? Go watch Ocean's Eleven. If you want a movie that toys with your sense of dreams and reality, watch Inception.
  • 12th Jan 11
So that's what Inception is: Ocean's Eleven for people who like to pretend they're watching imaginative movies.

Man, there's so much elitist, Spoony-esque condescension in this one comment that I can see it oozing off the screen.
  • longstreth
  • 12th Jan 11
@maninahat That's a great point. The rotating hallway was really cool. It was one of my favourite parts of the movie and probably one of the best action sequences I've seen in a long time. I wish there'd been more of that in Inception.
  • victorinox243
  • 12th Jan 11
Your last comment should have been what you wrote in your review. Your review alone sounded really rude towards the reader.
  • LaCapitana
  • 12th Jan 11
If you want a movie that really toys with the idea of dreaming vs reality, you should see Science of Sleep. I didn't like the movie as much as I would have if it had a more straight forward plot.

In a way, it seems like what a lot of people are asking for from Inception pretty much dials down to "more visual effects, please."
  • longstreth
  • 30th Mar 11
@ Was there something particularly special about Inception? What was different than Oceans Eleven? At least O11 could happen in real life (albeit with a biiiit of suspension of disbelief). Even the central conceit of Inception is nonsensical. A machine somehow allows me to enter someone else's dream? Okay, fair enough. But why is there an architect? How do you build someone else's dream? It's THEIR subconscious, not yours (which is pretty obvious from the film, given that the person being "incepted" conjures up a bunch of their own murderous projections every time).

So in Inception, we learn that: a) Multiple people can enter Person X's dream with a special machine we know nothing about. b) One of them will build the environment of Person X's dream. c) Person X will populate it with projections with his/her subconscious.

Waiiiit a minute. If Ellen Page can build Person X's dream, then why can't she build one where all the projections die instantly? If she has enough control over Person X's subconscious to build their dream for them, surely she must be able to take care of a few measly projections.

Furthermore, if Ellen Page can build Person X's dream, then why can't she modify it? One of my problems with Inception is that the dreams are not nearly dream-like enough. The movie explains this away by essentially saying "if you screw with the physics, Person X will notice and the projections will come kill you." But Ellen Page just built Person X's dream and put herself in it! How come the projections don't notice THAT? That seems way more dramatic than, say, conjuring up a bigger gun.

From a story point of view, it would have been so much more interesting to see crazy physics-bending dreams. I mean, Chris Nolan came up with the idea that dreams should be almost exactly like reality in Inception, so surely he could have come up with some way to make them more interesting?

Example: I think the coolest part of Inception is the rotating hallway fight. Interestingly enough, that's one of the only parts of Inception that DOESN'T mirror reality. See my point?

I've written way too much here. It's just a movie. I should really just relax...
  • gerjan
  • 27th Oct 11
I have to agree with the review.

What bothers me about the flick is that in the winter level one character is sent out as a decoy, they want him to be chased around so why not bend landscapes, hell, why not imagine an army of bikini-clad Bond girls with guns? I sort of got confused whose dream the last one was but what irked me was that all the projections on the mission were white americans, while all the people taking part are citizens of the world so why not have a few austrians or welsh? Not to sound like a twelve-year-old boy but shouldn't projections be part of the subconscious? So what happened to Zorro or ninjas or whatever it was that you liked as a kid? To top it all off, it's generally known that no-one is 100% sane, so why don't others let out their inner demons and kinks the deeper the mission goes? Not a huge subplot but maybe just have one guy see the headmistress from his primary school walk past and give him a dirty look?

It's a clever action movie but it's not a clever movie with action.
  • alias215
  • 6th Mar 12
in the second level, arthur uses the impossible stairway to get behind a projection and kill it.
  • maxximummatt
  • 21st Jan 13
Okay, let me help you all out here:

1)The scene where Paris folds up is a story telling device. They use that scene to explain to you, the viewer, that "yeah we can do anything in a dream but it'll get you caught faster". Without that scene everyone would be wondering why the dreamer couldn't change things. 2)You're not building someone else's dream. You're building yours and then bringing the subject INTO it. They don't have control. Only the architect does. The subject just fills the dream world that you build with their subconscious. For instance, if you were the subject and brought into a dream of a restaurant you'd subconsciously fill it with patrons and waiters and so on because that's what you'd expect to see there. That's why their aren't ninjas and ridiculous things in it. Because a)Fisher wasn't a super creative individual and b)the levels were very realistic. 3) You don't control the other person's subconscious, just the architecture. There is no way for the architect to magically kill the other person's subconscious. Even if you did they could just generate more. 4)The reason why there aren't crazy dream levels in the movie is explained a bunch of times. Each dream level Ariadne designed served a specific purpose. The third level was a fortress because they had to make something heavily guarded like that so he would subconsciously put his secrets inside. The first level was like reality so they could kidnap him and have it seem like something that would happen. The second level was a hotel so he'd subconsciously project his uncle in it since in real life they would've met there. If the architect made up a crazy space level or kidnapped him using unicorns and dragons then obviously his subconscious would fill the space with aliens and fantasy creatures... which would disrupt their whole plan. Not only would they get attacked faster but it would make it almost impossible to get him to feed himself the idea about his father's company. It would be a million times more difficult to make candy land force him to think of his relationship with his father. It would've been cool but completely goes against the story. 5) Lastly, forget the fact that only the architect of that specific level has "powers" in the dream. It's his/her dream. So only they would be able to change things and they would also be the first person the projections attack. So if you go opening magic doors and moving things around to make things easier you'll just draw the projections directly towards you, against defeating the purpose of a heist. Plus avoiding getting shot would top of the list since it didn't wake you up in this world. Forget all of that. Fisher thought the snow level was HIS dream. If someone else changed something he would know he didn't do it, realize they were lying and the job would have failed. p.s.Cobb wasn't crazy. He was so filled with guilt that it filled his subconscious. He couldn't deal with the guilt or find a way to bury it. Assuming the other members of the team were professionals, you very likely wouldn't see their subconscious bursting through.
  • maninahat
  • 21st Jan 13

I don't think you understood the point, which is that Nolan didn't have to tell a story in which the dreams are so constrained and grounded. He didn't need to have rules written into the story which very strictly define what each "level" has to be like. But he did, and in so doing, failed to take advantage of a huge opportunity. Inception is at its best when crazy things happen, and at its worst when normal stuff happens.

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