Wednesday, 18 August 2010
Inception Review (Text)
I suppose I can’t really discuss this movie without giving away the ending. After all, I was ranting on for quite a while about how the ending would be where this movie would all fall down – so I’m going to throw a Spoilers warning out there straight off – just so you know. That said, however, there are some things I can discuss without giving away too much.
The indelible (not infallible – see what I did there?) Mr Fonch over at Cracked Lips and Caffeine recently wrote a review of the television show NCIS, based solely on how hot Abby, the main female character in the show, was. Now, whilst I ripped on him for a few minutes over the fact he wrote “a lot” as “alot”, and proceeded to tell him he was an idiot for suggesting that all the many crime scene investigation shows that are around now are rip-offs of CSI despite the fact I could plainly see he had the MillenniuM boxset on his video shelf, I felt he was onto something. I’ve heard a lot (unintentional – sorry, Fonch) of guys discussing Ellen Page before, and it seems to me that, much like Marmite, or The Dark Knight, you either love her or hate her. Now, whilst I’m not big on the kind of attitudes her characters have in most films (typically being the “quirky” character, which basically is another way of saying “unbearably annoying”. Shit, she’s almost as bad as Michael Cera on the scale of douche indie character actors – though probably has more upper body strength…), I am actually only going to discuss her looks in the next paragraph, so skip ahead if you don’t want to hear what you all know is true.
I suspect most of the guys who find Ellen Page really hot are closet paedophiles. There. It’s out there. Deal with it.
See what I mean? What is she, like, 12? Well, a quick Google search informs me she's actually older than I am BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT, DAMN IT!
You see, the fact is, she has a body like a 10 year old’s, and a very young face. Do I find her attractive? Of course I do, she’s very pretty – but I wish guys would stop referring to her as outright “hot”. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: “dude, she’s waaaay over 16 now, what’s the problem? Are you telling me you never fucked a 16 year old before?” Well yes, she is, and yes, I have. But what concerns me is this borderline creepiness I see when guys are going on about how hot Ellen Page is, and then drop lines like “Oh yeah, she’s so hot, if I was [the guy in X-Men 3] I would totally have gotten with her”. WHAT?!?!?! WASN'T HER CHARACTER 13 IN THAT FILM?????
Also, the whole PVC/leather fetish thing is just weird. Basically, you're either turned on by plastic, or by dead animals. You make me SICK!
Just in case you'd forgotten about that time I said I was gonna fuck Miley Cyrus...
But, off the paedo thing for now, because as we all know, calling someone a paedophile is the lowest form of humour. Incidentally, what’s Princess Di’s favourite ice cream? Carte D’or and Walls! Hmmm… I think that one needs to be said out load and with the right inflection to be funny…
Oh right! Car door and Walls! Now I get it!
However, I will say this for Ellen Page, I think she’s more attractive than Megan Fox, who has the WEIRDEST FUCKING THUMBS I HAVE EVER SEEN AND OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO PUKE HOW THE HELL IS NO-ONE ELSE SEEING THIS? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I MUST BE GAY TO BE LOOKING AT HER HANDS HOW COULD I NOT NOTICE THOSE FUCKING THINGS THEY’RE FUCKING REVOLTING!
I rest my case...
Plus, fancying her is less creepy than those guys who go on about how hot Emma Watson is whilst watching Chamber of Secrets (you know who you are!). And I do think that the people who go the opposite route and hate on Ellen saying she’s not attractive are maybe just over-reacting to too much crazy positive hype, in the same way that I would tell people I hated the Dark knight when really I just disliked bits of it; because I had to break through the wall of fanboy obsession. So, let’s leave it with this for Page’s looks: If she was a regular girl I met, I would ask her out, and I would shag her; but I wouldn’t jerk off over home movies of her when she was 13. ‘Nuff said.
When a woman calls you out like that, there's only one solution
But, onto the actual movie itself. Obviously, what I really want to discuss is the ending, but I’ll chuck a few things out there to pad my review out a bit…
And now we spend 300 words discussing Patrick Bateman diversifying his profolio...
The effects were really well done, and were very effective. I hated on The Dark knight big time for the shitty, shitty CGI on Two Face, so I’m pleased to be able to say that the effects in Inception did not take me out of the movie at any point (although, the incredibly small leg room in the cinema did quite a bit. Seriously, are those seats designed for people who are 5’5” and 130lbs? and the narrowness – it’s cool when I go with my mate Josh who’s about 11 stone and skinny, but I was sitting with a 20 stone powerlifter who has a 52” chest today – they just don’t cater for that!). I liked the way a lot of the action was framed, and for once the slow motion actually seemed appropriate (Which is quite a rare thing these days).
The acting was pretty good all round, as well, with no-one doing anything quite awful enough for me to suspend my suspension of disbelief and actively think about their acting whilst the movie was going on, which is more than I can say for Nolan’s last picture (Remember kids, gargling with nails and smoking 5 packs a day to supplement your 3 meals of gravel ISN’T what acting’s all about). Not only that, but all the shots were nicely framed, and for the most part the transitions were nice too (with the obvious exception of Ellen Page and her coffee cup when they are at the Café in Paris).
I do, however, have some complaints. Chief among these is the continuity problems, which is what annoyed me most about this film. The idea is that as you go deeper into an individual’s subconscious, the more time slows relative to how it was in the earlier levels. However, this is never kept consistent – and the amount of time that passes in one level relative to the next varies wildly. Of course, this was done to avoid the difficulties of having to synchronize events across the different levels whilst filming, on the assumption that most audiences will be too dumb/too forgiving to care anyway, but it did bug me as I was watching it that at one point a minute in the first level was the same as about 3 in the second, and by the end 10 seconds in the first was the same as 10 minutes in the second. But hell, if you’ve gotta mess with shit like that to get the story in a half decent shape, then I guess it’s well worth the sacrifice. After all, these problems didn’t bother me all that much as I was watching.
The other problem I noticed with this was the fact that what’s happening in the real world effects the dream at the first level, and what happens in the first level effects the second in the same way, and yet there is no link between the second and third in this manner in terms of the gravity/environment, yet the music before the kick can still be heard in the third level when no other environmental factors are affected. But whatever, I’m sure some fanboy online somewhere has written a 10,000 word essay on why this is.
Because some days posing with your guns and guitar hero controllers just isn't enough...
The only other continuity problem I had was this: When Leo’s talking about getting him and his wife out of limbo, we see them exiting young, and yet soon after we see them there a little earlier on, old. Now, either they aged, in which case they should have been old when they left, or they had complete control over everything so could reverse the effects of age, in which case why did they let themselves age at all? I didn’t quite follow that, but thanks to how this movie was resolved, I feel like it may have been because I wasn’t following closely enough, and not just that Nolan is a complete Numpty who doesn’t think whilst making his films (which is what I previously thought).
When I was writing about how Memento could have all been a dream, I suddenly had an awful feeling that this was how Inception would end; it would turn out that everything was all a dream. But it was far more intelligent than that, even if the ending was ridiculously predictable.
Just like Memento, we had the “big twist” thrown in about 10 minutes before the film ended (seriously, why the fuck to people go on about Shayamaln ending all his movies with a twist and not say anything about Nolan doing the same? Memento? Twist. Batman Begins? Twist. Prestige? Twist. Dark Knight? Twist. Inception? Mother-fucking TWIST! By my count that’s Nolan 5, Shayamalan 4 (Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, The Village, and from what I hear The Happening. Signs doesn’t count as a twist because, well, it wasn’t), and although it felt like a slight cop-out and didn’t entirely explain everything, I was relatively happy with the explanation; just like Joe Pantoliano’s speech at the end of Memento. It was relatively intelligent, not overly predictable, and tied things up fairly well. But this wasn’t the best part of the ending. After the big revelation, we see Leo go deeper into the subconscious, and into limbo, to rescue one of his team who had died in the dream and fallen through, before seeing everyone wake up with the “kick” (this was done really well, too – we follow Ellen Page as she comes up through 4 layers of dream to the real world, each time waking up with a kick from one layer to the next – probably my favourite part of the movie (or any Nolan movie!)). After they have woken up, Leo goes back to his family, and we get the standard happy ending, except everyone in the cinema knew (and one guy even shouted out) that he is still dreaming and is in fact still in limbo, simply dreaming he has awoken and returned home. Now, you may be asking why I like such an obvious, predictable ending when I’m normally so happy to rip into Nolan – but the reason I liked it is because it’s so obvious! It’s been done countless times before, and it’s so much better than any of the other endings I was worried Nolan might try and use.
I was going to post an image of the ending of Lost, but if you search for "lost ending" on Google you get Hugh Laurie doing the Sieg Heil salute, and... well... how could I resist?
What’s great about this ending is that it’s ambiguous; is he still asleep, or is this real? If he is asleep, is he in limbo since he went in after Ken Watanabee, or is he in limbo from when he and his wife were there? It’s like the “they were asleep/dead all along” ending, but more interesting because you have to decide for yourself when it happened. It’s just like “Minority Report”; does Tom Cruise really save the day, or is he in the prison where your mind is pacified by thoughts that leave you no longer wanting to escape? It’s like “Taxi Driver”; is it all real, or does DeNiro die on the sofa and the last bit is him imagining what it would be like if he survived (or, is he completely insane and everything beyond a certain point much earlier in the movie all a construct in his deluded mind)? WHO KNOWS? So congratulations, Christopher Nolan, you have reused an ending which directors have been putting in their movies for years, and it’s your best movie yet!
This is what came up when I searched for "Christopher+Nolan+Happy".
That’s right – I really enjoyed Inception, much more so than I did, say The Dark Knight. It’s complicated, but not to the extent you can’t easily follow it. It’s smart, but at the same time very familiar – it’s everything a blockbuster should be. Sure, there were bits that annoyed me, and a few errors in continuity and possible plot holes, but nothing so big it detracted from the story in any way, and certainly nothing as major as in Nolan’s previous films. This movie in no way deserves to be rated the 3rd best movie ever made (as it is on IMDB), but I would certainly recommend watching it. Or I would, but the Expendables is out tomorrow, and I have a feeling that’s going to be even better!
Great fun; excitement, adventure, and well worth the 4 quid discount ticket I bought to go see it. It isn’t ground-breaking, and isn’t the most intelligent film ever (as some are purporting it to be), but damn it, it wasn’t half bad (especially for a Nolan movie).
Although whilst we're on it, it did piss me off how the bad guys were stood 1 metre from the car with the good guys in with automatic weapons and still couldn't hit them - you'd have thought one could shoot well enough, or get up on the roof and shoot down through the metal, or something? Just a thought...