Note: If you really don’t want to know anything about the movie, probably better not to read this. And this was written before I read anyone else’s reviews, etc.
I didn’t like Inception.
Mind you, I didn’t hate it, a la Avatar, but I am disappointed in everyone that created the buzz that made me feel like I had to see it.
I am beginning to wonder how much I will like a new movie that is generally liked. When something has broad appeal, it means that it isn’t necessarily making bold decisions, so as to be as palatable to as wide a base as possible.
OK, on to some actual critiquing.
I think a good indication as to the quality of a movie is whether or not I tune out. During Avatar, I constructed a whole fantasy of what I could be doing instead of being there. At Inception, there were points where I thought about what I needed to do and realized I’d been tuning out for up to a minute.
- I wasn’t into the movie, at first. I felt like Leo and his romantic interest had hackneyed dialogue that didn’t have real emotion behind it. I started getting into it a little when I saw some cool editing as he was maneuvering through the building with his silencer.
- From then on, it was really in and out until they got into the snow world, at which point I really began tuning out more. A lot of the actions scenes bored me, like the van chase and the skiing.
- The end felt like a copout to me, since it leaves it open for if you want it to be a happy or depressing ending.
I’m not sure what ideas about life one is supposed to gain from the movie.
“Don’t let guilt destroy you”?
“Reality is what you make of it”?
Or perhaps you are just supposed to enjoy this world. Maybe it is just a ‘fun’ heist movie, with a bit more to it. Either way, I feel like the movie tries to tell you something about you deciding your reality, which I find inaccurate. Reality is reality. Perception can be changed.
The Matrix is a much more successful story because it comments on modern life by saying it’s all an illusion. To wake people up from a world that they are forced to be in to serve a greater machine makes sense and resonates. It’s also clear that that’s whatThe Matrix is trying to tell you. Inception is not clear in this regard and doesn’t tell us about our lives.
All-in-all, there were several elements I wasn’t satisfied with:
- Cobb’s character felt pretty one-note: desperately guilty with momentum.
- Too much was explained. It’s part of the drawback of establishing a world that’s different from the normal one in a limited timeframe: explaining it to the audience. It’s one of my biggest complaints that the movie had to try very hard to make sure everyone was following everything.
- The soundtrack wasn’t anything special. I listened closely a few times and it seemed relatively generic.
- Ken Watanabe’s stilted accent took me out of it and didn’t seem to match the level of the dialogue that he was saying.
- I didn’t really believe the love between Cobb and Mal.
There were a couple of moments I did like:
- When Arthur has the girl kiss him, just because he wanted her to.
- As said earlier, some of the editing when Cobb is shooting people through the building at the beginning.
- Some of the fight stuff in the hotel, but I still saw it as The Matrix 2010, in terms of choreography.
I will not fault people for liking the movie, as I did with Avatar (I maintain that the only way to like that movie is to ignore absolutely everything other than the visual and the political message that it’s unsuccessfully trying to present), but I still think one has to ignore some serious flaws in Inception that I cannot get past. I don’t understand how people can see the characters as interesting. And I don’t think the movie offers anything in terms of giving us ideas to shape or change how we see the world we live in.
I am concerned with people thinking a movie is good simply (or at least mostly) because it is visually appealing. I don’t watch a movie for the technical. It’s nice to go back and review how something was made and know what makes it special in terms of its creation. No matter how in the industry or personally technical you are, if that’s what you’re thinking instead of watching the story and characters, the movie isn’t really doing its job.
Having written this, I will be willing to write up something else, given more comments and if I read reviews that point me in a different direction or which need rebutting.