Originally Posted by fuseboxx
@Uncle Erik's criticism in general:
You're probably right in implying that the older generation is not going to get Inception as well as the younger generations. Part of it is certainly bias for the classics from their generation, but I don't know what people are going on about the dialogue. The screenplay in general was pretty well conceptualized and translated into dialogue. I'm not sure what else you can say about it, really. It's certainly not as lush as the dialogue from films like 12 Angry Men, Before Sunset, The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, Sunset Blvd. or The Apartment... but people complaining about the less-than-exemplary dialogue in this film are barking up the wrong tree.
Dialogue... Character Development... although not even remotely bad (and the soap opera analogy is obviously a gross exaggeration) are just not what this film is about. Christopher Nolan is definitely no Billy Wilder or Woody Allen; but for this film, he doesn't have to be. Whatever he wrote, he wrote just as was needed to drive the themes and concepts in the film.
That's basically my review of the film in a nutshell: It's not perfect, but it's perfectly executed. As perfectly executed as any film I've ever seen, in fact. The way it's structured and presented is as refreshingly clever as Memento was when it came out. And regarding Chadbang's criticism about the exposition, I already have a resposnse to that. I don't think Chadbang paid any attention to it, but it's there.
Also, it's not necessarily "intellectual" in the sense that it's academic. It's a thinking man's film because the plot involves intertwining threads and layer upon layer of reality and dreaming. The key to understanding the film lies in how well the viewer is able to pay attention to the narrative, process the details and "connect the dots" about how these enveloping layers of reality work. It's like appreciating a piece of visual art that employs a clever use of negative space: Not everything is being spoonfed to the audience, you have to piece together things that are shown and also see what is not there to see the genius behind it.
I might give you the deus ex machina criticism, but considering that the film is a sci-fi about dreaming... the possibilities of the mind... what is reality and what isn't... it gave him the perfect vehicle to make anything possible. It's not like the realm of endless possibility was ever abused in the film anyway. Like I said earlier: Everything that was done was executed just as perfectly as it could have been done.
I just can't say anything bad about the soundtrack and nobody on the various forums I frequent can say anything bad about it either. Even those who had a lot of negative things to say about Inception in general admit that they couldn't touch that aspect of the film. People do have differing opinions though and you have every right to say you didn't like it.
I could see that ending coming though, I agree. That's the first thing I said to my wife when the film ended, and it actually solidifies my opinion of Inception as a perfectly executed film. As predictable as it was, it was the most clever and apt way to conclude and tie up the story. It satisfies and resolves both themes that were driving the film.
Nolan has always been a technically sound director. I'm glad you didn't take that away from him.
As for your last couple of questions:
I'm not a big reader, but I've frequently enjoyed the books of Kurt Vonnegut and Haruki Murakami. Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" also enthralled me way before its film version was ever planned and I guess I like a few Nick Hornby books as well, especially "High Fidelity".
I was looking at the AFI list (which is terribly overrated, imo) and I've seen most of those. I enjoyed a good number of them. Casablanca... the first two Godfather films... almost anything by Billy Wilder or Woody Allen... Chinatown... Cuckoo's Nest... yup, there's a lot of great classic films there. It's a shame it's limited to American films and biased towards older ones though.
The movie is nothing but an empty shell. There's nothing there. Nothing.
You don't know a single thing about any of the characters. Not what drives them, not how they think, not how they feel. There's just nothing piled on nothing. Driving down a street, being shot at, tells you nothing. It might be visually exciting, but it doesn't amount to anything.
You've seen some of the movies on the AFI list. How does this compare to something like the Godfather? When you watch that, you have a pretty good idea of what the characters are thinking, why they do what they do and how they will react to events in the story. Again, Inception has nothing like this. The characters are more like icons, not even important.
You make a big point about the lack of well, everything, contributing to the "plot." Look, the plot is flimsy and nearly non-existent. Everything dragged out over 150 minutes could be explained in under two. There just isn't that much that goes on and it's pretty far from intellectual. It doesn't explore any great themes, gives no insight into life, and there isn't a single character possible to relate to.
What do you get from it? It was visually interesting and some of the effects were fun to watch. But did you learn anything? Get any insight? Or is it just about the same rush you get from playing a video game?
It's just another cliched, samey-same action/heist flick with a "dream" twist thrown in. It's a facade, impressive up front and entirely empty and meaningless within. Unless that's the point of the movie, which it could possibly be. Too bad the dialog had to be wrenchingly bad and a good hour was wasted on pointless shootemup.
Maybe that's the case, but this was just 150 minutes of loud pointlessness. There's nothing to take away here.
Edited by Uncle Erik - 7/29/10 at 12:35pm