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Inception
Post By Li-Bai. 24/07/10, 02:21 pm

Anyone else seen this yet? I just saw it tonight, so I'm going to write out a lengthy review for y'all which very few of you will probably actually read, but whatever. <3

Basic plot, from Wikipedia:
Quote :
The film, a variant on the heist genre, centers on Dom Cobb, an "extractor", who enters the dreams of others to obtain information that is otherwise inaccessible. His abilities have cost him his family and his nationality, but a chance at redemption and regaining his old life is promised when Cobb and his team of specialists are hired to plant an idea in a target's subconscious. This process of planting of an idea, known as "inception", is less familiar and far more difficult than Cobb's usual job of "extraction".

STORY: As far as films go, the story for 'Inception' had an incredible amount of potential surrounding it - the idea of a dream within a dream (within a dream, within a dream...). This idea has actually been around for ages but this is the first movie to seriously explore it and on so many levels, if you exclude 'The Matrix' which had a more futuristic science-fiction feel to it.

The idea comes from the Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zi (莊子 369BC - 286BC) who wrote this:
Quote :
Once Zhuangzi dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn't know he was Zhuangzi. Suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuangzi. But he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuangzi. Between Zhuangzi and a butterfly there must be some distinction! This is called the Transformation of Things. (2, tr. Burton Watson 1968:49)

'Inception' kind of plays with the idea of hyperrealism (which is the "hypothetical inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from fantasy"). But it's also really linear in the storyline and it's actually pretty easy to keep up with, by which I mean you can tell which level of the dream they're in. Unlike 'The Prestige', in which it was very easy to get lost in if you didn't keep up, each level of the dream was really distinguishable from the other.
Spoiler:
 

Surprisingly from the trailers, which you felt like it was going to be very confusing, it wasn't at all! At the start perhaps it is a little, but it's very easy to catch onto. After Ariadne's induction into the team, it's all straightforward from there. Overall it was a good story and a good movie, but not quite good enough. The ideas were all there, but I feel like it could have been a lot better and more mindscrewy!!

A review for The New York Times says, "But though there is a lot to see in Inception, there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolanís idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness." - I have to say I agree!

Although one semi-mindscrewy part of the movie this is:
Spoiler:
 

With only the main mission in the movie the story would have been quite bland, but the integration of the character Mal was nicely done and was put together quite well, although it overpowered the main mission a little. There were a few unfulfilled Chekov's Guns in the film (most notably the Totems of the other team members, which I'd have liked to see and hear more about) but take what you get, I guess.

Also, NO TYPICAL HOLLYWOOD ROMANCES BETWEEN MAIN CHARACTERS YEAH.

Story: 7/10

FLOW: ...Hmm. This was a little iffy for me. The first scene was set up fine, but the abrupt transition into the next one was so jarring that it was actually difficult to figure out what just happeend. It's easy to figure out after a little while, but still. The movie starts of kind of... slow in my opinion. There's action, but it's not wholly engaging. The stage is set for the film, (important) dialogue happens and you can keep up, but it's still sort of... not quite connectable. It seems like the kind of film you'll watch and maybe enjoy, but you won't really watch it again. Don't be disheartened though, because it gets better after Ellen Page (as Ariadne - named after the mythological character who helped Theseus through the Minotaur's labyrinth) shows up. The first level of the dream swaps in action a little too quickly and heavily in my opinion, but after the second level of the dream it gets much better. The climax of the film was very good and I liked it a lot.

Flow: 7/10

SCRIPT AND CHARACTER: Scripting was interesting. It's probably the reason for the choppy flow at the beginning, but it's also kind of interesting to see what it did with the characters as well. Most of the dialogue was serious and kind of plain and humour was few and far between, but nonetheless still enjoyable. Arthur seemed to be the Butt Monkey of the jokes in the section with the kicks, but that was just cute.

Characters were easy to distinguish from one another, but not all very well developed, particularly the Chemist, Yusuf. Some of the characters I didn't actually know their names until the end! The way the characters talked were actually all very similar to each other - a generic sort of speech style without a whole lot of personality to each character (as opposed to real life, in which each person's speech style can vary, or like in any other film - eg. Pirates of the Caribbean. Captain Jack has his slovenly and crude way of speaking, Elizabeth is proud and ladylike and Will is polite and upstanding etc.). The one exception I can think of is the Forger, Eames. Character development was a bit unbalanced. Even though it was Fischer's dream, Cobb and Mal had the most character development in it than Fischer himself really - or anyone else in the film. In fact, Fischer's story almost takes a backseat in the way that we're almost not wholly drawn into his story. Maybe that's the point, but still....

The character interrelationship between Ariadne and Cobb was nice, although it slid into 'familiar' pretty quickly. I liked Arthur's and Ariadne's relationship and Arthur's and Eames' the most though, for some reason ("Quick, give me a kiss." "...They're still looking at us." "Oh well, it was worth a try."). Speaking of which, Arthur was my favourite character! I don't know why exactly, he just was. Also, he looked pretty dashing in his hotel outfit with the waistcoat and dress trousers. Yeeeahhh. He owned the second level of that dream, especially the kick! (Mr. Good-lookin'. :B)

Script and Character: 8/10

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Not mindblowingly outstanding, but well-done all the same, especially regarding the second level and Ariadne's kick in the fourth level. Use of computer-generated effects were sparing and not overdone! Hooray! Quite the use of long takes, canted angles and the repeated use of high-angles for each kick and freefall in the dream. Colour and lighting were very nicely done with a realistic kind of feel to it, depending on each setting - not too bright and not too bleak, just right. I'd have to watch the film again to go into more depth ;;;

Cinematography: 8/10

SOUND: It may have been the theatre we were in, but I felt like the sound levels in this movie were a bit too high and they overpowered the dialogue at some points. Nonetheless it was done well and the use of sound motifs were very good, such as the spinning top and the glass motif, the latter of which is heard three times if I remember right.
Soundtrack was by Hans Zimmer and he did a wonderful job of it - the music fits their respective scenes well and the main theme is very powerful and I enjoyed it immensely. It's the piece of music that stands out the most in the film... unsurprisingly.

Sound: 9/10

ACTING: Nicely done, people, nicely done indeed. The characters, as faintly underdeveloped as they are, are still brought to believable life by the actors. The cast was well chosen and brought their own touches of individuality to the characters that the scripting seemed to lack. Performances were all very good, although there was a slight lack of character-audience relativity. Nevertheless, enjoyable and all very good. Again, Arthur was my favourite, although Eames was a very enjoyable character also.

Acting: 9/10

TL;DR - Ariadne's induction dream was amazing and awesome. Also, Arthur and the Second Level of the dream. I love hotels.

Overall rating: 8/10. Recommended for those who like action and the mindscrewing idea of dreams and hyperreality (who doesn't though, really?). :Db
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Re: Inception
Post By Le_Saboteur. 25/07/10, 02:38 am

That is a great review, Li-Bai! I agree with pretty much everything you said. It was a damn good movie, I loved it. I can't think of a better 'adult' movie I've seen this year.

Also I now have a giant crush on Tom Hardy (Eames). My life was so empty before him.

And wow, Joseph Gordon Levitt (Arthur) has come such a long way since Third Rock from the Sun! He's... GOOD.
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Re: Inception
Post By Selphiroth. 25/07/10, 02:52 am

AH I thought you were going to review DO. I was surprised because I didn't think you are a travelbug.

I can't read this review. Haven't seen the movie yet. Ellen Page is always awesome though.
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Re: Inception
Post By Li-Bai. 25/07/10, 04:48 am

@Le Saboteur Gosh, I used to watch 3rd Rock. That was him? I see! 8D I was surprised to realise he was in 'Ten Things I Hate About You'. He sure grew up fine, haha.

@Selphiroth No travelbug is I. I did tweet 'film review', hahaha xD

Meanwhile, I found the production notes for the movie. These things are very interesting!
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Re: Inception
Post By Guest. 25/07/10, 08:20 am

I want to see this movie so badly, it looks amazing. =D And 8/10 score doesn't sound too bad. If it was below 6, then I would be a little worried XD';

@ li-bai You should keep doing movie reviews.

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Re: Inception
Post By Li-Bai. 30/07/10, 06:08 am

Oops, I realise now I forgot about costume and set. I'm too tired at the moment to write it up, but I give that a 9/10, so that bumps the total overall rating up to... 8.25/10 (shall we round that up to 8.5/10?)
Personally though, it's still a personal I-feel-like-it-could-have-been-better 8/10 for me.

@Bartzluver I've only ever seen two movies I really hated in my lifetime, so everything I watch I'll generally give a 7+ rating (then again I'm pretty generous with this, since I enjoy most of the movies I see. I think I gave 'Sharkboy and Lavagirl' an 8/10 or something).

Hahaha. I'm considering it. It's kind of fun and good practice. :Db
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Re: Inception
Post By Thornback. 30/07/10, 02:50 pm

God. Compare the Leo of yesteryear to the Leo of Inception. Who'd have thought he'd become such a good actor?

Becoming Scorcese's muse was clearly the best career move ever.

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Re: Inception
Post By Madam Madhatter. 30/07/10, 03:03 pm

Really well done review!

Reading your thing on sound have you seen this:
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/hans-zimmer-extracts-the-secrets-of-the-inception-score/

The secret behind the 'foghorn'
SUPER WELL DONE on music Hans Zimmer!!!

Oh... and cause I can't resist.
SPOOFS!

Dora the Explorer Inception:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrYPJ4Yc31g

Catception:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEB7Usjn0Aw
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Re: Inception
Post By Mask4Face. 30/07/10, 05:16 pm

I loved inception one of the best films I've seen in a long time. Although the people I were with didn't get it at first I found it an easy concept but so brillaintly written, played, and directed. Great idea, great film I'd say 9/10. The only down side is after the film and people ask you what it's about. It's to hard to explain
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Re: Inception
Post By Guest. 31/07/10, 04:15 am

I think that a lot of people had really the wrong idea when they went in to see this film. It's been marketed as the next Matrix, but apart from the aesthetics, they're actually very very different films. If you go into a movie expecting to have your mind thoroughly physic-ed and you get a fairly by-the-book heist film with a side of psychology instead, then I can imagine why you'd be upset.

I've also read a few complaints that they never explained how the shared dreaming thing works. SO NOT THE POINT PEOPLE!

I disagree with your assessment that
Spoiler:
 
But that's an interpretation thing, not a someone-is-right-and-someone-is-wrong thing.

I adored the special effects. Used sparingly to great effect. MICHAEL BAY, PAY ATTENTION! Apparently hotel hallway fight was a physical effect - they were fighting on a revolving set. I <3 physical effects.

I've seen a movie at the theatres nearly every week for the past month and there are still movies on my "to see" list. I am very spoilt for choice this winter!

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Re: Inception
Post By Li-Bai. 31/07/10, 04:42 am

@MM Hahaha on my god that's amazing. I started realising the connection when I heard the 'Non, je ne regrette rien' intro. Genius! 8Db Also, trivia - with the casting of Marion Cotillard in the film, Christopher Nolan considered scrapping the inclusion of the song, since Marion Cotillard played Edith Piaf in 'La Vie en Rose'. Hans Zimmer managed to convince him otherwise though.

I think it would have been neat if they had explained why that song in particular though (same with the totems - why Cobb's was a spinning top was explained, but not Arthur's loaded die, which I'd have liked to see, nor Ariadne's chess piece). Like, the significance of the piece to them etc.


@u_ne_korn I went in there with the mindset of 'dreams', so maybe I was expecting more mindscrew (because that's what dream philosophy is to me hurr), buuuut y'know, that's just me.

Temporary suspense of disbelief! 8Db

So you mean to say you think in that case
Spoiler:
 

Agreed on the interpretation thing.

Yeah, the production notes said that it was a 100ft. long corridor on a revolving track. It was meant to be 40ft. but ended up a lot longer (clearly). The hotel room was also on a revolving track and the abundance of flash hotels that use carpet on the walls as well meant that they could put some up to keep the actors from hurting themselves too much.
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Re: Inception
Post By Phlaming Phoenix-. 31/07/10, 05:01 am

I loved inception, easily in the top.. 5 or 10 movies I have ever seen. I would watch it again for sure.
Arthur is the best! Awesome fight scene in the hallway when the Van is rolling, that was epic.
I would give it a personal 9/10, but hey Razz
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Re: Inception
Post By Emo!Axel. 31/07/10, 06:19 pm

For those who have seen it, go here to help figure out the levels! http://www.cinemablend.com/new/An-Illustrated-Guide-To-The-5-Levels-Of-Inception-19643.html
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Re: Inception
Post By mystix-candy. 01/08/10, 01:16 am

SUCH a mindf*ing movie.
Confused me a bit at the start but understodd it by the end >W<

Spoiler:
 
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Re: Inception
Post By Guest. 01/08/10, 01:20 am

I hear this movie is pretty screwy/trippy. everyone I know has already seen it so I have noone to go with ;___;

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Re: Inception
Post By Emo!Axel. 01/08/10, 07:22 am

Don't worry Kiki, it's they type of movie that you've just gotta see twice, so I'm sure plenty of people will jump and the chance to see it again. xD
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Re: Inception
Post By Guest. 01/08/10, 07:53 am

^I hope so ;__;

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Re: Inception
Post By CamusCanDo. 01/08/10, 10:44 am

Thornback wrote:
God. Compare the Leo of yesteryear to the Leo of Inception. Who'd have thought he'd become such a good actor?

Becoming Scorcese's muse was clearly the best career move ever.

He's always been a fine actor. Look at What's Eating Gilbert Grape, The Basket Ball Diaries, Romeo + Juliet and Titanic, and that's just the early to mid 90s. He was great before Sorcesse, it's just now the tone of the scripts have changed somewhat.
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Re: Inception
Post By kyokyogirl. 07/08/10, 11:48 am

Just saw Inception today, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to agree with most of Li Bai's discussion/review. Very well thought out there Li Bai.
A very awesome movie. Well worth my $12.

And Joseph Gorden Levitt is looking fine.
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Re: Inception
Post By Selphiroth. 08/08/10, 03:06 pm

I've finally watched it. Gotta say, it's a far more clear and far better explained film that I expected it to be. I was expecting something more like Primer, but no, I can entirely follow Inception.

So in a way I'm disappointed, as U_ne said I was expecting a wrong kind of movie altogether. I agree so much with your review though, Li_bai. My biggest complaint is that I was so over Mal by the one third into the film. There are so many more interesting characters, I was just thoroughly sick of who they were concentrating on.

Oh, Ellen Page is delightful as always. <3

EDIT: Something else that came to me. Anyone else remotely not!surprised that Nolan did both the writing and the producing of the film? Because through out the whole thing, my biggest thought was how on earth did the screenwriter made the producer and director know how to present the material clearly. Well.
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Re: Inception
Post By Riven_. 09/08/10, 08:34 am

I saw it Friday and I looooved this movie!

The dialogue and music were spot on for me (Hans Zimmer, you musical genius, you) and I thought the acting was great all the way through. This movie had me holding my breath in so many places, just at how things panned out or the clever uses of CG etc.

HIGHLY RECOMENDED.
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Re: Inception
Post By zephyrine. 09/08/10, 11:06 am

Le_Saboteur wrote:


Also I now have a giant crush on Tom Hardy (Eames).

OMGSAME.

PS: Reeeeeeeeally enjoyed the movie, just thought a couple of the characters lacked some depth.
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Re: Inception
Post By Tamoo. 14/08/10, 06:30 pm

Mind. Blown.

ARTHUR. I LOVE HIM. 8D
Who'd thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be so hot with his hair slicked back and SUITS.

Oh god. THE SUITS, GAIZ.

I was clutching my seat the whole time in suspense. SO MUCH SUSPENSE. |: I wanted to throw my boots at the screen to make the suspense stop hahahahaha~


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Re: Inception
Post By kelseyketchum. 14/08/10, 07:28 pm

^Brilliant!

/jumps on the Joseph Gordon-Levitt bandwagon
Arthurrrr <3

Saw this today, it's awesome Very Happy I went in with pretty much 0 knowledge on the plot/what to expect, all I knew was it was about dreams.
I wouldn't say it was overly complicated, not even close imo. Looooved the hotel fight scenes, and I'm usually not a fan of huge fight scenes!

9/10 for me!
Not higher than a 9.8..because there's always room for improvement. That's why I'm holding out for a 10, because I'm worth it!

/can't make good engrish at 2am
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Re: Inception
Post By sakura-uchiha. 15/08/10, 06:56 am

AWEsome movie. A bit of thinking and understanding was needed, but was a EPIC movie ^^
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