but the free movie was available so we thought we'd go see Inception. i mean, it didn't look great but how bad could it really be? certainly it couldn't be as bad as Hot Tub Time Machine? Or Grown Ups(two of, truly, the worst movies i have ever seen)?
it stars leonardo dicaprio and the guy from 28 days later! ellen page! it's an action movie with an indie star twist! it's directed by christopher nolan(who i suspect owes most of his success to his more literary brother), but i could overlook that. it was supposed to be sci-fi, i like sci-fi. and you can't really go wrong with action, right?
wrong. wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
we found inception so intolerable that we walked out of the movie at the two hour mark, forgetting to take the peanut m&m's with us.
a plot so banal that they needed to use the characters to actually tell the audience what was going on(ex-po-sition), to make it seem more complicated than it was, a scary similarity to the tensions in shutter island(dead wife, guilt, dealing with the trauma in one's subconscious) , no real sci-fi component, a complete lack of character development, boring effects, and two hours of mind numbing NOTHING made inception one of the worst movies i've seen all year.
for real, i didn't even walk out of the re-make of friday the 13th.
so, i don't know, where should i start?
let's start at ellen page. unlike most people, i don't love ellen page. her semi-lesbian-but straight girl thing does nothing for me because i'm not a closeted 15 year old girl(or just a regular 15 year old girl, since being bisexual is now totally cool).
i feel like ellen page's cool, 'kind of feminist' thing is used in films to sneak actual conservative ideas into the movie without people really noticing, and i don't like that. for example: juno. the girl juno is smart and has biting wit! she wears pants under her skirts! she likes MUSIC.
but really, juno the movie just used a cool smart girl to mask what the movie was all about--being pro-life.
did anyone else feel a strange shiver when juno decides to reject abortion because the crazy anti-abortion protester tells her that her baby has fingernails? something not based in fact, at all? something used by anti-abortionists to scare women and girls in real life by forcing them to think of that shit growing in their uterus as a person, a real live grown baby?
OR the movie whip it. whip it really pissed me off. mainly because it used all these tough, cool chicks to sell a movie that sucked. that really, really sucked. the only ellen page movie i really liked was hard candy, for the obvious reasons.
so, ellen page is annoying. also she looks the same in every single movie. i'm pretty sure they used her juno wardrobe in inception. does she have something in her contract stating that she can only wear dark reds and burnt oranges? that she has to wear a triangle scarf in every scene? and that her hair can never change?
so ellen page didn't fit into inception, at all. she doesn't translate into the action genre--which is what inception was. it wasn't sci-fi. it was action/thriller.
for a movie to really be sci-fi it has to do what regular movies don't --satisfy your inner geek. your inner geek is sitting on the edge of it's seat, clapping it's hands at the end of a good sci-fi. your inner geek is stimulated and thinking, and making connections with the rest of the sci-fi world.
during inception my inner geek was pushing its glasses up its nose, frowning at the screen, arms crossed yelling "where is the science!!! where is the philosophy!!!" my inner geek, spoiled once by the matrix, was mad at me for taking it to inception.
so on to the the matrix comparison.
half the people who have seen inception say that they didn't hear it was like the matrix and so they didn't expect anything of the movie. the other half say they heard it was the 'new' matrix, and had some expectations.
i am of the latter group, and so i was a bit dubious about the movie to begin with. i love the matrix. i love the matrix so much that i took a class on it once. a CLASS.
the matrix was a rare film in that it satisfied pretty much everyone's geek. the matrix drew on so much philosophy and science that it kept you thinking throughout the entire movie and beyond. hyperreality, simulacra, simulation, humanism, post humanism, anti-capitalism, revolution. baudrillard, derrida, marx, jameson, gibson . all of the ideas could be traced right back to their real world origin which made the matrix more than just a summer blockbuster. the matrix had solid footing in the culture that it was representing. the same can't be said about inception.
whether or not it's fair to compare any movie to the matrix, in this case the matrix comparison is important in highlighting the thing i disliked most of all about inception: it is a total slave to capitalism, in every way shape and form.
even in most mainstream movies there is a suspicion or a distaste for the corporate. corporations are usually run by the most corrupt and are usually brought down in the most spectacular ways. honestly, i don't even really remember the last time i saw a movie that didn't question how the corporation functioned in its plot.
the group of extractors works for corporations, and while they might explain in one line that this isn't always what extractors did, otherwise there are no moral qualms about being beholden to corporate power.
look at the ellen page character. what is her motivation for giving up her mind to corporate espionage? to ruining someone's life? well a) they don't motivate her in any way nor do they reveal her motivation to the audience in any way, and b) we're not meant to question doing things for the corporation any more.
in the matrix, "our use of the new technologies is not the indoctrination necessary to creating the consumers of late capitalism, whose consumption of commodified information fuels the global economy. rather, our utilization of the technologies is our pathway to freedom."
in inception, there is no liberation or freedom--there isn't even really a struggle for it. there is only self-interest and the feeling that the only way of getting anything done anymore is through the corporation. this is how life is now, even in "sci-fi."
in the new york times review, A.O Scott wrote that while "there is a lot to see in inception, there is nothing that counts as genuine vision. Mr. Nolan's idea of the mind is too literal, too logical, too rule-bound to allow the full measure of madness."
Scott also comments on how the majority of debate about the greatness vs no greatness of inception happened before the movie even screened.
ultimately, this is the problem with inception and movies in general right now.
based on hype people fork out lots of money to sit in a theatre with the expectation that what they're seeing has some kind of value. unfortunately, because people have to justify spending their money and time on a film i think we become more and more likely to try to find things that we liked about it even if there was nothing worth our time or money.
david edelstein wrote that "the movie is a metaphor for the power of delusional hype—a metaphor for itself" and i think he's right. if we really think about it, what is left in the mainstream film industry but hype?
the whole point of seeing movies is to talk about them. who liked what, why they liked it, why they hated it. if you aren't arguing about a movie after you see it then maybe it wasn't worth seeing. so at least inception gave me something to talk about the past few days and i at least didn't have to pay to see it. but at the same time, should big directors like nolan be able to hype their movies up, release utter garbage, and get by on the merits of debate??
all i know is that peanut M&Ms are my favorite movie treat, and when i left inception at the two hour mark there was at least half a bag of those delicious little things left... and that's enough reason for me to shake my fist at the film.