Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inception was a disappointment

Which is an intentionally misdirecting statement. It was a pretty great movie that I quite liked, I just wanted to love it, and I didn’t. I love relatively few movies, so I won’t hold it against Mr. Nolan that this one missed that high mark.

I like high concept movies, and this certainly was one. I was expecting it to be even more confusing, and was kind of disappointed that it wasn’t. It certainly required you to pay attention, but there were few quick plot twists or paradigm shifts. And really I just like those things so I can hear other people get confused, so I was only robbed of being a jerk, not of a genuine cinematic experience. But in case you were worried that this movie is too nebulous, it’s much more along the lines of The Matrix than of Primer.

It reminded me of Avatar. Avatar had a blah story, with blah acting, and amazing visuals. It put all its eggs in one basket, and that basket was the best basket (or best eggs, I’m not sure how this idiom is being twisted) ever. But the other areas were lacking, so I could only like it and not love it. Inception has an amazing concept, with blah characters and blah pacing.

The characters were hardly characters. They were chess pieces. I don’t think any of the actors are to blame, as they all performed admirably. Nolan just didn’t need people, he needed cogs. The only fun character was the Forger, though JGL did have his moments. Ellen Page successfully seemed like an adult, so that took some acting chops. But again, it’s not the actors fault. The movie had freaking Michael Caine and he still came across flat.

The other main problem, for lack of better word, was lack of chutzpah. There was no fist pumps in the film, mostly because of the flat characters. But still, an action/heist/sci-fi film without a single F Yeah moment? Again, the eggs were all in the great ideas basket, with no time/space/eggs left for other areas.

So, after 4 negative paragraphs, the conclusion is you should see the movie. It’s novel, interesting, visually impressive, and people are going to be talking about the ending, so you might as well see it before they ruin it for you. It was good, very good even, just not great.

The time of the week when I rank things: the films of Christopher Nolan:

5. Batman Begins – You know it’s a pretty impressive list when Batman Begins, a genre reviver and blockbuster is the “worst” film on it.
4. The Prestige – It pains me to not give a movie featuring David Bowie the top spot.
3. Inception – Good, not great. But very solidly good.
2 Dark Knight – Admittedly, without Heath’s performance, it wouldn’t be this high. But it did have it.
1. Memento - If you haven’t seen it, get on your Netflix buddy.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Chris, thanks for lowering my expectations. When I saw Inception last night, it far exceeded my expectations. I think I liked it even better than Memento, if only because it is more approachable at PG-13. It is interesting how much our perceptions of the pacing differed, because I really liked it. It was probably one of the aspects I enjoyed most, but you found it "blah."