A Rave for Inception

10:18 am PHT

I declared in Plurk, “sorry, The Matrix, I love you and all but you have absolutely nothing over Inception. *Absolutely nothing!*” Yes, I do think the movie Inception is that good. It’s been getting pretty good raves from the movie critics (though not to universal acclaim, since some movie critics just want to buck the trend and to just be critical  :-P) and it’s already gotten a rating of 9.6 with more than 2,500 votes over at IMDb so I’m definitely not alone in my regard. I knew I wanted to see this film the first time I saw its trailer and the good reviews and raves from other people I know that have already seen the movie had me itching to watch Inception as soon as possible and I did so last night. I often watch movies a week or two after they have been locally released to avoid the crowds, but for this Christopher Nolan masterpiece, I made an exception.

The comparison to The Matrix is very apt. Both explore themes of alternate realities that only occur in the human mind. The Matrix does so with simulated stimulus to the brain while Inception uses the subconscious human mind through lucid dreams. In addition, both are highly original stories developed by their directors and I’m guessing that like The Matrix, Inception will also become a landmark film. Though Inception will not popularize any new cinematic effect like The Matrix’s bullet-time that has been copied to death in subsequent films, I’m pretty sure that future movies will take inspiration upon the layers of complexities that Inception has gloriously weaved.

Inception tells the story of Dom Cobb, an “extractor” who, with a team of people, enters people’s dreams to steal their ideas and secrets. While extraction is a pretty normal form of corporate espionage in the alternate universe of this film, what the film explores is the idea of “inception”—planting an idea into the mind of a target, making him think that the idea was conceived by him alone. The characters in the film attempt to do this inception using the mind-blowing concept of a dream within a dream to plant the idea deep into the subject’s unconscious mind. (I agree with the movie’s premise of a viral idea and I know that if I don’t want somebody to think of something, don’t give them an inkling of it in the first place!  :-))

Despite the complexities of portraying dreams within dreams, Christopher Nolan managed to do so in a really masterful way that doesn’t make the film hard to follow at all, despite blowing your mind a few times. While Inception is definitely of a blockbuster-grade material with plenty of action, extreme car chase scenes, elaborate set pieces, lots of bullet time, and several explosions, what I like about it is it’s all very intellectual. Most summer blockbusters are mindless but Inception is not—it’s mind-blowing—and I would have to say that that is the best kind of blockbuster. In addition, the movie’s last scene leaves you hanging, thinking, and pondering over the whole movie.

While I might understand why the Academy Awards snubbed Nolan’s The Dark Knight for Best Picture and Best Director nominations, I really can’t imagine them turning down this absolute gem of cinematic goodness. If James Cameron’s Avatar was a frontrunner for last year’s Best Picture Award because of its grand and breathtaking visual treat, Inception definitely surpasses it in even more aspects. Christopher Nolan can dream of finally receiving an Oscar Award for Best Direction and I’m guessing that his dream, Inception, is the key to making that a reality.

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