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The Cake Is A Lie

Posted by | Posted in Geek Stuff, Random, Technology | Posted on 26-07-2010

…or is it?

It’s been ages since I wrote any kind of blog post, so I figured, while at lunch here at work, that I should probably make an effort.

I went and saw Inception last week (at least I think it was last week – that film sure does play mind tricks) and, like most people, I really liked it. As with the last Christopher Nolan film (The Dark Knight) Inception has been hyped up massively, which means it probably won’t live up to the hype. And sure enough, while I really enjoyed it, it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. I also found that the trailer showed off most of the visual effects scenes, leaving very little new material for the film to show me. Now, while the film wasn’t about the special effects or big explosions, I thought that a film about entering someone’s dreams and warping reality would have a massive scope for quality, mind-bending┬áspecial effects, and yet the film uses SFX in a very subtle way.

But as I say, the film wasn’t supposed to be a high-octane, special effects-laden action thriller, it was supposed to be a far more cerebral film, with an added touch of action and special effects. And cerebral it certainly was. I’m not sure I’ve sat and thought about a film in this way since The Matrix came out in 1999 (except, perhaps, when the Lost finale aired). I’ll certainly be going to see the film again, and it’s definitely one for the bluray collection.

I think the story was excellent, and the acting and directing was superb, although story-wise there are a couple of things that I would have liked to have seen. Usually, in a film that introduces a slightly weird, science fiction-like concept, we’re introduced to how that concept should work when everything goes to plan. It’s a way of introducing a strange idea, and showing the audience how that idea should pan out. It sets the scene for later on in the film, when everything will go tits up. The thing with Inception is, it didn’t do that. Instead, we’re introduced to a scene where everything is going wrong from the outset, and during a brief conversation we’re enlightened to the “rules” of this slightly weird new concept. No sooner do we have to try and get our head around the concept, we’re carried onto the next scene.

This in itself is no bad thing. Some people might argue that it works because it means that very little screen time is devoted to “setting the scene” and that the story could move on much more quickly. This is true, and I can understand why people might like that idea, but personally, I would have liked to have seen a bit more of an explanation about how everything works, before it all goes wrong. Not only would this solidify people’s understanding of the concept of the film, but it would mean that the producers would have had an excuse for a nice bout of special effects.

The only other gripe I had with the film was the character that Ellen Page played. She was recruited by DiCaprio’s character, and seemed completely unfazed as he explained to her that his job involved stealing people’s secrets through their own dreams. She jumped at the chance to join his team, despite the fact that she didn’t know him, nor did she know anything about him, or the situations that she might be put in. The other characters had a little more experience, and so it was clear that they knew what they were getting themselves into, but if I were in her shoes, I’d have asked a few more questions before putting my life on the line.

Aside from that, the film was excellent. The story has so many levels to it that I can’t go into them all right now, but I’d suggest reading about people’s views on the film – it’s bound to open your eyes to things that you may have missed the first time round. Which is why I want to see it a second time.

There’s also an interesting wave about it on Google Wave, although my own opinion is that some of the folks that are contributing to it are thinking about it way too much!

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