The Inception Backlash, Continued

If you think I was hard on the film, you should check out what some professional critics have said.

The worst of them is probably the borderline-insane Rex Reed:

Writer-director Nolan is an elegant Hollywood hack from London whose movies are a colossal waste of time, money and I.Q. points. “Elegant” because his work always has a crisp use of color, shading and shadows, and “hack” because he always takes an expensive germ of an idea, reduces it to a series of cheap gimmicks and shreds it through a Cuisinart until it looks and sounds like every other incoherent empty B-movie made by people who haven’t got a clue about plot, character development or narrative trajectory.

I’m not certain I like at all being even remotely in this guy’s company, because even apart from the fact that Reed is absurdly vitriolic, I don’t particularly agree with any of that. My major complaint is that I wanted to love Inception and wound up merely liking it. I fall more in line with Christopher Orr of The Atlantic:

For all its elegant construction, Inception is a film in which nothing feels comparably at stake. (In this it resembles Nolan’s The Prestige, another admirably heady tale of perception and reality that never quite found a hearty emotional grip.) The dangers that loom with the failure of Cobb’s mission range from the inconsequential (Saito’s firm goes out of business!) to the inauthentic (Cobb won’t be able to return to pretty, talismanic children he was forced to abandon: parenthood as MacGuffin). The sorrow of Cobb and Mal’s doomed marriage, too, for all of Cotillard’s hypnotic allure, feels nonetheless remote, a motivation in search of real meaning.

He praised the film more than I would (earlier in his review, obviously), but he’s dead on with this bit.

5 Replies to “The Inception Backlash, Continued”

  1. Another reason to like Inception (or, at least, Chris Nolan): It was in 2D. I wonder how much pressure he got to release a version in 3D. I mean, some of the scenes, admittedly, would’ve looked outstanding in 3D and might’ve added another layer of complexity to the dream worlds. But all the same, I’m glad it was released in 2D, because 3D sucks.

    1. I’ve only seen two films in 3-D: Avatar and Toy Story 3. Avatar, I thought, looked pretty cool. It was very subtle, but they did enough that it made the imagined world feel that much more alive and real. Toy Story 3 was even more subtle. So much so that I’m not sure they did enough with it. It certainly didn’t distract at all, so maybe that was the point: merely to give everything more depth without being all showy about it.

      Generally speaking, I like 3-D, but I think it’s sort of like how as soon as computer animation was invented, animation companies stopped doing traditional hand-drawn animation, and frankly, the world is poorer for it. Or how when the Playstation and N64 came out, 2-D platformers totally disappeared.

  2. So did you create this blog just to bash Inception? And now that it’s done, you have nothing else to blog about? Come on! Blog about Blue Devil or something.

  3. heh. I haven’t seen anything else that has moved me to post yet. I did watch A Single Man last night, but I haven’t got much to say about that, apart from the fact that it’s pretty gay.

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