Tag Archives: cillian murphy

Inception: Overrated much?

Mild spoilers ahead

Say you have a really good concept. Say you also have a huge budget so you could build amazing CGI sets, massive action scenes and cast huge stars. You have all the good ingredients. But you fail to make the best out of it. All you get is an average action packed film that takes itself way too seriously. That’s Nolan’s “Inception”.

One of the main problems is the writing. Nolan had a great concept, but he failed to make a good story out of it. So the end result is this CGI & action heavy mess, a pretty shell with no real substance. It tries really hard to be deep and meaningful, but it’s quite banal.

… And predictable

I don’t know if Nolan himself is uneducated, or if he believes his audience is uneducated, but “Inception” was full of so-called Dan Brown or Paulo Coehlo moments. You know what I mean: something should be puzzling and with a deeper meaning, but it’s actually quite simple and obvious to anybody who is at least a bit educated.

Namely, what spoiled the movie for me was Ariadne. I have no idea why Nolan named the character this way, but it was a huge spoiler for any person who is familiar with the Greek myth (and I am sure there are many of us who are). Ariadne is introduced in the movie as the architect – but we know that Ariadne from the myth didn’t build the maze, Daedalus did. Ariadne was there to help the hero escape the maze and the Minotaur.

So basically, the whole Cobb subplot was quite predictable right from the start. The only question left in the first 20 minutes was: who’s Minotaur? But this became obvious pretty fast (my French sucks a big time, but I do understand bits – another Nolan’s mistake in naming a character).

So, I was more interested in Bobby Fisher’s story, but, alas, it was quite uninspiring and banal. I mean, when you think about it, the whole plot of the film is them messing with an innocent person’s mind (and his life) just for the lulz. Nobody ever explained why is, oh, so important and epic to destroy the Fisher company. So it was quite difficult to care about whether the Inception would work or even why is that so important in the first place. Fail.

At the (ambiguous) end, I didn’t bother to care whether it was all a dream or not.

Clumsy storytelling

I blame it all on the messy script. There were just too many things that didn’t work, script wise.

For example, exposition was forced down our throat, over and over again. Some things were obvious the first time we saw them – there was really no need to explain them again and again. It’s obvious right from the start that Cobb’s wife was dead. Or that Fisher wanted his father to care about him. We got it. Now please move on.

The time wasted on this could have been used to explore all those things that were shown, but never got any proper use in the film. Street/space bending, for example, was really interesting, but was never really shown later in the film. Same goes for totems and their importance.

Not to mention the main premise: Robert Fisher’s inception itself. Why was it so important? Why should we care about the mission? We don’t. There was really nothing important at stake: the world was not in danger, no lives were in danger, no epic story was going on, nothing. It was really difficult to invest emotionally or to care about the mission.

The whole movie failed to raise any important questions or issues. Which is fine for an action flick, but this one had an ambition to be much deeper. It wasn’t.

The good things

The corridor fight scene was pretty cool. And this comes from a person who generally hates action scenes. The main concept is pretty interesting (which is the saddest thing about this movie – the concept itself had a huge potential). Also, Tom Hardy was cute.

All in all

Am I saying this was a horrible flick? Not at all. It was watchable. But it’s main problem is the fact it takes itself WAY too seriously, while it’s pretty mediocre. With such a great concept, there were virtually hundreds of possible stories and plots, but they decided to focus on pretty banal ones.

Nolan is far from being a bad director, but he is not really a good writer. He has an imagination, but is not a particularly skillful storyteller.

Also, he tends to get lost in huge budgets, which is never a good thing. If you have all the money for huge explosions, star cast, massive action scenes, limitless CGI, you tend to forget about the basics: the story itself. I think “Inception” would be twice as good with its budget cut in half. It’s once again proven that, indeed, less is more.

Less is more, Nolan. Less is more.

PS- Just like any other massively popular icon, “Inception” has already generated its set of Internet memes. The most popular are the ones of Cobb and Robert Fisher Jr talking at the bar. Some of them are just plain stupid, others are horribly racist and/or sexist/homophobic. But there are some great ones that actually make the best thing about this film.

(Click to see the full sized image)

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My site is getting more visitors

My website is getting more and more visitors! It’s still relatively unknown, but it’s not like nobody ever heard of it. It currently has a Google page rank of 3, and, for the first time, people are searching of it: one of the top searches this week was “jefflion.net”. It means some people remember it and want to find it, as the opposite of arriving here after a random search on lions, Jeff Ament or Stephenie Meyer.

Also, I’d like to use this opportunity welcome (again) all of my new readers (both lurkers and commenters)! :)

Most popular pages these days

(See Sidebar).

Women and casual sex still rules… I don’t think anything here could get more popular than that. People are also interested in my post on Danny Boyle’s movie “Sunshine” and/or Cillian Murphy (one of the most popular searches this week was “sexy Cillian Murphy” <- no kidding). Spittings also seem to be really popular, particularly “Twilight” spittings. (I wasn’t aware this crap is still popular). Certain articles, such as “Bad personal content”, or “Bad visitor content” also seem to be popular, as well as my pretty uninteresting Goodies section (not that “Adopt-a-butt” game isn’t cool on itself).

One of the most surprising thing, though, was popularity of my introspective post “Things I don’t write about”. I guess it shows, contrary what I believed, that visitors are interested in reading more about the blog owner, even if it’s personal. Will have to think about this.

“Sunshine”: (Almost) incredible

I fell in love with astronomy when I was 13. It was a great passion of mine. It’s still painful for me to talk about the fact I didn’t became an astrophysicist. In any case, one’s obsession with space and astronomy makes an excellent SF fan. And when I say SF, I don’t mean on “soft” stuff such as “Star Wars”. I was more into books and movies that deal with science/realistic space, as well as philosophy (for example, “2001: A Space Odyssey” or “Contact”).

Danny Boyle’s “Sunshine” is none of that. And yet, it is. Not sure how to explain this. The science behind it is sketchy (though much better than appears at the first glance). The plot has a great premise but a highly questionable third act (in which a psychological drama becomes a slasher flick). A great deal of important info, be it about science, plot or philosophy is missing from the movie and can be found only in director’s commentary. These things make “Sunshine” average at best.

And yet, there’s something about this movie that is truly epic. The designs are perfect in every sense (be it technically accurate or not). But design is not what makes a movie great. Acting was solid and surprisingly realistic. The premise and the themes were quite promising (isolation, religion and science, questions about future of human kind and human nature). These things can be felt in every second of it, even at action packed sequences that have nothing to do with higher issues.

There’s something incredibly captivating about “Sunshine”. About 20 seconds into the movie, we see the space ship with this amazing sun shield and hear character Robert Capa, the physicist, say “Our purpose is to create a star within a star. Eight astronauts strapped to the back of a bomb. My bomb. Welcome to the Icarus Two.” And you’re instantly hooked.

Then fantastic first and second act follow. After that – a complete mess, almost to the point of a genre shift (and not in a good way). This is what most of the people found disappointing. This is what prevents “Sunshine” from being truly epic.

The problem is not the fact they opted for action packed finale that flirts with slasher genre. The problem is that it’s clearly not the point of the film, but they still didn’t show/explored the more important stuff. These things are there, always, but get heavily pushed to the background.

Also, what I find problematic is the fact important information about the science as well as characters is missing. The important issue of religion vs science (which somehow IS the point of the movie) is rather sketched.

Make no mistakes here: this is still a movie about human mind, about ways in which faith and science overlap and contradict each other, about forces of nature that we all depend on. No slasher/action packed third act can’t change that. But it certainly switches the focus in a bad way and doesn’t leave much room for the more important issues.

That’s being said, “Sunshine” is still a good film. I am just sorry it’s not GREAT – and it’s not like it didn’t have an opportunity for it. It could have been one of the best SF movies in history. And one of my favourite movies. I honestly don’t know what went wrong. Still, there’s something incredible, something captivating about it, and it almost makes up for the all bad things.

A note on Cillian Murphy

This guy is a fantastic actor. This might not be his best role, but I must say he was great as Robert Capa: as realistic as you can be. But “Sunshine” aside, he demonstrated his talent and versatility on many occasions, so I do believe he deserves more serious roles.

I am glad he decided against being type-cast as a creep (not that he can’t make a good one… Did you see his eyes?) but there’s more talent in him. There’s something captivating about him too, and not just his strange physical appearance (let’s face it, dude looks like a lady… but without appearing effeminate or gay. And on top of these confusing characteristics, he has a beautiful, deep, masculine voice). The guy can act. I just hope Hollywood doesn’t swallow him up.

Cute boys with PhD

On a sidenote: one thing I found amusing about “Sunshine” is the fact many people complained about actors, especially Cillian Murphy, being “too sexy to be scientists”. Are these people aware how offensive this is? Not to mention inaccurate: no matter what movies taught you, physicists and other scientists are not universally nerdy/unattractive. In fact, Capa looks, dresses and acts a lot like young physicists I know. These guys are into rock music, dress in t-shirts and jeans, and while they might be a bit on a geeky side, it’s usually in a nice way.

Links

Sunshine character backstories