Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving -- and this year's turkey is... INCEPTION on Blu-Ray

Last year's Christmas turkey, movie-wise, was the arrival of Four Christmases on DVD.  This year, for an even more timely turkey, the award goes to INCEPTION, which TrustMovies finally got around to viewing a couple of weeks prior to its December 7 debut on Blu-Ray and DVD. Millions may disagree, as the movie has already raked in close to a billion dollars at the worldwide box-office, but TM stands behind his opinion of Inception as one sorry excuse for storytelling.  All about special effects, the film uses near-constant CGI stuff designed to dazzle us to death. Individually, some of its effects are fun (for awhile), but collectively they don't hold a candle to the single big Tsunami scene in Eastwood's Hereafter.

Writer/director Christopher Nolan, left, still has trouble staging intelligent action scenes. They waddle and wobble. It doesn't matter as much here, though, because most of the movie is a dream, or a dream within a dream (within a dream). Consequently, we immediately imagine that nothing much is at stake, since the protagonists can always wake up and make things OK.  But no: Nolan gives us reams of exposition in order to explain his "rules of engagement."  For awhile, this is so silly that it's rather endearing. And then, because we simply can't begin to care, even a poop, about any of these characters (none of them have a character), our interest wanes, our patience wears thin, thinner, then -- pop! -- annoyance sets in. This grows into something like anger, as the film runs an unconscionably long two-and-one-half hours.

If you are going to make a movie that dwells mostly in dreams, I would suggest that you make some attempt to capture the sense of the dream state. There are many approaches to this but Nolan doesn't try any of them. Instead, everything looks slick and glossy and "special effecty" rather than off-kilter yet real (or maybe on-kilter but somehow unreal) in the way that dreams manage it. There's little that seems genuinely hallucinatory here; it's all ooooh-look-at-that!

After Shutter Island and now this one, Leonardo DiCaprio (above, center) might consider a moratorium on playing grief roles without a character to attach them to. He's still pretty enough, but god, he's growing glum and boring. Michael Caine has a throwaway role (and Pete Postlethwaite even more of one); Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy (above, left) and Marion Cotillard, play pretty much single notes in parts that allow nothing more. Only Ellen Page (below), Tom Hardy (this, remember, is the guy who did the title role in Bronson!) and Dileep Rao bring some sense of fun and energy to the proceedings. They prove very nearly the only saving graces on view.

As to the Blu-Ray transfer, it's nothing special and consequently rather disappointing.  The scene with Page and DiCaprio in Paris with mirrored doors is nice, and certain other shots are semi-spectacular. But Nolan's attempts at suspense -- cutting back, again and again and again, to a car going over a bridge in slo-mo -- are exasperatingly laughable. Despite the movie's very high "concept," by the finale (massive gun-play and explosions), the far too-heavy hand of been-there/done-that hangs all over Inception. What a waste of time.

No comments: