Analysis of Inception

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Warning: This is analysis is full of spoilers. This is meant for people read after they have seen the movie.

If you would like to read my movie review of Inception – no spoilers – then go here.

As soon as the movie is over you’re left wondering:

  • Is Cobb -Leonardo DiCaprio – awake at the end?
  • Or was this all a dream?
  • Whose dream?

It is brilliant writing to not only leave these and other questions open for interpretation, but to also include support for varying, even contradictory, interpretations. In this analysis, I’m favoring the idea that the entire movie takes place inside of different levels of Cobb’s dream. Although there is an intriguing possibility that we’re in Mal’s dream, throughout the movie.

I have watched the movie three times now. I’ll review some of the key points that I have noticed that warrant further thought.

  • We never see Mal (Cobb’s wife) jump. There are two scenes where we see her stand up and move to jump. Each time the scene quickly cuts to Mal falling.
  • Cobb walks up to his father-in-law’s (Miles) classroom and looks in through windows in the door. Then cut to Cobb sitting down inside the classroom – without Miles hearing him.
  • Miles asks Cobb why he doesn’t design the architecture of the dream himself. Cobb replies, “Mal won’t let me.” At that point Miles leans forward and says, “Come back to reality.”
  • There are numerous scenes in the movie where Cobb is supposed to be awake yet everything seems very dreamy. Such as when he squeezes between the buildings in Mombasa as he is running from Kobol security forces.
  • The old man who is overseeing the dreaming men says to Cobb, “They come here to be woken up. The dream has become their reality. Who are you to say otherwise?”

Dreamy Names
The character Ariadne is the architect who is tasked with designing the dream. The terms maze and labyrinth are used repeatedly to describe her role in the story. Writers oftentimes pick the names of their characters to subtly describe their characters. It turns out that the name Ariadne comes from Greek mythology. She is the daughter of the King Minos of Crete. She helped Theseus overcome the Minotaur. If you recall that myth involved a labyrinth as well. Karl Kerenyi observes that her name is merely an epithet and claims that she was originally the “Mistress of the Labyrinth.” ( Wikipedia reference )

The character Yusuf is the dream doctor in the story. This name also has a dreamy reference by way of the Quran: The story – of Yusuf – begins with a dream and ends with its interpretation ( Wikipedia reference ).

If Ariadne and Yusuf are real in the movie, i.e. Cobb is awake, then Christopher Nolan (writer/director) is being hackishly heavy handed in using such a blatant references – which I don’t believe to be the case. But if Cobb is dreaming throughout the movie, then it is Cobb who is writing the story and his subconscious chose the names for these projections from his memory of Greek mythology and Islam.

That argument comes down to this: Christopher Nolan is either writing a story about a man who can share dreams and is trying to get back home, or he is writing a story about a man who is writing the story subconsciously about trying to get back home? If you were a brilliant writer – which Nolan is – which would you choose?

The Inception of Totems
At the very beginning of the movie Cobb is explaining to Saito:

What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? Virus? Intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient and highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold in the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood, that sticks. [Pointing to his forehead.] Right in there somewhere.

Later, back in reality, while in the helicopter, Saito asks, “Inception. Is it possible?Arthur says that true inspiration is impossible. But Cobb interrupts and says, “That’s not true. ”

At the very end of the movie when Cobb and Ariadne are in Fischer’s subconscious Cobb gives her the An idea is like a virus speech and adds, “The smallest seed of an idea can grow to define, or even destroy you.”

It’s at that point that we discover that Cobb implanted the idea in Mal that she had to kill herself to wake up to reality. And he feels guilt over that.

However, Cobb also mentions earlier in the movie that the idea for a totem came from Mal. She implanted into him the idea that a physical object could be used to determine if you were awake or dreaming. And we know that the spinning top that Cobb uses was originally Mal’s totem. Cobb picked up her totem in the hotel room before she carried out his inception and jumped. In a sense, they exchanged inceptions right then.

At this point I’m unsure about the effectiveness of the totems. I don’t see how that could actually be used as a concrete test to determine if one is awake or dreaming. Which might be the point: you can’t tell.

The Kicker
And here’s the kicker that Cobb is dreaming throughout the movie: he is the only one who resists waking up from someone’s dream when they awake. At the very end – I’m pretty sure – Cobb and Ariadne are in Fischer’s subconscious, trying to dig him out. But Fischer wakes up when the defibrillator revives him. And Ariadne wakes as well. So how can Cobb remain in Fischer’s subconscious when Fischer is no longer there? I’m either missing something, or that’s one of those unaccounted plot holes or it’s an indication that we’re in Cobb’s dream throughout the movie. I’d wager that it’s not the middle thing.

This generation’s Blade Runner
Blade Runner asked us to question: if we had the memories, and even dreams, of someone, would that makes us that person? (That’s the simplistic version.) As a good friend said immediately after the movie, “Inception is this generation’s Blade Runner.”

The dreams in Inception aren’t your regular dreams. We don’t have the ability to share our dreams. We are alone with our own projections and subconscious. But what if we could share our dreams? How would that be different than reality? For reality is a shared interpretation of what our senses perceive. (Yes, I’m guilty of majoring in philosophy, with an emphasis in epistemology.)

Just like we don’t yet have androids that count electric sheep, we also don’t have the ability to share dreams or enter shared virtual realities. But even now, we can already seriously debate what is real. When, and if, we do have shared virtual realities, these issues won’t be philosophical anymore. They will be practical everyday questions. And how we answer and deal with these questions will reshape everything we know.

Are we in a simulation right now?
If you were a software developer with god-like computing power, you could create a virtual reality that is indistinguishable from reality. If you did so, what would it look like? A universe composed of myriad copies of identical objects – check. We have protons, photons, electrons, etc. Quantized space and time – seems likely. Objects only exist if they are perceived – exactly as Quantum Mechanics dictates.

Yes, if you look at the Universe through the eyes of a software developer, it looks like we are inside a simulation right now. Check out Morgan Freeman’s Through The Wormhole episode 1, Is There a Creator? if you would like to see more about that possibility.

What do you think? What have I missed? Anyone else looking forward to watching this again, and again, and . . . How do you think the sequel will start? With an alarm clock waking up Cobb? 🙂

Movie review : Ramona and Beezus

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Ramona and Beezus was a terrifical little movie. As a child, I read everyone of Beverly Cleary’s books. I would wait on pins and needles for library day so I could check out another one. Well a little over twenty-eight years has passed since that wonderful time and I got to finally see it on the big screen. It was well worth the wait. Joey King was absolutely enchanting to watch. I hope her career really takes off because I would love to see what else she can do. I was mesmerized by her facial expressions and the way she delivered her lines was incredible.

Parents, if you want to take your little ones to see a fun, light movie, take them to Ramona. They did a great job of throwing in little lessons for tike’s to learn but they also had some fun stuff for the adults. I found myself laughing out loud numerous times.

Beware, I’m about to spoil something for you and it has to do with a pee time I submitted. In the movie Ramona has an old kitty by the name of Picky Picky. The cat is Ramona’s confidant when she needs someone to talk to. Picky Picky is sixteen years old and he dies in the movie. It’s a terribly sad scene and the little girl sitting next to me actually started bawling. I submitted this time just in case you don’t want your child dealing with this situation. Hope you enjoy!

What did you think about Ramona and Beezus? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Salt

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Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Evelyn Salt (Jolie) is an operative for the C.I.A. When we meet here she is being interrogated by the North Korean Army, who think she’s a spy. The bad guys are tough but Salt is tougher. Eventually she finds herself being traded back to the USA in exchange for one of theirs. “I thought we don’t jeopardize a mission for one person,” she asks her superior (Schreiber). “We don’t” is his reply. Two years later we find Agent Salt making plans for her anniversary dinner. As she prepares to leave she is asked to help interrogate a man who claims to be a Russian agent (Daniel Olbryschki) with a secret. He tells Salt that soon the Russian President will be assassinated by a sleeper spy in America. She hardly pays attention until he tells her something else: SHE is the spy.

Read the rest of the review at MovieMikes.com.

What did you think about Salt? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Inception

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[ No Spoilers ]

Right down the line from acting to directing to writing to musical score to effects, this movie is top notch. In some cases brilliant. There’s not a weak link to be found.

There are very few movies that twist and turn between action and drama with Gatling gun speed yet remain mostly comprehensible. I said mostly because everyone in the theater is going to walk out asking, “What just happened?”

Where most movies that try to mix a complex plot with action fail is that characters do things for unknown reasons. Or they do things and we don’t understand what it is that they are doing. With Inception it’s always clear what they are doing and why they are doing it. But what it means is always a debatable.

A friend that I saw this movie with summed it up perfectly, saying “This movie will be this generations Blade Runner.” This coming from a huge Blade Runner fan. I couldn’t agree more. Based on reviews and all the positive things that people are saying in the social media sphere, Inception will have a hugely successful theater run. And you will very likely want to see it again on DVD because it needs multiple viewings to get your head wrapped around it.

There is no doubt that Inception will garner a cultist following. The only downside I see from this is the inevitable copies it will spawn that will, for the most part, suck. Such is the price of a ground breaking movie. (Don’t worry: you don’t have to see these movies. I do.)

You can read a full review of Inception at MovieMikes.com.

What did you think about Inception? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

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The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is like watching the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins. You know the Redskins are going to make a game of it for a while but in the end you know the Cowboys are going to win. Even so it’s still fun watching the game, unless your a Redskins fan. Which in this analogy would be equivalent to you being an evil sorcerer. 🙂

( Sorry, there are a lot of RunPee/Redskins fans and I just love having fun with them. )

Here’s how you can tell if you should see this movie. There is a scene that recreates the scene in Fantasia where Micky uses magic to clean the house. If you think, “Oh God, not this again,” then maybe you should skip this movie. But if instead you think, “Oh cool. They’re redoing the classic scene from Fantasia,” then you might just enjoy this movie.

What Sorcerer’s Apprentice really has going for it is a fast pace. After the first 20 minutes or so of the movie the scenes come quick and there’s plenty of action and chuckles – which makes it real hard to get PeeTimes. They don’t dwell on one story line for very long. Nor do they waste time developing unimportant characters. Each scene serves its purpose and then they move on.

And I really liked Nickolas Cage in this role. Very good choice. Of course Alfred Molina is an excellent bad guy. He should be. He’s had enough practice.

MovieMikes.com gives Sorcerer’s Apprentice 3/4 stars. Jump over there if you would like to read their review.

What did you think about The Sorcerer’s Apprentice? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Despicable Me

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Our Score: 4 out of 4 Stars

While on a sightseeing trip in Egypt a young boy gets too close to one of the pyramids and makes a startling discovery: it’s nothing but a large inflatable. Shocked, the news goes out that a master criminal must be at large. But who could it be?

Read the full review of Despicable Me at MovieMikes.com.

What did you think about Despicable Me? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

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Movie review : Predators

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If you’re a fan of the original Predators movie – and who isn’t – then you’ll enjoy this movie. The original is a A+ iconic movie. That would make this installment a solid B+ at worst.

There was nothing cheesy about this movie which is so often the case with squeals. It was very real to the Predator universe.

Jump over to MovieMikes.com if you would like to read more about Predators.

What did you think about Predators? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Cyrus

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Our Score: 3 out of 4 stars

You may ask what is “Cyrus”? Well, glad you asked because we may have found our sleeper hit of the summer. “Cyrus” is a little quirky comedy which could be this year’s “Juno”. Fox Searchlight needs to release this film wider! In this drought of a summer, films haven’t brought anything new to the table. This film is a little gem that had our audience clapping and laughing throughout the whole film. Besides being funny, the film also had a great heart. If you are looking for something this summer besides the big brain-less blockbusters, you should give this film a chance.

You can read the rest of the movie review for Cyrus at MovieMikes.com

What did you think about Cyrus? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

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Movie review: Twilight Eclipse

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Of the three that have come out so far, I feel this one was the best. You were given the background stories on some of the characters that brought them further to life, a lot of humor was thrown in, the chemistry between Bella, Edward and Jacob is top notch and well it was just entertaining. Kristen Stewart did a remarkable job on showing us how difficult it is for her choosing between Jacob and Edward. There was a scene that Edward, Jacob and Bella stay overnight in a tent and the dialog between the two boy’s was intensely funny, in a werewolf/vampire kind of way. Bella’s dad had plenty of offbeat comments making him come further to life. All in all, I give this movie an A. I know I am waiting on pins and needles to see the last one because this one did such a good job pumping you up for the final installment.

A quick note about my pee time near the end of the movie…if you absolutely can’t hold it, go during this scene. It is where the battle takes place, we have the good vampires and werewolves beating the crap out of the bad vampires, the graphics were pretty cool, and well lets face it, it’s fun to watch bad things die.

MovieMikes.com gives Twilight Eclipse 3 out of 4 stars. Read their review here.

What did you think about Twilight: Eclipse? Share your thoughts about the movie in the comments below.

Movie review : Grown Ups

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Adam Sandler, David Spade, Kevin James, Chris Rock and Rob Schneider…what do they all have in common? They all entertained my brain in what I would call Sandler’s best film ever. I wasn’t expecting what was delivered. I knew there would be some funny moments but the way all the guys worked together truly made a memorable movie memory. There was of course the off beat schtick that we’re used to, but he upped the ante in this one and was actually lovable and get this..smart. It’s something that all of us over thirty-five can relate to..the coming of middle age. Each one was experiencing his own troubles and each were of course dealt with by the time the credits rolled. It was predictable..but who cares..sometimes you just want to see something fun.

I was a little shocked that Chris Rock’s character was played down..he wasn’t his normal F bomb dropper..he’s actually a house-husband with a heart..and is currently suffering from PMS. Yep, that one shocked me..

One of my favorite actors, Steve Buscemi, delivered a well sculpted role of being an ass. It was a small role but he still left an impression on me and a wall..go see the movie to find out what I mean..
Kevin James has a scene that anyone whose ever had a mishap with a rope swing can totally relate to…ohhhh…the pain, but the boy has got some serious groove moves.

Salma Hyek of course is as beautiful as always..starts off bitchy, but like I said..in the end everything works out.

It’s a great movie..so you should totally get off the computer and go watch it. Why are you still here? Go.
Since you are still reading and haven’t taken my advice, maybe this will get you to go..I would love for everyone to come back here after the movie and let me know what your thoughts were on the whole boobie thing..??