SATURDAY DISCUSSION: Were your expectations too high going into ‘Inception’?

NOTE: Expect this discussion to contain SPOILERS about Inception.

By now everybody who really wanted to has seen Christopher Nolan’s Inception. One of the big discussions going on for weeks leading up to the film’s release was whether or not expectations for the film were set too high.

Now I want to know: after seeing the film, were they?

For me that answer is yes for two big reasons – the trailers and the reviews.

It was obvious from the trailer that Inception was going to be a visual spectacle of high order. Various clips from the movie showed a zero gravity hallway fight scene, the city of Paris folding in half, and sleeping men floating and being tied together. Based on the 2-minute previews I was under the impression that what I had seen was only the tip of the iceberg and the visual effects that were in the movie were greater than what was hinted at. Unfortunately, almost every major visual trick that I saw in the movies, I had already seen briefly in the trailers. They were still impressive, but not as exciting.

The other reason I was disappointed were based off several reviews of the film. I try not to read entire reviews of movies before I see them. I always skip past the syopsizing and straight to the criticism. More than a few of the early reviewers drew direct comparisons between Christopher Nolan and Stanley Kubrick, specifically 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Kubrick’s film, he and Arthur C. Clarke took something as abstract and incomprehensible as space and presented it in a surreal and fantastical way. In Nolan’s film, he took something as abstract and incomprehensible as dreams and presented them in a logical, realistic way. Nothing is necessarily right or wrong with either approach, but apart from a bed scene at the end of Inception which resembled the end of 2001, I fail to see anymore similarities.

Did Inception meet, fall short, or exceed your expectations? Why or Why not?

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  • My expectations were insanely high. And the movie actually way exceeded them. I think it’s Nolan’s best yet (yes, better than “TDK” and “Memento”). At the end, I just sat there wondering how Nolan pulled this off. It must have taken him decades to write this script.

    As for the visuals, I’m not entirely sure how they were not exciting. Yes, I believe most of the major ones were hinted at in the trailer. But the zero-G fight was way more awesome in the movie, as was the snow fortress sequence (someone still needs to explain to me why there needed to be snow). Bottom line: I don’t think this movie will be topped for a very long time. Amazing.

    And to answer your question, my expectations really don’t change from film to film. My mindset is this:

    I go into every movie expecting a grade-A classic. From there, I dock points for everything it does wrong. I suspect this approach is different than a lot of other people’s, but it works for me. The downside is that my expectations are usually too high (cough*”Paranormal Activity”*cough). But when a movie actually meets them… wow.

  • Jose

    I really didn’t know what to expect, I was dissapointed with The Dark Knight, heard of the plot for this movie in late 2008, thought it would fail, then I saw the first teaser, more ads started to roll in that more than excited me. The fact that the movie was being compared to 2001 made me lose faith in it (just a bit) because a) for fans of that film those are high expectations, and b) I really wasn’t impressed with that movie. So when I saw Inception, all I could say is Whoa!

    Agree with you on the visuals though, but seeing that zero gravity fight scene in its entirety made me stand up and cheer (kind of embarrasing since I was with my parents) but G your suspicion is right, that approach is different from a lot of people.

  • Andrew R.

    Nolan’s best? Nope. But it slightly exceeded my expectations. That ending is going to inspire so much debate, and the action sequences and acting were great. Cotillard scared me.

  • i don’ read reviews of movies i’m about to see, though i knew the hype of this movie was strong. i was not disapointed at all. awesome movie.

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