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Random Thoughts about Inception

First off: I do plan to talk about other things I learned from ARGfest, and how the concerns of transmedia reach out far beyond ARGs. But the “hot brunette” comment has attracted a lot of attention, and it’s been some interesting exploration for me, so I ran with it. And when I wasn’t working or ill over the weekend, some new thoughts have slammed into my brain about video games that I want to touch on at some point.

But right now, fuck all that. I just got back from watching Christopher Nolan’s Inception, and I want to nerd out over it for a while. For those who haven’t seen it, it might be best to read this after you’ve seen the movie, because I’ll likely step all over spoiler country.

Inception Isn’t About Dreams

Let’s start off with one of the lesser (but still awesome) observations I had about the movie – the writing was fantastic. I really appreciate spare, powerful writing, and this movie has it in spades. The characters are also really good examples of what I talked about in my last couple of posts – Ariadne is (sigh) a hot brunette, but she is not Superwoman, nor does she require rescuing, nor is she a love interest. But every character is interesting and engaging, even the ones that are only on screen for a scene or two. The link above is to the core team in the movie, and that’s intentional – many of them are overt stereotypes, but all are given an interesting twist. I’m almost glad I came to these conclusions beforehand, because now I can point to Inception and say “yes, that.”

Which leads to my first conclusion about the movie: it isn’t really about being able to walk in dreams. Rather, it’s all about the characters – the dreams are just a metaphor for literal character exploration. Nolan does a great job of setting up the premise (people can walk in dreams; there is technology that allows this; people can specialize in this new technology; corporations have developed security specialists against this technology) in a very short space, but doesn’t waste time actually telling you what it is or how long it’s been around or even what year the movie is set in. That’s because it doesn’t matter – it’s just a conceit to get the characters in front of the audience and make them start caring about them enough to go stomping around in their personalities for nearly three hours.

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