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Behind the Special Effects of Inception

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the yes-have-some dept.

Movies 196

Lanxon writes "Wired has a behind the scenes look at how Inception's reality-distorting special effects sequences were shot, in an interview with Chris Corbould — the man 'prized for his ability to stage a real-life tank chase in St. Petersburg (GoldenEye), to flip a working juggernaut down a narrow Chicago street (The Dark Knight), and to build a working Batmobile that can do 30-metre jumps without the aid of a single post-production pixel.'" Hopefully most of you who intend to see Inception have already seen it by now, so you don't have to worry about spoilers. It's getting pretty much universal praise.

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196 comments

Spoiler Alert (5, Funny)

Haffner (1349071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033352)

It's all a dream

Just kidding. No one knows what the hell happened.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033390)

But was he dreaming at the end? That's what I want to know. I think he was, but some people don't agree with me.

Re:Spoiler Alert (2, Informative)

somaTh (1154199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033618)

The GP wasn't kidding. No one knows what the hell happened.

Although, this guy [chud.com] seems to have some solid idea.

Re:Spoiler Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33034068)

I agree that it was a dream. I don't think we ever see the top fall in the movie. For example, when he spins it in the bathroom. But also, remember when that guy in the dream den, similar to an opium den, said, "They come here to wake up. Who are you to judge what is real?" I think they left it intentionally vague because they wanted the audience saying, "What if his wife was right all along?"

However, what I'm more concerned about are the various plot holes. There are various things I can't reconcile. First, the most common one I've seen pointed out is why didn't the falling van wake them up? I could maybe understand the ones three levels deep not getting woken by the falling van in the first level, since they had to synchronize the kicks for a reason. But why didn't the guy in the second level get woken up by it?

Next, and even more puzzling to me, is how "limbo" works. The whole thing about Cobb staying behind in Limbo makes no sense to me. Why couldn't he just come up with the rest and shake the Saito awake in the plane? Maybe you can't be woken that way from limbo. Maybe if he did that, Saito's mind would still be trapped?

Further, the order of the limbo things happening was 1) Fisher dies, 2) Cobb and Ariadne use the device to go into limbo after Fisher from level 3, 3) Saito dies in level 1, 4) Cobb drowns in level 1, 5) Cobb finds Saito in limbo. OK, so we know that between 3 and 4, dozens of years go by in limbo. What was Cobb doing during this time? Why didn't he age? Was it that he did age and then when he drowned, he reentered limbo again as a young man? Is that why he couldn't remember anything except that he had to remind Saito of something nebulous? Was the whole movie him remembering what had happened? If so, why did it take so long for Cobb to find Saito? What was he doing all that time?

Another problem is that Fisher died in his dream and went to limbo. Why didn't his dream get destroyed, since it was his dream? Maybe if you go to limbo, you leave your upper level dreams intact?

There are also some problems with the time scale. It seems the guy in the hotel in level 2 would have had at most two minutes to get his cargo to the elevator, set the explosives, and detonate them. That seems implausible.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034522)

I agree that it was a dream. I don't think we ever see the top fall in the movie

Wrong. There are multiple times where he spins it and the top falls.

It is worth noting that in the end, the top starts to waver just before the screen goes blank. In every example they showed of the top never falling over, it was 100% solid and stable in its rotation...not even a smidgen of wobble.

Also, when he sees his kid's faces, they still look super young...but when they hug him and he grabs them up (in which you don't see their faces), their bodies are noticeably larger than the little kids they looked like.

The top wavering and the kids changing size led me to believe that he was in fact awake, and the end was real.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034742)

That's what I think too, in fact the older kids were different actors even. Cutting away just before the top falls over is really just a last gimmick thrown in, to remind the audience that it's impossible to be sure.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033626)

No - the top was wobbling and about to fall.

I didn't feel the need for an "ambiguous" ending - I think it was powerful enough without one. I think it should have cut to black JUST as the top fell over and hit the table.

Or, what would have been even more clever, was to have it start to wobble and then have his dad (?) walk by and snatch it off the table before it could fall.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033794)

No - the top was wobbling and about to fall.

The top had been spinning WAY too long at that point for reality to be in effect. In my mind, the question of whether or not he was dreaming at the end was a non-issue - he was dreaming. The real question was - was ANY of the movie not a dream to begin with. I think that the whole idea of shared dreams and the like, and relative ease with which everyone in a seemingly modern day world accept this as a normal thing, is evidence that the whole thing may have just been a dream.

Re:Spoiler Alert (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034084)

It's a movie, the whole thing was Nolan's dream. He shared it with us.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33034356)

I wish I hadn't already commented on this thread so I could mod this up.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034132)

I just read the link above and now I've changed my mind. I had forgotten about all the little "wake up Cobb" references throughout. I guess the thing that bothered me the most was that if it is HIS dream why are we seeing what all the other characters are doing individually? You would expect a movie about his dream to be entirely from his point of view.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034232)

Because they're supposedly parts of his subconscious/personality, and so are, in their own way, individual characters, involved in individual actions.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034352)

Yeah, ok. You guys are so logical. I enjoyed the movie a lot, but got choked up at the end when he finally got to see his kids. I wanted to rush home and wake mine up and hug them. Guess I'm sentimental, and wanted it all to be real for him.

Re:Spoiler Alert (2, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034610)

Guess I'm sentimental, and wanted it all to be real for him.

It is real for him, regardless of whether it is a dream or not.

Just like those were real emotions that you were feeling, despite it all being fiction on a screen.

Re:Spoiler Alert (2, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035196)

Yeah, ok. You guys are so logical. I enjoyed the movie a lot, but got choked up at the end when he finally got to see his kids. I wanted to rush home and wake mine up and hug them. Guess I'm sentimental, and wanted it all to be real for him.

That's actually kinda the point, though. The movie philosophy is really rooted in the old idea that reality is in the mind. If you hold to that belief, then it doesn't matter that, in the end, he was asleep, as to him, what he was experiencing is reality.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034554)

Are your dreams always from your point of view? I'm serious, not trying to be a jerk. Mine aren't. Sometimes they are from someone else's or even from a sort of omnipresent viewpoint, or perhaps like a camera or something. I thought everyone had dreams like that occasionally.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034764)

I can't think of a time when I wasn't me in a dream. But then, I dream movies - seriously, from the poster to the credits. It's weird.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034894)

Are you involved in film making? Did watching movies as a kid mean something special to you? I play role playing games a lot, and part of me wants to be a writer (though I can't stick with anything long enough to make it work) and I think that's affected my dreams. Even when I'm not lucid dreaming I'm sometimes watching what's going on more than actually being present directly.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035264)

No - the top was wobbling and about to fall.

I think the end shot was amazingly well done: I walked out and thought it was a little too obvious the top was about to fall over for a truly ambiguous ending, I wanted the end to be that he was awake and that was reality.

My wife thought it was obvious that the top didn't wobble at all and the end shot was proof it was a dream. She thought it being a dream fit with the movie better, and that Cobb was okay with it being a dream or didn't notice. She wanted it to be a dream. To that end, the top could have been wobbling over crumbs or imperfections in the table, not slowing down.

I think that's an extremely well done ambiguous ending if we both walked out of the movie utterly convinced of opposite interpretations that we wanted, over a top wobbling of all things. It was completely brilliant. I wonder how many times they shot that top, or how many tops they tried before it was completely ambiguous.

(we briefly thought my interpretation of it not being a dream had something with the "In a dream, you don't know how you got from one place to the next, and he knew how he got from the airport to his house: his father in law drove him" but then realized that wasn't actually shown)

Or, what would have been even more clever, was to have it start to wobble and then have his dad (?) walk by and snatch it off the table before it could fall.

To me, that would have implied he was controlling Cobb's dream, and I'd be asking myself "Would he have had an interest in keeping Cobb suspended in a purgatory-like dream state?"

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033778)

I certainly think he was, though the filmmakers clearly chose to leave the question open, so I don't believe there is any "right" answer, here. In fact, I see three options:

1) His wife was right that they were still dreaming, and that while she escaped, he remained trapped there, and that the final scene was him finally settling into that dream permanently. After all, he never did have his own totem (it was his wife's, if you recall). So there's no reason at all to believe that the fact it was toppling over in the early parts of the movie actually meant he was experiencing reality.

2) In the drug den, he never actually woke up from testing the sleep drug. If you recall, when he spun the top, it fell off the sink. He never did get a chance to finish the test after being interrupted.

3) At the end, he never actually escaped from limbo.

Personally, I lean toward the first, although that might be a little "Dallas" for some. :)

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034938)

I have been thinking about your second version since seeing that scene. I kept looking for references to the rest of the movie being his dream. Because of that I was not surprised by the top spinning at the end. I am satisfied with not knowing, or with there being no right answer though. It was a good movie, and holds together fairly well (though I also woke up wondering why Cobb did not age in limbo after staying behind . . . just saw this yesterday btw).

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

mr.dreadful (758768) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035290)

My wife and I were trying to figure out Michael Caine's character -- when we meet him, isn't he in a classroom in Paris? And yet, it appears he lives in America since he picks up LDC's character at an American airport. So maybe thats all a dream as well. or, this movie has really crappy continuity problems! :-) (it doesn't... I think)

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035516)

Cobb does go into Caine's character's (the grandfather) classroom with something to bring back to the states for the kids, so there is the expectation that the grandfather does travel back and forth, indeed the kids are living with the grandmother. So I think that part makes sense. But he (grandfather) does implore Cobb to come back to reality in that scene . . . something that made me think at the time that perhaps the whole movie is a dream. But I rather think that part is "real" life.

Re:Spoiler Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033800)

But was he dreaming at the end? That's what I want to know. I think he was, but some people don't agree with me.

Yes, he was dreaming because his children hadn't grown and were wearing the same clothing as in his last memory of them.

Re:Spoiler Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033806)

It was real. The point was to show that he abandons the top before he sees if it falls, and that it doesn't matter to him anymore if it's real or not, because he's gotten over his guilt about Mal, and is ready to just be with his kids. The top wobbles, which it never does in any of the dream levels in the movie, and that's enough for me. It cuts to black to leave the ending ambiguous for people who like that sort of thing. There are other cues that it's not a dream-- when his kids turn around we see that they've aged, which they never do in his dream/hallucination sequences. Also, in all of the dream sequences he wears his wedding ring, but he doesn't wear it in reality. It's sort of a "residual self image" thing, to use a Matrix term, because that's how he sees himself subconsciously. In the final sequence he's not wearing his wedding ring.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

dominious (1077089) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034418)

Wow, are there two versions of this movie?
First AC:

Yes, he was dreaming because his children hadn't grown and were wearing the same clothing as in his last memory of them.

Second AC:

There are other cues that it's not a dream-- when his kids turn around we see that they've aged, which they never do in his dream/hallucination sequences

Or everyone here just say whatever they want?

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035194)

The kids' ages don't quite work out. At the end, they appear to be different kids, but close to the same age, wearing identical (or close to identical) clothing, sitting in the same position in the same landscape as whenever Cobb imagines them. However, at the beginning of the movie when he talks to them on the phone, they're both older than either in his memory or at the end of the movie.

But of course it's also a little strange that he doesn't really have any memory of his kids' faces until the end of the movie. The whole thing doesn't quite make sense.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033840)

Both sides have some merit: *spoilers*
1) Awake: The top wobbles, the gun is shown and implied to be used at the end of the film, since Ken Watanabe still remembers his end of the bargain and remembers that he is dreaming.

2) Dreaming: This one has more indicators pointing to it. He's wearing his wedding ring, which he only seems to do in his dreams. He spins the top, walks outside and the camera shows the top still spinning, which is a really long time for the top to spin. Also, Cobb is left in the Van with Saito in the river. Even if they did wake up from Limbo, they would be trapped 3 levels down, with no "kick" to get them out. However, if their top level were to be tipped over, they might wake up. However, Their inner ear "wakeup" doesn't seem to be triggered, since there is no indication of turbulance or Cobb being tossed around when he wakes up on the plane.

Additionally, The credits list the kids at 2 ages, The girl sounds way too old on the phone for how young she is at the end.

Re:Spoiler Alert (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033916)

You tell me... Was he wearing his wedding ring (dreaming) or not (not)? I was told this tidbit **after** I saw the flick...

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

Cothol (460219) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034028)

As I interpret it he could't see his kids faces in the dream because he could not remember the details of how they look. At the end he did see their faces which means he did not dream.

There you go, happy ending.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034326)

But was he dreaming at the end? That's what I want to know. I think he was, but some people don't agree with me.

Not to get all 'meta' on you here, but you're missing the point. The decision you're being led towards is more complex than 'yes/no':

'Cobb got what he wanted either way, so it simply does not matter'.

My PoV anyway...

Re:Spoiler Alert (2, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034328)

It's not a dream, but he's really a replicant.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

genner (694963) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035326)

It's not a dream, but he's really a replicant.

I didn't see any electric sheep.

Re:Spoiler Alert (4, Funny)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034472)

He was dreaming at the end, the top didn't fall. Considering the slow zoom in on the top, if the filmmaker intended anyone to interpret the ending as reality, the top would have fallen. The wobble was just to elicit groans from the audience as it failed to fall, and made us start cranking our minds to figure out what happened.

The simple and non-ambiguous ending is that he is in a dream because Saito shot him. The last scene before Cobb woke up was Saito picking up a handgun. This was Saito's plan all along. He sent Cobb back to limbo after planting the idea (inception) that Cobb would be able to make it through customs. This allowed him to life a life with his kids. Well, his creepy fake dream kids.

There are many more complicated theories, but I think this is the intended "obvious" ending.

Re:Spoiler Alert (3, Insightful)

MikeBabcock (65886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034998)

I think the obvious ending is that we're not supposed to know.

I think its quite obvious the director wanted to have a good 'hehe, I'm not telling' inside joke with his audience, and I'm good with that.

Your version is just one possibility of how things may have turned out. The truth is, we weren't told.

Re:Spoiler Alert (2, Informative)

city (1189205) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035014)

He wasn't dreaming at the end, the top wobbled. Considering the slow zoom in on the top, if the filmmaker intended anyone to interpret the ending as dream, the top wouldn't have wobbled. The wobble was just to elicit groans from the audience as it started to fall, and made us start cranking our minds to figure out what happened.

The simple and non-ambiguous ending is that he isn't in a dream because Saito shot him, waking him up. The last scene before Cobb woke up was Saito picking up a handgun. This was Cobb's plan all along. He sent Fischer back to reality after planting the idea (inception) that Fischer would be able to break up his father's empire. This allowed Cobb to live a life with his kids. Well, his creepy motherless kids.

There are many more complicated theories, but I think this is the intended "obvious" ending.

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035512)

Several interpretations are possible; yours is not one of them.

In the scene you mention, you suggest that Saito shot Cobb to send him to limbo; not possible, as they were already in limbo. The only precident we have for what happens if you die in Limbo is - you wake up. So the ambiguity of that scene is, did Saito actually shoot Cobb (waking him up), or not? That we didn't see the gunshot suggests not, and we are not told what happens instead.

There is also no possibility that Saito performed inception, particularly not by telling Cobb something while he was awake.

Re:Spoiler Alert (3, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035002)

Ok, this might not be the place for this, but I'm pretty sure this is the real deal (spoilers, obviously):

When Cobb's wife killed herself, she was correct in thinking that they lived in a dream. She escaped into reality. When he didn't wake up, she went back in to rescue him. She's pulling a Mr. Charles, posing as part of his own unconscious. However, her attempts to get him to realize he was dreaming were always based on making his dream life worse, which as Cobb tells us, doesn't work. Positive feelings are stronger.

In the end, she creates an inception in him-- the idea of a friend coming into his dreams to rescue him, and the idea that escaping from the dream will allow him to be with his loved ones. The Inception works, but takes some time to grow-- so he doesn't snap out of things immediately, but the top spinning at the end is a sign that the process has worked.

The big question in my mind is, who in the dream is real? Is Mal pulling the Inception all by herself, or are some of the characters members of her team? My guess is that Ariadne and Saito are part of Mal's team, or else she's sometimes masquerading as them (the way the forger does).

Re:Spoiler Alert (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034724)

I've been seeing this response a lot lately. Where is Derrida [wikipedia.org] when you need him? I'd argue that the film's answer isn't "It was all a dream" or "It was real" because the film's question isn't "Was it real?" or "Is this real?" The question is "What is real?" In other words, "What does it mean for something to be real?" And the answer inevitably deconstructs the tension between dreams/reality, at once perceiving and creating thought beyond category. The distinction between dreams/reality relies on the concept of reality in the same way that the distinction between raw/cooked [wikipedia.org] relies on the concept of cooked. Before you knew the concept of cooked, food wasn't raw/cooked, food just was.

MPAA (1, Offtopic)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033398)

Once again, all inclinations to boycott the MPAA go out the window the moment the next summer flick comes out.

Not much content (4, Interesting)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033412)

The "article" is only a couple of paragraphs, but it's worth the click to see the pic if nothing else.

I assumed the gravity special effects were all CG, but it's great to know they were done physically!

Re:Not much content (1)

flitty (981864) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033450)

No kidding. I was hoping for a bit of a "how we did this or that" explaination for how they built the hallway and what kind of rig they had to use to spin it, etc. The kind of stuff that the effects designer can get into minute details describing.

Oh well, guess i'll have to watch it on the DVD extras and get the "glossy" version which just skims over the information.

Re:Not much content (5, Informative)

baturkey (55015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034210)

There's more detail and pictures in this American Cinematographer article:

http://www.theasc.com/ac_magazine/July2010/Inception/page1.php [theasc.com]

mod parent up please (1)

microcars (708223) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034738)

MUCH more informative than the original linked article plus more pics!

That's Easy! (5, Funny)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033426)

Wired has a behind the scenes look at how Inception's reality-distorting special effects sequences were shot

That's easy, the just shot the whole movie with an iPhone 4 and invited Steve Jobs to the set.. all the reality distortion you'll ever need!

Re:That's Easy! (1)

CajunArson (465943) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033654)

Offtopic mod... well it looks like some Slashdot mods have no sense of humor when dealing with satire of their God-Emperor... sheesh.

Wired Spolier (2, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033438)

Here's the spoiler: The Slashdot summary is about as long as the article it links to. WTF? Who allows crap like this to get on the front page?

Re:Wired Spolier (1)

Degro (989442) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034256)

kdawson must have hacked cmdrtaco's account!

Haven't Seen Inception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033466)

It sounds good. But why should I go to the theater when I have a perfectly good theater here at home? I think it's funny that everyone assumes "if you want to see it, you have by now." Going to the theater is expensive and not as positive an experience as watching movies at home. I understand paying a premium to watch live theater but we should be well past the "pay per seat experience" when it comes to movies. Going to the theater is just propping up outdated business models. And some of us have matured beyond the "I will pay a premium to see it when it is NEW!" and into the "I will see it when I get around to it and it's cheap" stage of life.

That said, special effects are cool.

Re:Haven't Seen Inception (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033610)

I agree with you, but not everyone can afford the time or resources for a good home theater with calibrated 5.1 audio monitors and cinema display.

Re:Haven't Seen Inception (1)

mp3LM (785954) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034066)

You can liken it to going out to eat food. It's cheaper and more comfortable to do either at home, but sometimes you just need to get out and spending a few extra bucks now and then is not the end of the world.

Re:Haven't Seen Inception (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034082)

What about the "I will see it when I can do so in the privacy of my home with family/friends, and no jerks ruining the experience, regardless of cost" stage of life?

First cam torrent: - Quality + Immediateness + Private venue.
First non-cam: + Quality + Immediateness + Private venue.
Cinema: + Quality + Immediateness - Private venue.
DVD: + Quality -- Immediateness + Private venue

First non-cam wins, even when price isn't factored in at all.
Film industry: Please add value to your product by optimizing your offering.

Nolan is better without FX (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033554)

There wasn't hardly anything in the way of special effects in "Memento," and not much in "The Prestige." Yet those were his two best films and much better than this. "Inception" isn't *bad*, mind you. But the fact that people are concentrating so much on its visual effects is probably a good sign that the script isn't strong enough to carry the movie by itself. Everyone walked out of "Memento" way more blown away than they were from this movie, and no one was saying it was because of the cool FX. The farther away Nolan gets from Batcycles and FX, the more he has to concentrate on the script. And that's a good thing.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033702)

'lf. Everyone walked out of "Memento" way more blown away than they were from this movie'

No. Not everyone. A lot of people were completely confused by memento and didn't even get the ending. Inception was less though provoking than memento but this is largely because inception was far more accessibly and, dare I say it, mainstream. You could fairly say that the two movies are for different audiences— and that the real accomplishment was that Inception is satisfactory, if not ideal, for both.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033896)

Memento and Inception both have underlying plots that require a bit of digging and discussion to bring out; but Memento's 'default' plot still took effort to follow. If people don't want to analyze Inception to bring out the hidden story, they don't have to; it still works.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (1)

Stele (9443) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033740)

I don't know what movie you (or many) people saw but there aren't *THAT* many special effects in this. Yeah the bending city and the falling apart city, but that was hardly overdone. They probably spent more time on the van going off the bridge sequence, effects-wise, and the vast majority of people wouldn't look at that sequence and say "look at those effects!".

Personally I feel the best effects are the ones you don't see and by that account Forrest Gump had far more effects than this movie, and nobody would say FG was an "effects movie".

Re:Nolan is better without FX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33034120)

They launched that van off a bridge into the water with the actors *in it* several times, so there was actually very little effects in that particular sequence.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033874)

I found the script to be very good for Inception. It didn't top Memento for me, but it was cleverly written and edited. I liked the FX, but I didn't feel this was an FX film. I don't see how many people would feel about it either as they weren't that many.

The Wired article is hardly worth mentioning as it focused on the rotating room which has been used since Fred Astaire had danced on the ceiling in Royal Wedding [youtube.com]

Re:Nolan is better without FX (1)

mconeone (765767) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033900)

Yet those were his two best films and much better than this.

That's just like... your opinion, man. According to http://www.rottentomatoes.com:
Memento: 92%
The Prestige: 75%
Inception: 86%

Sometimes a movie can have a good plot and good fx. I for one thought it was very well done in both areas.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033962)

Yeah, but when you've seen Memento once, it's not a surprise anymore. When you've seen Inception once, you can still go back for the shiny-awesomeness.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034116)

I disagree. You can see Memento once, then see it again a second time with a whole new understanding of Leonard, and on the DVD you can watch it in linear time if you want. That's three completely different ways of seeing the same story unfold.

Re:Nolan is better without FX (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034620)

Hmm, I didn't know that about the DVD. Now that I think about it, is the story any good without the storytelling device that made it famous?

Thoughts (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033616)

I remember wanting to see this movie months before it came out. Then, when I'm finally seeing it in IMAX on release day, I start thinking "wow this movie is actually kinda boring so far" except for the effects in the first hour maybe of the movie. It was particularly funny hearing everyone in the theater say "OHHH THAT'S THE SCENE FROM THE TRAILER." like they thought they were amazingly perceptive or something

THEN, they actually start the heist and the levels....and the fight scenes with Gordon-Levitt, and I was completely blown away. It went from being a possible snore fest to the best movie I have ever seen in my life, and the beginning was justified because it explains the later parts. What a freaking roller coaster ride, movie of the decade (for me at least) absolutely.

Re:Thoughts (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034186)

Isn't it slightly early to announce the "movie of the decade"?

Re:Thoughts (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034424)

agreed. I suppose I should have said "movie of the century (so far, for me)" but I just mainly wanted something more powerful than "movie of the year".

It used to be Dark Knight for me, mainly due to Ledger's amazing last(ish?) performance but this finally tops it for me.

Analog special effects are cool, but... (1)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033708)

With the worldwide glut of computing power out there, why would you want to spend all that time and effort setting things up in the real world? How long will it be before someone takes the power of BOINC (http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ [berkeley.edu] ) grid computing, and the talent of those who made 405: The movie (http://www.405themovie.com/Home.asp [405themovie.com] ) and produce something beyond anything Hollywood has dreamed of?

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033852)

With the worldwide glut of computing power out there, why would you want to spend all that time and effort setting things up in the real world?

Because the sad truth is that not once have I ever seen a CGI-rendered scene that didn't look utterly fake. Your attitude is one shared by FAR too many directors these days.

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (1)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033960)

I'm willing to bet you have watched a CGI scene, not known it was CGI, and thought it was completely real. Sure, when Neo falls off the skyscraper, you knew that was CGI, so you could say, "that looks fake." There are more subtle uses of CGI (Gary Sinise's missing legs in "Forrest Gump") that most people think are completely real-looking, and don't even suspect CGI. Now don't go using Forrest Gump meets JFK as a bad example - I'm in 100% agreement there!

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (1)

pinkj (521155) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034254)

So in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" when that truck hit that cow, you thought they really killed a cow with a truck?

imdb [imdb.com]

The American Humane Association, an organization that protects animal rights, mistook a computer-generated cow in the movie for a real animal and demanded proof before they would allow the use of their famous disclaimer, "No animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture." After seeing a demonstration at Digital Domain of how the cow was created, the Humane Association added the now-familiar (but then much rarer) "Scenes which may appear to place an animal in jeopardy were simulated."

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (3, Funny)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034420)

So in "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" when that truck hit that cow, you thought they really killed a cow with a truck?

No, it was 2 guys in a cow suit. Sadly, one of the guys died filming that scene, but the guy who played the ass-end of the cow survived.

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (5, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034426)

Because the sad truth is that not once have I ever seen a CGI-rendered scene that didn't look utterly fake.

I think the phrase you are looking for is that "not once have you ever seen a CGI-rendered scene that you could identify as CGI-rendered that did not look CGI-rendered."

The ones that didn't look utterly fake looked real enough for you to assume that they were real. That's kind of the whole point, you see.

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33033972)

Personally, I find movies made with analog special effects to be far more magical. CG makes things feel so fake. Maybe someday in the future you wont be able to tell the difference, but I doubt it. Like the article says, the actors respond much better to analog special effects. Of course, you could argue that once an entire generation of actors are trained with pure CG, there really will be no difference. For me, that's a sad day.

Re:Analog special effects are cool, but... (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034222)

One of the subtexts of the film was to blur the distinction between dream and reality. As soon as you see a moment of poor CGI editing or phony-looking physics, you kill the suspension of disbelief in these sequences. To his credit, the director kept some very long cuts of these fight sequences -- which were a welcome reprieve from the in vogue quick cut sequences that confuse the action and make shoddy editing easy to pull off. Long cuts are big windows in which even good CGI can show its flaws.

You don't have to worry about spoilers... (1)

ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033734)

You don't have to worry about spoilers because there aren't any. This is a painfully brief blurb from July 8th, before the movie was released, and only directly makes reference to a few scenes in the trailer.

Which is disappointing because I was really hoping for something of substance. The "article" spends more time talking about Courbould's other projects than Inception.

Quick thing (1)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033818)

Did anyone else notice that it looked like Gordon Levitt had wires attached to his pants during the hallway fight where he's dancing around the walls during the fight? The preview picture of the article makes it seem like they were rotating the hallway itself so why would the wires have been attached the whole time as well? I specifically remember some scenes where the wires shouldn't have been needed if the entire hallways was rotating.

Re:Quick thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33034198)

To help him balance when the room disagrees with his inner ear.

allegory for memory management (4, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033918)

This is a bit off topic, but all you /.ers need to see this movie, if for no other reason than that it is an allegory for memory management, stack frames, orphaned pointers, etc.

Re:allegory for memory management (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034238)

Then I've probably already seen it, and need a good debugger to figure out where it went.

Re:allegory for memory management (3, Funny)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034436)

I am never going to be able to unthink this post... you may have just ruined this movie for me.

Re:allegory for memory management (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034874)

Keep in mind, computer memory is an abstraction of human memory.

WHOOSH! (4, Interesting)

Triv (181010) | more than 3 years ago | (#33033982)

Y'all're being way too literal - whether the top fell or it didn't, the point of the last shot isn't whether the reality Cobb is in is real or not, the point is that he walked away from the top as it was spinning. He stopped trying to get home because, as far as he was concerned, he was as home as he wanted to be.

Whether the reality we, as an audience, left him in was "real" or not is completely immaterial. Home != reality, necessarily; he ended up where he needed to be.

Re:WHOOSH! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33034300)

far as he was concerned, he was as home as he wanted to be.

BS. He made it abundantly clear in his confrontation with his dead wife's memory that he was *not* satisfied with the idea of only having his kids in a dream. He directly stated that he wanted to be with them "up there," in real life. The entire reason he was even on the mission is because he turned down that easy out.

I will agree that the plot was thin, but this specific point was repeated multiple times. I am surprised you missed it.

Re:WHOOSH! (3, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034572)

The ambiguity of the ending is important, it implies the possibility that not only was his wife right, but still alive and awake.

Re:WHOOSH! (4, Insightful)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035090)

I would argue that the ambiguity of the ending is important because it plants a seed of an idea in the audience; namely, the idea of whether Cobb is still in a dream or reality. In essence, the movie performs inception on the audience. Pretty cool trick IMO.

Re:WHOOSH! (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034900)

They're not being literal. Inception just failed on them.

Inception is performative [wikipedia.org] : it attempts to accomplish the thing it seeks to describe.

In the case of those still wondering if things were real or not, it fell short.

I am left wondering (2, Insightful)

Goaway (82658) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034054)

What on earth is a "working juggernaut"?

Re:I am left wondering (5, Funny)

Chysn (898420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034626)

What on earth is a "working juggernaut"?

I'm an unemployed juggernaut, you insensitive clod!

Re:I am left wondering (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33035302)

What on earth is a "working juggernaut"?

DO YOU WANT FRIES WITH THAT, BITCH?

I haven't seen it, and I'm not reading the thread. (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034164)

But I would just like to say, thanks for not posting any spoilers in the summary.

Spoiler Alert! (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034236)

Snape kills Dumbledore.

The film rocked on plot, not SFX (4, Interesting)

jbarr (2233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33034540)

So many people, including my wife, said they just didn't get it. I must really be in the minority, because I thought that it had a similar "wow" factor as "The Matrix", only with plot instead of special effects. I remember watching "The Matrix", and at the scene where Neo got unplugged, I had this overwhelming feeling of "Oh, my, god! I get it! This is so absolutely innovatively cool!" I really had the same feeling when watching Inception. And maybe my delight with it has to do with the fact that I am able to have lucid dreams on occasion. I specifically remember one where I woke up from a dream, somehow realized that I was still dreaming, and then woke up from that. Having personally experienced that made the concept at least understandable.

Granted, it wasn't a perfect movie, and it was probably too long, but I really think it had an innovative depth that hasn't been seen in movies in a long time.

I also feel that though the SFX were cool, this is a movie you really don't need to see on the big screen. The plot carries it well. The wow-factor doesn't come from the SFX, it comes from the plot.

Re:The film rocked on plot, not SFX (0, Flamebait)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035022)

But everyone on slashdot who saw the movie will also have understood it. You're not as unique as you might believe.

Why was it probably too long? Were you unable to pay attention that long?

Re:The film rocked on plot, not SFX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33035468)

You're a complete idiot. The OP was right, you have to be gifted to understand a movie as complicated as this was. And yes, it was too long, it's common understanding that anything over 2 hours long is too long for the average mind to understand. Fair enough, the few geniuses that understood this movie AT THE SAME APPRECIATION the OP did can certainly say it was not too long, but an idiot like you probably couldnt even get halfway through it before having an attack of the tardies.

Re:The film rocked on plot, not SFX (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33035126)

Is there some correlation between good SFX and a large screen?

Jackie Chan explains it best (1)

sheddd (592499) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035034)

Here [imgur.com]

Universal Praise? (1)

voidstin (51561) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035176)

A lot of critics liked it, but quite a few, including Rex Reed [observer.com] and David Edelstein [nymag.com] destroyed it. I'm with them, personally. It seems to be fairly polarizing.

Re:Universal Praise? (2, Interesting)

hamiltondaniel (1406971) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035356)

Just to get the flame war started, I agree with the above. The movie was very cool and was great to watch, it was a lot of fun.

But come on. The basic premise wasn't even capitalized on. Dreams are WEIRD. Dreams are crazy things where ANYTHING can happen. Dreams are absurd, as in Kierkegaard. There were so many precise rules to the way the whole thing worked it wasn't a dream, it was an alternate reality slightly different than ours, but a reality with real laws and rules governing it. Dreams don't have rules. In a dream I can walk down the street and then Paris flips over and then I'm also an egg salad sandwich who kills Hitler with a goose.

The thing with the time dilation was the most absurd. I mean, never mind that just because you have a dream within a dream doesn't mean you have a brain within a brain (which would be kind of necessary to be thinking at, whatever, 1000x normal speed), but really? That's the only way the writers could think up to inject some sense of urgency? He'll be down there for...TEN YEARS! Oh man. What a drag. Should've set the alarm a half hour early today.

All of this is forgiven if the ENTIRE THING (including all the shared dream, machine-doohickey Architect stuff - how does she actually go about building these dream worlds? We only ever see her making cardboard models. Hmm...) is a dream, but then...

Kind of a boring dream.

Egg salad sandwich, man.

Thanks for being so US-centric (0, Offtopic)

cbraescu1 (180267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035416)

Hopefully most of you who intend to see Inception have already seen it by now

Cmdr Taco, do you realize maybe half of Slashdot audience is *NOT* from the USA?

the whole thing was a dream (1)

roubles (716740) | more than 3 years ago | (#33035522)

mal is alive in the real world... and she's trying to wake cobb up...
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