OK, so I’m ready to be called a “Hater” after this post.
Christopher Nolan is a good director. I have enjoyed many of his movies since his first film (“Memento”), which I saw with one of my best friends (Liz) at the Village East Cinema way back when. The man is good at telling a story, but one thing that is frustrating me is that after “The Dark Knight”, the praise for him from internet Fanboys is getting a little nauseating.
The level of hyperbole used to describe his work is pretty amazing to me. I mean, I really enjoyed “The Dark Knight”, but was it the Best Movie Ever? Not by a long shot. Was it the Best Superhero Movie Ever? Not even. Did it deserve to win an Oscar for Best Picture? Hell no.
This brings me to his latest film, “Inception” which is hitting US theaters next week. Some of the early reviews are SO over the top that it’s hard to even take them seriously.
Do I want to NOT believe they are true? No. If anything I am waiting for the next Game Changing movie to come and “Wow” me the way “The Matrix” did many years ago. This Summer has been so abysmal, and for every superb “Toy Story 3”, we get a ton of crap.
But will “Inception” save this Summer for movies like reviews are saying?
Again, I really want to believe the hype, but all signs point to let down. For starters, let’s take a look at the trailer:
Looks pretty good right? I would be down with it. But then again, visually it reminds me of this:
Now comparisons to these previous films aside (which I am sure have been pointed out everywhere), “Inception” can very well be similar to neither film and I am just being silly.
But there are other factors at play, while Nolan is a good director, he has his weaknesses. Hard to believe for some “Nolanites” out there, but he isn’t perfect. For starters he is not a strong director of Action Sequences. The action scenes in “The Dark Knight” and “Batman Begins” were oftentimes incomprehensible. Too up close and as a viewer you suffer since you never get a proper sense of the geography of the fight. I was praying that from “Batman Begins” to “The Dark Knight” it would get better, but nope. His direction of action sequences had not improved at all. The whole finale of “The Dark Knight” where “Batman” was fighting with the sonar eyes was just all over the place and the impossible gadgetry used nearly derailed a film that did a good job grounding itself in realism, especially for a comic book movie.
Another issue I have is that he also hasn’t written a role for a strong female character yet. In both “Batman” movies, the female characters were not well written. You can probably say the male characters are not perfectly written either, but he always seems to hire strong male leads to help elevate the material. But in casting women, we get Katie Holmes who seemingly lost her action chops somewhere along the way (she had them before, see “The Gift”). And then she is replaced with the very boring Maggie Gyllenhaal, who for whatever reason played her character with an unnecessary flirtiness that was somewhat laughable.
All of my thoughts aside, I will be there opening weekend to judge the film for myself. I am hoping the movie can actually be good. I am hoping the action is finally well directed. I am hoping that Ellen Paige’s character is his first well written female character. I am hoping the film isn’t a rehash of better films I am seen before. And I look forward to seeing DiCaprio and Gordon-Levitt on screen together.
And finally, I am hoping that Nolan finally is able to deliver and be deserving of his extreme hype and prove my naysaying ass wrong.
I hope for all these things, but in the meantime, I am not buying what these early reviews are selling.
PS: The silly Fanboy Nolan vs Cameron debates need to end. Cameron is Cameron, and despite what anyone says of “Avatar”, in my opinion, the last 45 minutes of that film is a masterclass in action film direction.