Monday, July 26, 2010

Inception by Christopher Nolan

I'd like to share a quote from the acknowledgements of my second 13th Reality book, which was written way before I'd ever heard of a movie called INCEPTION and before THE DARK KNIGHT came out.

"Thanks to the mother of Christopher Nolan for going through the pain of birthing him."

I'm so glad I wrote that. I knew I loved the genius of this man just after three movies: MEMENTO, THE PRESTIGE, and BATMAN BEGINS. (And a lot of credit goes to his brother as well, Jonathon, who has co-written some of the scripts.)

And then came INCEPTION.

I love movies. If anything, I love movies even more than I love books (which is pure blasphemy so pretend you didn't hear me just say that). I see any movie that has even the slightest, remotest chance of being good, including the many great indies. Most of my best writing sessions happen right after I've gone to the theater and been inspired by a brilliant movie. Or sometimes even a dumb one.

Among these countless movies, I have those that I call "Event" movies. These are the ones that go to the top of my list as soon as I hear about them. I'd say there are only four or five of these a year. When I first heard about INCEPTION, I was hit by an instant trifecta of information: Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and the words, "Your mind is the scene of the crime." I knew I had an "Event" movie, and started counting down the days.

I saw it the day it came out. And then again the next day. Cuz I'm like that.

And I wasn't in the least bit disappointed, even after all that build up. I absolutely loved every single minute of it, both times. It's firmly entrenched in the James Dashner's Top Five Movies of All Time list. (I actually couldn't name you those top five movies, I just every once in a blue moon give a movie that designation. It just might be more than five by now. Yes, it makes sense. Go with it.)

INCEPTION is utterly brilliant. I feel like I can't do it justice. If you haven't seen it, do so immediately. And then do it again because it's even better the second time around. Every single aspect of this movie is brilliant. And I can't go on because I don't want to spoil it and I don't want to use the word "brilliant" too many times. You don't need to know anything else: just go see it. The less you know, the better the experience you'll have.

Why can't more people make movies like this? Trippy, visually stunning, creative, mind-bending, well cast, well acted, well written, heart-wrenching, the MUSIC (yay Hans Zimmer!), brilliant brilliant brilliant. Oops, sorry. I won't use that word again, I promise. A day hasn't gone by since last weekend where I haven't thought about it. Now that's an Event movie.

I only want to comment on three more things about it.

1. I had a major epiphany about the creation process in this movie. (This isn't really a spoiler, so don't worry.) Leo and Ellen Page have a conversation about how the mind works during the process of creating a dream. Leo draws two curved arrows that point at each other, forming a circle. He says the mind simultaneously CREATES and PERCEIVES, and the two become indistinguishable from each other.

Never in my life have I been able to describe how I write books until that moment. It became even more clear when Ellen responds by saying that when she designs architecture, she feels as if she's DISCOVERING it, not necessarily creating it.

This is how it is for me. I can sit for hours and hours, trying to come up with good ideas, but they usually doesn't flow until I sit at the computer and start typing. Then I feel like it becomes just as Leo described it. I can't tell the difference between my mind creating ideas and perceiving them. I honestly can't. They happen simultaneously, feeding off each other to form the story. It really is like discovery more than creation.

I don't know if that seems as cool and mind-blowing to anyone else, but to me it was a real life changing realization. Food for thought.

2. I won't spoil anything, but I loved the way the movie literally ends, right before the credits. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. It couldn't have ended any other way, and I love the many layers of small questions it brings up. For me, that was the final stamp on how perfect a movie it was. Just how old were his kids, what were they wearing.......

3. I've heard several people rip on the trailer for this movie. Say huh? That, I just don't get. Now, you all know I try to avoid trailers because they spoil movies, but I've watched this one several times since going. I think it's one of the greatest trailers ever. That loud, tonal, booming sound. That's my new favorite sound.

Anyway, there you have it. INCEPTION is a movie that I will own, that I will watch many times. I plan to see it in the theater again. I really, really loved it, and I hope everyone will go see it.

Because it's brilliant. Doh!


Connie Onnie said...

What I loved about the movie is that it makes you feel the uncertainty that the characters feel. Not because you empathize with them but because of the way it ends you walk out wishing you had a totem of your own. I agree that the movie & ending were pure genius.

Brodi Ashton said...

It's so so brilliant! I heart Christopher Nolan so much, especially since I first watched Memento.

I can't wait to see it again.

Anonymous said...

The music is simply the BEST MUSIC EVER WRITTEN! Hans Zimmer did such an absolutely stunningly beyond amazing job with this. I have hundreds of film scores, and this is THE BEST. Going to see the movie the first time in just a few minutes, so beyond excited.

Jackson Porter said...

Wow, I've wanted to see Inception ever since I saw the trailer, I've heard it's good but I haven't gotten around to it.

Yes, I agree with you on how we come up with stories, when you (Leo) mentioned how the mind precieves, it really clicked.

That's me too, I have to sit down and write the book or else it's never going to develop. I usually just let books go there own way.


Karen Pellett said...

Let me guess...the movie was BRILLIANT??? ;-) I've maxed my movie watching budget for the month so I'm afraid I'll have to wait until he goes to the second run theater, but thanks to you it has moved up on my list of movies to watch. Thanks.

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Well, I geuss I have to go see it now, huh?

Magenta said...

Wow, that sounds like an AWESOME movie! ^_^ I wasn't that interested in it before, but now, thanks to the Dude, I look forward to seeing it myself. I'll especially be looking for that "Creating" and Perceiving convo.

I've recently gotten into Jim Henson movies, and I just wanted to recommend (for James as well as for anyone else who is interested) The Dark Crystal and The Labyrinth, 'cause those are really incredible films! I think they've gone up to my Top 5 list of movies. (Yeah, it totally makes sense, James. ^_~)

Lula! said...

What I loved about this movie is that I didn't marvel at the special no point did I think, "How'd they do that?" Because I was enjoying the ride so much that it never entered my brain that the ride wasn't real.

Also, I would like to tumble in a hotel hallway with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his three-piece suit. Hey Universal Studios, there's a new themed, thrill ride for ya!

p.s. If I ever write a book, in the 4 pages it takes to thank everyone who's ever inspired my life, I will now say this...
"Thank you to James Dashner's mother, for birthing him. " Upon mentioning you, I'll also include a reference to Lost and the Georgia Bulldogs. Just because I can.

Suey said...

Finally saw it this weekend. I loved it too, and I did noticed that brilliant (yep brilliant) quote about creating and perceiving. And the end... sheesh. And yes YEY Hans Zimmer! Love him.

I need to see Memento now I think.

GeekyTikki said...

I get the same thing after I play a video game or watch a video about it

Leesie Jones said...

Long post dashner.
You make everything sound so...Brilliant. :) I think i'll see the movie. Sounds great from what you say.
No, it doesn't sound great.
It sounds Brilliant.

GOsh I wanna be a casting director so badly. I swear, if they don't cast the Maze Runner movie amazingly, I will be upset. Very upset. ;)
Thanks for reading this Dashner,
Leesie Jones

Katie said...

LOVED that movie! I've only seen it once, but it's definitely on the list of ones I'd like to see again. The end totally screwed with my head. Is he in reality? Is he still dreaming? I almost think the wife was right. Or if not, he never did find that guy and get out. But the top was about to fall...argh! I can't figure out how I want it to end... But I'm still thinking about it, and that's a mark of any good piece of art, whether that be literature or a movie: it's "lingering" factor.

Daron D. Fraley said...


AMEN. Brilliant. Brilliant.

I loved that movie. Saw it on Saturday. I want to see it again! And I agree... I came out of that experience, a smile on my face, and my mind-gears spinning so hard I am sure smoke seeped out of my ears.

Yes, I think the ending was PERFECT, but what had me thinking so hard was this question: HOW did the director do that to me? I HAVE to do THAT in my books!

Thanks for the brilliant review. :)

Debbie Davis said...

I have heard so much about this movie and keep wondering why have I not heard anything about it until this week? But all I hear is how everyone needs to go see it. I guess, I will do just that, you all have me totally convinced. Besides, I really like how you tell us how great it is without revealing any of it, and making me want to see what all the scuttlebut is about... is scuttlebut even used anymore? I look forward to seeing why it has captivated so many people.

cute princess said...

i love the movie
that make me cool ... its so brilliant... remember that mementoo.. Watch online Hollywood Movies

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Brian Griggs said...

The architect's comments on creativity hit me, too.

I just read an article about the soundtrack. I wasn't as impressed with Hans Zimmer's work in Inception as I was in The Dark Knight UNTIL I read that all those booms are actually influenced by Edith Piaf’s “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien", just slowed down.

Here's the song:

Marion Cotillard was in Inception, but she also played Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose".

Amber Lynae said...

My WIP that I started over a year and a half ago (yes I know I'm slow0 has people that enter other people's dreams.... So when I saw the trailer for Inception, I knew I would love this movie.

And I agree Christopher Nolan really knows how to put together an awesome movie experience.

I haven't gotten to see it yet, but I keep telling my husband every day that we need to go see it.

Shari Arnold said...

I haven't seen Inception yet but I plan to. I know what you mean about "Event" movies. They totally get you. Or perhaps you just get them. Either way totally excited to see Inception. Hope it lives up to the hype!

Jackson Porter said...


Dashner, I couldn't agree with you more.

It's the best Nolan movie right above The Prestige.


Is by far the most creative story ever.

Except for your books, of course.


Chelsea Hansen said...

I loved Inception! I saw it twice too, and I loved it even more the second time. What I really loved about it was the characters. You could feel their emotions with them, and they were solid and believable. And I simply adored the create and percieve circle theory, and how she described discovering an idea. It was definitely one of my favorite movie experiences this year.

link2literacy said...

I saw the trailer, and for once a snappy preview didn't give away too much but managed to lure viewers in.

Because my dreams are WAY out there, it made me appreciate them all the more. Dreams are FUN!

Also, I just finished MAZE; LOVED it, and I'm not a dystopia fan. I can't say how proud I am of Utah authors!

Candice said...

One of the smartest, if not the smartest movie I've ever seen. I love your parallel with writing and the perception/creation process. It really rings true and explains why so often as a writer I feel like the story already existed and somehow I just stumbled onto it in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I liked what you said about creation and perception relying on eachother. It reminds me of the feeding relationship between the media and the masses - Does the media dictate popular opinion or does popular opinion dictate the media? Inception was really all around great. It was visually stunning, the pacing was flawless, the scenes striking. I agree the ending can't be described as anything but brilliant.

Speaking of interesting endings, I just finished reading The Maze Runner and all I can say is - YOU'RE THE MAN, JAMES!! I can't wait for the next books ~ And since we're on the topic of movies, I hope if they make a movie out of it the casting won't infuriate me. lol I'm gonna go re-watch the Inception trailer right about now...

* said...

I agree with you 100%! Memento blew me away when I watched it years ago, Inception was equally brilliant.

PS: Maze Runner is currently on my night stand. I very looking forward to reading it!! And glad that you are one of those authors who keeps a blog!! :)

jennygranola said...

I wasn't interested in seeing this movie at all until I read your post. I'm not a big fan of Leo's. Anyway, I decided to give it a try based on Ellen Page and Senor Dashner :)

I have to agree! It was brilliant. That's the only word I can use to describe it. As the movie unfurled i found myself WEEPING at it's brilliance! I also see now, that it's going to be another one of those sorting tools. For figuring out just where your friends are in terms of taste and other things (don't want to get snobby!) Most people I know who didn't like the movie are more into things like ... oh.. Valentine's Day? And Twilight. (The other great divider of my friends.) Both of which I couldn't stand. I still love my friends, however.

I also loved Memento, it was sheer genius, except it gave me nightmares for weeks. Inception gave me nightmares too, but they weren't unmanageable. Have you ever had a dream within a dream? It's freaky. It's even freakier now. I'm afraid I may be a bit paranoid and enjoying it!

*Insert the Zimmerman sound*

THanks for the great recommendation! I only wish I had a nanny so I could go see it a few more times this week!

Kasie West said...

Loved this movie. Saw it opening night. Love Christopher Nolan and LOVE Leonardo DiCaprio so I knew I would love this movie. (I've decided it must really speak to writers because every writer I've talked to that's seen this movie loves it.)

Maren Hansen said...

Somehow I missed this movie when perusing the summer line-up earlier this year. So I sadly missed the trailer (I love trailers).

But I'm with you--Nolan is one of my all time faves ever. I love that he assumes that I have a brain instead of being a stupid zombie who only needs an f/x fix. (Though we all love the great f/x too.) As my husband said, my mind felt like it had just gotten off the treadmill. (You know, that feeling like you're still walking even though you're standing in place.) Nolan's best yet...

Marie Lu said...

I didn't know you had a blog--I'm a big fan of THE MAZE RUNNER and am so glad I just stumbled on here! As for INCEPTION, that movie easily became one of my favorites of all time. I actually didn't know Christopher Nolan directed it until I went home in an inspired stupor and looked it up. Like you said, pure genius. Why can't all movies be like that!

Also loved your comment about creating and perceiving as related to writing a book. It's extremely true.

Anyway, I'll definitely be following your entries on here, and I'm waiting anxiously for SCORCH TRIALS! Much love! <3

Valerie Ipson said...

You know the scene in the elevator-that was one of the coolest effects I've seen in a long time.

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