After slogging through a long week at work with a long slog of work ahead of us for the weekend, the zwoman and I went to dinner and a movie on Friday night. She wanted to see "Inception," and it was playing in an IMAX theater at a convenient time, so I ponied up the $38 for two tickets. I don't recall ever being so bitter over spending $38.
The alleged IMAX theater in Kip's Bay isn't a real IMAX. It's just a big movie screen. Remember when we were kids and all theaters had only one screen and it was really big? Like the old theater on DoG Street? Imagine that with a sharper picture and a louder sound system. That isn't IMAX. Turns out the "real IMAX" theater is in Lincoln Center.
The dearth of IMAXdom was an initial perturbance, but I settled into my seat and got over it quickly. Until the movie started.
"Inception" takes ideas from "The Matrix," "The Cell," and "Total Recall" and combines them to form the most ill-conceived sci-fi movie since "Jumpers."
I can deal with sci-fi movies if they're well done. My only requirement is that the movie set out some underlying rules for the forthcoming supernatural shitshow, and that it stick to those rules. "Inception," like "Jumpers," has no rules.
I watched "Jumpers" for free at home on demand. Afterwards I wanted those 88 minutes of my life back and I was insulted by the movie's stupidity. "Inception" sprawls out for 148 minutes, almost two and a half hours of inconsistent plot and tiresome clenched-jaw intensity by every male actor on the screen. It's even more insulting that "Jumpers" and I'm still livid that I'm out $38.
The plot is: Leonardo DiCaprio and his buddies have this machine that allows you to experience shared dreams with other people while they are plugged into the machine. They use this machine to steal information from people through their dreams. One of his jobs gets botched and he has to fix it so that he can return to the United States to be reunited with his kids because right now he's suspected of murdering his wife so he has to live abroad, but if he fixes the botched job he can clear the murder charges.
It's as terrible as it sounds. There appear to be almost no rules to how the dream machine works, and the few rules set out early on are broken throughout the movie. It's nonsense. I realize that sci-fi is almost definitionally nonsensical, but this thing is beyond the nonsense pale.
The only way they could have salvaged this mess would be if in the end, when DiCaprio faces an elderly and lyophilized Ken Watanabe, he gets the secret information he was supposed to get from Watanabe at the beginning of the movie. A dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream within a dream. That's right. The only way to make this story remotely acceptable would be if six dreams were involved.
Instead we get predictable puke. I give it one bitter pill out of ten.