What I’ve Been Watching: Inception & The A Team

Inception-Poster.jpgInception

What to say about Inception that hasn’t be said already… how about:

It’s rubbish!

Just kidding, it’s amazing. However, this review would be a lot more refreshing if I didn’t think so.

It’s often the case with Christopher Nolan films that I like the film the first time I see them and fall in love with them the second.

I’ve only seen Inception once, and it essentially follows this rule. I can see the technical genius of the work: both in terms of the visuals, and pacing of the story. However, to say I fell in love with the characters at the heart of the piece would be overstating the case.

Inception, of course, is set in a world where it’s possible to intrude into people’s dreams in order to extract secrets that would otherwise be kept that way. Cobb (Di Caprio) and his team are then given the almost impossible task of ‘inception’. Instead of taking information, they must plant it so it becomes part of the individual’s consciousness.

The majority of the movie is set in various dreamworlds, which, like The Matrix, allows for plenty of stunning visual effects. Environments folding, bending and rotating as its ‘architect’ demands.

The film’s greatest strength is in its creation of its world: the cinematography and special effects combining perfectly to complement the rules which are gradually revealed to the viewer as the film goes on.

Some of the set pieces in the film are sure to go down in movie history along with T-Rex’s eye looking into the car, the lobby shoot-out, or the Death Star run.

Perhaps what makes it so great is the realisation that no matter how attentively I was watching the movie, I know the second time I watch it I’ll pick up all the details, lines and visual touches I missed the first time. A remarkable, film that’s sure to be remembered as a true classic.

a-team-movie-poster.jpgThe A Team

The latest in a long-line of remakes and reboots comes The A Team, a series with an awful lot of fan affection surrounding it.

I personally never really watched the show, although given its impact on popular culture, it is a show I feel strangely familiar with.

As such, the introduction of the four characters of Hannibal: the planner; B.A. Baracus: the tough guy; Murdock: the mad one; and Face: the smooth con-man felt like meeting old friends, even though I’d never met them. As such, there’s something strangely satisfying about seeing the four of them work to make “a plan come together”.

This premise and comradery between the four of them almost makes up for the messy plotting/pacing of the movie. Almost, but not quite.

In particular, the decision to make this an ‘origin story’ seemed like a fairly unnecessary one. It meant the movie stalled half-way through as they spend all of fifteen minutes screentime in jail before having to break out.

In fact, after the opening scene where they team up for the first time, the film makes the wise decision of skipping forward to four years later. What follows is the story of precisely how the infamous team became fugitives for “a crime they didn’t commit”, something I had little interest in.

Terminator Salvation was another movie which made the same mistake. The future war and future John Connor were always so appealing because we could imagine both the war and the man exactly as we as individuals wanted to.

The infamous “crime they didn’t commit” could have likewise been just as we wanted, regardless of how many details were revealed as the series went on. It’s perhaps a sad reflection on the producers that they didn’t trust the powers of their audience’s imagination to make the crime way more epic than they ever could have captured on screen.

One other issue was the dealing with B.A. Baracus ‘finding religion’ in the movie, and then being encouraged to abandon his pacifist ways so ‘justice to be done.’

It’s difficult to remember such a storyline being handled so poorly. Religion quite literally being treated like a new haircut, something you have and then get rid of at the drop of a razor.

It’s one thing to be a big, dumb, fun, nostalgic thing. It’s quite another to decide to shoehorn in some random Eastern religion, quote Ghandi, and pretend to have something to say about the legitimate use of violence.

Anyway, despite this misstep, it’s still a movie it’s difficult not to get wrapped up in. It perhaps speaks more to the strength of the original show, than it does the execution of this film that this is the case. It’s a movie that neither disappoints nor exceeds expectations. To use the tired cliches: it’s a three star, rental movie.

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2 responses to “What I’ve Been Watching: Inception & The A Team

  1. Regarding Inception, I agree – I liked (not sure about loved) it a lot more the second time around. The details were sharper, the intricacy of plot more tightly woven and the whole thing gave me an even bigger ‘wow’ factor, even though I was expecting the twists and turns. What stopped me loving it, though, was that seeing it a second time exposed the thinness of some of the characters. Quite what the chemist (I forget his name) was all about, I don’t know – his accent, whatever it was (certainly not anything I ever heard in Mombassa) annoyed the crap of me and I felt short-changed by the lack of charcter investment in anyone but Cobb. And then I remembered how long the film was and wondered what on earth filled it. So I don’t quite love it, but I liked it a lot.

  2. For me Inception was more a ‘world’ movie than a character driven one. Much like The Matrix and even Avatar, the appeal was less in terms of getting involved with the lives of the characters and wanting them to be real, but wanting to visit the world they inhabited and explore it for myself.

    I agree there probably could have been more character ‘moments’ but I was happy enough with the main ones having ‘roles’ as oppose to a vast back story that ultimately would have taken away from the pace of the movie and our investment in its world.

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