Inception’s Legacy: Discussion

There are only a handful of films made each year that get passed on through the next years with our stamps of approval on them. Some win Golden Globe awards, some win Oscar’s, some don’t take home any jewelry but are still widely considered “great.” But as years pass, even fewer films are passed on to the next generation; a generation needing to be “educated” on what a quality film consists of.

It is of the highest honor to be narrowed into the next category – one that all but assures that the movie in question will be seen again and again for ages to come. People of all different ages, beliefs, and interests, either by peer pressure or by individual curiosity, will see the film and then pass it on to their offspring. It is called a classic.

11 years ago brothers Andy and Larry Wachowski wrote and directed The Matrix, the first of three films in a trilogy that deals with the meaning of reality. Through its mix of storytelling, fighting sequences and visual style, The Matrix established a trend that action films would try to emulate for the next several years. Not only does that film’s concepts and story still have people scratching their heads in amazement or bewilderment, the way in which the film was made changed cinema forever.

Over a decade later, Christopher Nolan makes Inception, a film that instantly draws comparisons to The Matrix, due to their similarities in theme, style and tone. The theme that the two films share is in their attempts to understand the concept of reality. Stylistically, the films share similarities in their penchant for eye popping visuals and effects as well as expansive camera work. In tone, both films have inclinations towards interwoven, non-linear story-lines where the dénouement transpires by way of a “twist” in the story or through some other hook.

Furthermore, Inception, like The Matrix before it, has pioneered wholly original scenes and concepts that are begging to be parodied for ages to come. Think of the scene with Cobb and Ariadne in the exploding marketplace, or when Paris folds up on top of itself, or the hotel and elevator scenes. These are all purely original moments in the film that new filmmakers will reference and play off of in the years ahead. Like The Matrix introduced “bullet time” Inception introduces fight scenes in shifting gravity.

Some have gone so far in their comparisons of the two films to say that Inception is the “new Matrix.” Others say that The Matrix has handed the baton off to Inception, the new standard for creative and artful filmmaking. Which raises the question: where does Inception stand in the history of sci-fi and the history of film in general? The Matrix has become a classic, one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time and number 39 on Empire’s list of greatest films of all time. Is Inception bound to become a classic as well?

A classic is something that only time can decide. Just like a book, the way a movie feels watching it ten or twenty years later determines its status amongst the great films of our generation. The questions have to be asked: does it invoke the same feelings and emotions every time you watch it? Can you watch the film multiple times and have it still hold your interest? Does the story hold the interest of the next generation of viewers?

What do you think?

Is Inception the new standard bearer at least as far as action movies go? What about its place amongst sci-fi or psychological thrillers? Where does it stand in filmography as a whole?

In your opinion, what makes a film a classic piece of cinema?

And thinking more short term, will the film or any of the cast and crew be nominated for Academy Awards or for Golden Globes?

Also, have any of you seen this?

Please comment, share, and discuss.

About Micah Lovell

Once I ate four brussell sprouts just to say that I could actually do it. O.K. I lied. I only managed to eat two.
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1 Response to Inception’s Legacy: Discussion

  1. Adam Miller says:

    Inception will definitely be in the cinemagraphic hall of fame. The art work is just too innovative and cohesive to not recognize the brilliance. What I love about Nolan so much is that he is always being innovative and finding new ways to tell a story while not resorting to easy ways like CGI or stunt men. Joseph Gordon-Leavitt admitted that they only used a stunt man for one 2 second shot and the rest he did on his own without any CGI. That’s remarkable work. Much better in my opinion than the Matrix and the blurry graphics that filled the gaps between one amazing sequence to the next.

    Children of Men contains a similar aspect of cinemagraphic genius with the two incredible long uncut scenes (one of them being a car chase scene). I think that alone should cause that movie to stand out as a classic. Only time will tell. Still, others have tried to pull it off but failed miserably, like Death Sentence starring Kevin Bacon. The lengthy scenes in that don’t add to the story and are too obvious. I didn’t even realize I was watching a 15 min long uncut camera shot in Children of Men until the second viewing. It was that well done.

    One of the things that makes both Children of Men and Inception so great is that they are hearkening back to a day when cinematography was an art form, not just a means to make money. Go back to Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid and you’ll see long camera shots, real life action, and beautify composition. That’s what stands out with Nolan’s work and that is why he deserves recognition at the Oscars.

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