Thursday, July 15, 2010


Silly interweb dust-ups are a dime a dozen, and this one is so ridiculously trivial it's barely worth going into--and why should I bother, since Dennis Cozzalio does such a fine job of breaking it down?--but in brief, New York film critic David Edelstein wrote a mildly negative review of Christopher Nolan's new film Inception, and a lot of fanboys are pissed off.

The back story is, Edelstein was one of the first major critics to pan Nolan's The Dark Knight two years ago, and since many comic book fans were convinced that movie would somehow legitimize their geekiest obsessions, they felt as though they had been personally attacked.  And though most of them haven't seen Inception yet--it opens tomorrow--they still feel some sort of gratitude to Nolan, as though he validated their lives.

Which is just kind of pathetic, and many of Nolan's defenders are doing him no favors (the word they're tossing around most frequently to describe Inception is "Kubrickian", which is utterly senseless on many levels), but the thing is, I kind of understand their enthusiasm.  Whatever else can be said about The Dark Knight, it remains one of the few big blockbusters in recent movie history to be any good at all.  It was well-written (if a bit self-important), mostly well-directed and perfectly cast down to the smallest roles.  It understood what it wanted to be, and set out to do it.

That wouldn't seem like such a big deal, but dear God, have you tried going to a movie lately?  Expectations couldn't be high, from either audiences or the filmmakers themselves, for a remake of a thirty-year-old sword and sorcery epic (Clash Of The Titans) or an adaptation of a mostly forgotten TV show (The A-Team) or a disposable romantic comedy (Knight And Day), yet time and again, audiences are expected to sit through things that fail to display even a baseline competence. 

Most people aren't looking for life-altering experiences when they go out for a night at the movies, but they expect to be entertained.  Inception may not reinvent the wheel, but it doesn't look like a thousand other movies, and it's understandable that audiences may have unreasonable expectations for it.  In the middle of a drought, even a single drop of rain refreshes.