Inception will be considered a classic sci-fi film along with films like Blade Runner, The Matrix and 2001 A space Odyssey. Often such classics are not immediately appreciated when they are first released, but I think Inception has this instant recognition. Classic movies are few and when one suddenly appears it is a joy we wait years for.
The zero gravity fisticuffs scene in Inception was a cool homage to the Matrix. Yet this scene was done with physical special effects and not strictly CGI. There was a hallway set that actually rotated. Give me human stunt work over CGI anytime. That gave the scene gravitas and believability. And that is what makes Inception way different then the Matrix. Where the Matrix was strictly sci-fi speculation, with Inception we are dealing with actual reality. Dreams.
Dreams are real, we all dream. Lucid dreaming is real. Even animals dream. Science does not understand why dreams are essential to cognizance, but we’d die without dreaming. We often don’t remember our dreams, but when we do, they can affect our awakened state of mind. I have been influenced by some of my dreams when I recall them. If Inception is about planting ideas in the subconscious, such things happen daily in reality. We dream about our worries, our hopes, the nightmare from the scary movie we watched a few nights ago. Advertising and marketing are skillful at planting subliminal messages into our subconscious. Inception happens everyday.
The true premise of the movie is the ability of another sentient consciousness to enter our dreams and communicate with us. Can this actually happen? Not with current technology. But our dream state can open us to communication with other sentient beings. Not physical beings, but separate consciousness nevertheless. This happens so often nobody really notices.
The Bible often tells of God speaking to his prophets in a dream. King Solomon was spoken to in a dream with the famous question, what would you want if I granted you any wish? The living often encounters the dead in their dreams. It usually is only a dream, but once in awhile it may be a true encounter with the deceased, to comfort the living. I know stories of a dream immediately preceding someone’s death, or just after and the individual died and they were unaware of the death. Crisis apparitions. Many had premonitions of the future in their dreams that came true. And not only holy spirits may visit our dreams.
Our dreams may on occasion lead us into a supernatural experience. Since a dream is only a dream we can’t take all dreams seriously…unless it offers information we could never possibly know. When we dream, we may not always be resident in our personal subconscious but transcend the world of time and space. We don’t need the movie technology of Inception to accomplish this.
The ending of Inception leaves the open question…is Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Cobb awake or is he still in a dream? I’ll offer this alternative speculation. What if Cobb’s deceased wife Mal was right all along? What if she accurately understood they were still stuck in limbo? Perhaps it took more then one “death” to free anyone from limbo? The whole movie could be Cobb’s dream from the beginning, as he remains stuck in a dream coma while his wife is now awake and with her children. If so, then Cobb’s totem would not be an accurate test of a dream, since this would all be his own dream. Totems only work in another’s dream. During their last conversation together in limbo, Mal asked Cob how real would it be that he is a dream spy being chased by goons? Director Nolan at least gave some credence (in Cobb’s mind) thru his projection of Mal that she might have might been right jumping off that building.