Watson reports: My Dog Mommy and Dog Daddy went to the movies last night. They asked me to write a review of the movie they saw. How could I do that? I didn't see it. I wasn't there.
"That's OK," said my Dog Mommy. "I slept through most of it. Maybe Dog Daddy can write it. He stayed awake for almost the whole thing."
I told them they could write something for my blog. After all, any movie you can sleep through must be a pretty relaxing movie, and so I'm all for it. So here's Dog Daddy's movie review. Unlike me, he's not a very experienced writer, so please cut him some slack.
My wife and I fell for all the hype and went to "Inception," a monstrosity of a film. My wife fell asleep, but I tried very hard (in vain) to get into it. It turns out her choice was better than mine.
I admire the screenwriter's mission: to venture into the wonders of Dreamland, a place everyone has gone before, but which few truly understand. But I've gone nighty-night every night for nearly 63 years without dreaming ANYTHING remotely resembling any level of any of the dreams portrayed in this movie.
My biggest problem with the film was its basic premise: can one person get inside another person's dreams? Probably not, except in the mind of a movie producer with lots of cash and little substantive knowledge or interest in sleep science, but OK, let's pretend they can. But how do they do it? A bunch of supposedly brilliant characters explain it to each other. Their explanations are nestled somewhere between "sophomoric" and "incoherent." Oh well, accepting this dubious premise and the incomprehensible, hocus pocus explanation, now add this concept: that in your dreams, time is compressed as compared to real time. Yeah, ok, sure, I'll buy that, too. I haven't put a stopwatch to my own dreams, but what the hell? But even accepting all this, then (the characters' logic persists), it follows that, if there's a dream within someone's dream, this "second" dream compresses time even further than the first one, and the dream within the dream within the dream even moreso. Not only that: these smart people can calculate the magnitude of this compression. Cool! I didn't copy the formula for this calculation in the movie theater, but I think it was something like this:
x2 + 4 y2 -9z3 ± √d9 + √π2 = 1,000,000 BS
This calculation, in turn, will permit them to set precisely the time limits for how long they can tinker around in the brain of the poor schmuck they've drugged to they can implant their own hare-brained idea into his hare-brained brain. It's a fancy way of doing what they used to to in old pseudo thrillers, by having the entire squadron "synchronize their watches," even though we never knew exactly why they did it.
OK, I'll give the writers a pass on all of this hokum, too, but the effect of this pretend calculation is catastrophic: after we're two hours into the movie, suddenly everything is going VERY slowly. We watch this van, perhaps in Dream No. 1, who knows, trying to fall toward the water after crashing and plummeting off a bridge. But despite the hyperkinetic action going on at Dream Nos. 2-4, the van's plunge into the icy waters is so slow as to be imperceptible (see formula, above, and special effects coordinator --long gone--, for explanation), my wife remains sound asleep despite the ear-splitting noise and chaos of Dream Nos. 2-4, and I'm asking myself whether it will take all night for that damned van to hit the water so we can finally all go home. We're supposed to be thrilled by plot development that is proceeding at a snail's pace in Dream No. 1, while Dreams 2-4 are going too fast for us to figure out who is who, or what the hell is going on, or why. They have, I readily acknowledge, accurately depicted that aspect of dreaming in which what is occurring makes no sense whatsoever (although usually I can get this for free and I can pop my own popcorn with real buttery flavoring).
All of this nonsense would be tolerable if we gave a crap about the characters, but who within the story is worthy of whatever crap we have to give? Here were the choices:
- The dead but still somewhat homicidal wife?
- The cute chick who was supposed to be brilliant, but just kind of sits there and looks vaguely fetching on three or four incoherent dream levels as the plot unfolds?
- The guy who tags along but we've forgotten who he his or why he's there? (Note: there are several of these.)
- The rich guy whose brains are being rented out as an Interstate Freeway and shooting gallery for the other rich guy's nefarious purposes?
- The other rich guy with nefarious purposes?
- Leonardo? Forget it. He's like Captain Ahab chasing the whale, but at least Ahab had the good grace to plunge to his death with the harpooned whale in tow.