Last night I saw INCEPTION, the new SF movie about dreams, reality, transnational energy monopolies, tortured father-son struggles, fugitive con men, murderous suicidal wives, and half a dozen other things. The plot is very complicated. I don't want to give any of it away in spoilers, so here are my general impressions, for whatever they're worth:
The plot is unusually complicated.
I was absorbed throughout the entire movie. At times I was also lost because:
The plot is really complicated.
Some of the film is moving: specifically, the parts involving Leonardo DiCaprio's family.
Ariadne's involvement, motivation, and quickness at understanding Cobb (faster than people who have known him for years -- in fact, almost instantly) make no sense. But they are necessary because she is necessary to explain things to, because:
The plot is amazingly complicated.
Leonardo DiCaprio turns in a heartfelt performance.
There is way too much shooting, being shot at, and fleeing shooting people on foot, in cars, on skis, and in null gravity. Way, way too much.
I recommend the movie, even though its central ideas could have been explored better IF:
The plot had not been so extremely complicated.
INCEPTION is, in microcosm, the state of much current SF. It is so complex and self-referential that much time is spent figuring out what is happening, rather than inhabiting what is happening. Is this good or bad? I guess that depends why you like stories. If you want them to be puzzles, then INCEPTION is brilliant. If you want them to be reflections of human experience, then INCEPTION is still good but not as good as it could have been if the film maker, Christopher Nolan, had kept things a bit simpler (for one thing, characters could then have spent less time giving us info dumps). However, judging from the enthusiastic audience reaction last night, puzzles are what is wanted. People applauded at the end. Lobby comments afterward were positive (I eavesdropped). This is, apparently, what SF means to a mass audience.
And I, too, am glad I saw it. However, for me, less would have been more.