Inception

Having had more than a week to think about the “must-see” movie of this year, I still like it quite a bit. The science is ridiculous, of course, and not always consistent. But as an entertaining thriller, it’s yet another feather in Christopher Nolan’s cap. He has yet to make a bad movie.

What’s really interesting to me is that, over the last year, we’ve had no less than five very good science fiction movies hit the screen. This after a long long wasteland in which no good science fiction movies were being made (roughly between The Matrix and WALL-E). But Avatar, Moon, District 9, Star Trek and Inception were all good, even great. They featured novel ideas, good writing and great plotting. And you can even see the fore-runners of this surge in movies from the past few years like the aforementioned WALL-E and the vivid Children of Men.

I’m sure TIme Magazine will come up with some reason why this micro-trend is happening. Back when Potter and LOTR were dominating the box office, TIme ran a front-page article claiming that the stampede to fantasy movies was a cultural attempt to escape from the stress of the War on Terror. I’m not making this up. Apparently, when both series were being green-lighted, the makers knew terrorism was going to be a big deal and we’d need something to escape to. It never occurred to Time, Inc. that people will go to good films no matter what the genre and it just so happened that the two best franchises were in the fantasy genre.

So I’m sure the recent spate of sci-fi success will stimulate someone to claim its escapism from the economy or something. Maybe. But I think it’s just that people like good movies. And the recent sci-fi films have been very good.

Post Scriptum: On the planes to and from Oz, I caught the movies Kick-Ass and Iron Man 2. The former was much better than I expected. I know there was a lot of controversy over the depiction of a 12-year-old girl hurling profanity and slaughtering rooms full of bad guys (Roger Ebert hated the movie because of this). But the depiction was so ridiculously over the top, I couldn’t take it seriously and just enjoyed the ride. The latter also exceeded my low expectations, although I wasn’t that enamored of it. I’m getting a little tired of bigger badder CGI smash-em-ups. The best things about Iron Man 2 were the interactions of the characters. More of that and less explosions for movie 3 would do nicely, thank you.

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