December 15, 2013
Inception and the Matrix Final Paper
A lot can be said about a movie based on the genre it is part of. Inception and The Matrix are arguably both some of the best science fiction films ever made. The way both movies correlate in many different ways makes this comparison possible. Both are futuristic movies and technology is an important aspect of each one. There is also a common focus on an awakening of the human condition. Both movies go hand in hand in the realization that we have lost contact with reality, living our lives through electronic devices rather than real human interactions.
Both movies have to do with worlds where the existence of reality is questioned and the limits between what is our perceived reality and what is actually real are unclear. The matrix portrays a future in which the world that most individuals see as “reality” is in fact a fabricated computer space called The Matrix, constructed by sentient machines to maintain humans under control. “Matrix is the wool that has been pulled over your eyes–that you are a slave. (Ebert).” Meanwhile, Inception is more concerned with human psychology. The main character named Dom Cobb is a thief whose job is to infiltrate the subconscious of people in order to collect information. These two movies are often criticized for following the same structure. I would agree with this because the first part of both movies is basically exposition to the ideas presented by both films; the second part relies on action scenes and great special effects.
The matrix’s story was based on a fictitious realm. Neo is trying to wake humans up from the Matrix where they are held as slaves working for the system. The director greatly pointed out that humans are being ignorant by disregarding the fact that the way society functions is in fact a plan to control all individuals. On the other hand, Inception is still a science-fiction movie but still based on reality. The topic of dreams is real, which makes it more interesting for the audience but also more frustrating if not understood. For instance, many people that I know did not fully appreciate Inception due to not understanding some of the components of the film.
Another similarity that correlates with science-fiction film genre is that both are facing enemies in their respective alternate worlds. In inception Cobb and his team face rejections while in the matrix, agents have to be fought. The particular thing about Inception is that the villains are its own characters minds, which becomes a psychological challenge. For Neo and its crew, it is a different story. They have to fight the agents, which are probably some of the most talented fighters I have ever seen in any science fiction movie.
When it comes to the story line, I thought Inception’s was more interesting and compelling to watch. Now that more than a decade has passed since the Matrix was created, we can judge the film as just the story rather than just focusing on the mind blowing special effects. Looking at the basic story line, the Matrix had an interesting start that definitely captivates the audience’s attention. It also had a good plot twist towards the beginning. Neo wakes up from the Matrix and turns into this generic action hero, magically learns how to fight and becomes a professional killing machine. Even though the Matrix had a good start and mind-blowing special effects for its time, after the plot is revealed the story just turns into a generic action movie with entertaining and intense combat scenes. Inception’s story line was so complex and hard to follow that it almost did not make sense… almost. I found it really amusing and entertaining to feel challenged by the plot and having to think in order to understand the story.
One of differences that I noted in the films is that both of the main characters have very different backgrounds and are also presented in very different ways. The protagonist named Dom Cobb is a thief whose job is to infiltrate the subconscious of people in order to collect information. He is presented as a very clever and motivated character. Neo on the other hand was basically asked to play a person with no personality, show no emotions, which is perfect for a movie like the matrix where humans are held as slaves in the society we live in.
Both motion pictures utilize machines in order to access their respective alternate realities. Inception utilizes a machine that allows Cobb and his team to access someone’s subconscious while they’re sleeping. Meanwhile, Neo uses a technological device that allows humans out of the Matrix to learn anything in less than a few seconds. He uses it to learn Kung Fu and Trinity utilizes it to learn how to pilot a helicopter.
The matrix and Inception also use slow motion throughout action scenes in order to make it look more impressive and to make it more memorable. For instance, during one scene in the movie Inception, Cobb’s crew is in a van in the first layer of dreams, which is the closest to reality. We can see that the van is falling of the bridge slow motion since the director tried to emphasize the fact that in a dream everything is longer than in reality. This technique is used multiple times throughout the film. In the matrix, slow motion is used in order to make the action scenes more intense and appreciable. A famous example is when Neo dodges the bullets from the agent at the top of the building by putting his back almost against the floor while still standing (see Figure 1).
Another big aspect that is existent in both films is teamwork. Working together to accomplish common goals is a significant feature in Inception. For instance, Cobb has to build a team in order to be prepared for his last job. He needs very specific people with particular skills. “Cobb assembles a team, and here the movie relies on the well-established procedures of all heist movies. We meet the people he will need to work with: Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Leivtt), his longtime associate; Eames (Tom Hardy), a master at deception; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a master chemist. And there is a new recruit, Ariadne (Ellen Page), a brilliant young architect who is a prodigy at creating spaces. (Ebert).” This kind of professionalism in making a team is very similar to the one in the Matrix. Neo and both Trinity and Morpheus play a huge role in chasing the agents and protecting “the one”, Neo.
Inception and the Matrix are both prime science-fiction films that are futuristic and entertaining. With many similarities, these two movies are easily comparable and may be competing for the best science fiction movie of the last 15 years. Both are centered on the awakening of human nature and the use of technology in a fantastic and almost unthinkable way.
Ebert, Roger. “Inception.” All Content. Elbert Digital LLC, 14 July 2010. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Munro, Shaun. “10 Incredibly Innovative Uses Of Slow Motion In Movies.” WhatCulture RSS. What Culture LTD, 7 June 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
Ebert, Roger. “The Matrix.” All Content. Elbert Digital LLC, 31 Mar. 1999. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.