Saturday, February 26, 2011
I'll be blunt. This is one of the most disappointing films I've ever seen in my life. I expected something at least somewhat brilliant, not because of the praise, but because of the premise. I've always enjoyed reading The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of my favorite novels of all time, and I figured this movie would be cool, too, because it deals with the metaphysical aspects involved with dreams.
What I got instead was pseudo-intellectualism. Why do I say that? Because this movie just says stuff like "This is the way it works," without explaining why. I know Soft Science Fiction does that, but even that stays within the boundaries of reality to some degree. This film doesn't. It's not even hard to create a story based around dreams while still being realistic. This shit isn't even hard to study, either. Just takes a bit of basic knowledge about sleep psychology and you're good to go. I'll explain a bit.
First off, simply put, there are four stages of sleep, each getting deeper, then a little higher again before going into a stage called R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is your dream state. It paralyzes your muscles, so you can't move during sleep. And there is only one state. One. There is no such thing as multiple levels of dreaming. It's just R.E.M. sleep. That's it.
But that's not all. The imagery in your dreams is brought out through this part of the brain in the limbic system near the center of the brain called the hippocampus, which helps control short and long-term memory. Since the images come from your memory, you can only bring up what you've experienced in the past, meaning you can only dream of what you know. And since you are unconscious during the R.E.M. state, you can't think of anything to create within your dreams. This also means dreams have no celestial meaning or anything like that.
And I'm just basing this one on logic here, but considering the fact that you obtain dream imagery from your mind, wouldn't it actually be easier to install a memory than to take one out? After all, I'd imagine all one would have to do is plant a chip on the hippocampus or inject something into it or something like that, and wallah! New dreams. Now extracting them. . . I've no idea how we could do that.
With just that knowledge, you can pick this movie the fuck apart. I usually enjoy it, but it irritates me here because it happens to often, and considering people praise this movie, I hope nobody follows its stupidity.
Besides all of that, this movie didn't even blow my mind, something else I was expecting. Maybe it's because I've read enough of Philip K. Dick's work to not be surprised by this kind of thing anymore, but I found this movie to be incredibly predictable either way. I saw almost every single twist and turn in the story coming from more than a mile away.
Anyway, I don't recommend it unless you want to turn your brain off, don't care about sleep psychology, and haven't read a Philip K. Dick novel or short story or The Lathe of Heaven yet (probably not necessary to follow that, but it's probably better to). In fact, yeah, fuck this movie and go read a more mind-bending and amazing book instead.