Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cobol Industries

Cracked's article about dangling plot threads in famous movies has a few really good ones -- like how all the events of The Wizard of Oz come from the threat against Toto which never gets addressed or resolved. But their lead one, about Inception, is bogus. (Warning: spoilers for Inception follow.)

The problem: early in the movie, Cobb is being chased by hit-men sent by an angry Cobol Industries. Then the story gets focused on the actual inception, and then it never comes back to the Cobol threat. Cobb goes home to his family as if Cobol's hit-men, who could find him in Mombasa, couldn't find him at his family home in the USA.

I can see three reasons why this is bogus:
  1. We are already ready to accept that Sato is so powerful he can, with one call, not only end a manhunt on Cobb in the entire United States, but have this fact take effect immediately at all the various law enforcements and customs agencies, so that Cobb can just walk off the plane and it's like nothing ever happened. But we don't imagine he can deal with the Cobol threat, too? Heck, earlier in the movie he bought an entire airline just to book the first class cabin and place a trusted flight attendant. Because it "seemed neater." I have no problem assuming Sato can deal with Cobol. Sure, Cobol's a rival, but that doesn't mean he can't lean on them.

  2. Okay, I know the ending is intentionally ambiguous, and I know some people want to believe that there was a happy ending. But let's face facts. First, what are the odds that Sato really survived, having already been dead once? I don't think a five-minutes-later heart-shock reverses the "dead inside a deeply sedated dream" thing. Second, in the first level of the dream, they never got Cobb out of the van, so there's every reason to believe he drowned in that level of the dream, which again means he didn't make it. Third, I think it goes a bit beyond creative license to have the children, James and Phillipa, be in the same location, in the same approximate positions, at apparently the same age, and in the same clothes, when Cobb gets home, as in that moment he kept reliving in his dreams. There's no way to make that final scene really make sense other than it being Cobb's dying dream. Sorry, but that's just how it is.

  3. And if you don't like those reasons... well, it can't be hard for someone to crash the servers at Cobol Industries. Just feed them some invalid EBCDIC.

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