Is It OK to Not Watch the New Inception Trailer?


The latest trailer for Christopher Nolan's megabudget mindf*ck Inception arrived in theaters Friday ahead of Iron Man 2. It was also online if you cared to visit one of the film's multitude of corresponding sites, where I'm told some video-game playing hijinx will allow viewers access to the clip. It's slowly but surely trickling out elsewhere, including right here at Movieline, but before we get too carried away, let's think about this for a second: Is it really doing ourselves (let alone the movie) any favors to succumb to the hype? As much as I want to see Inception, do I have to watch a trailer that gives everything away?

Not to turn this into a bitchfest about contemporary trailers' tendency to overshare. I don't really believe this to be true, anyway; last week's look at the trailer for the original I Spit on Your Grave demonstrated the type of bloat that was actually common to most previews of its era. (Notable exception: The Shining, which to this day remains perhaps the best -- i.e. most compact, impactful and memorable -- trailer ever.) Furthermore, from last year's extraordinary Serious Man spot to last Friday's other big teaser for Super 8, filmmakers and studios are in fact getting more creative in what they manage to both communicate and withhold from the audience.

So when, after a year of picking up periodic fragments of Inception's closely guarded narrative and visual concept, I finally am permitted by Warner Bros. to "know what the film is about" (in the hyperventilating parlance of geeks everywhere who obligingly passed the details along), why am I supposed to be excited about this? If the cryptic secrecy of the whole enterprise was what fed its appeal to date, why would any new disclosure(s) besides the completed film itself be anything but dissatisfying? What's the point of suddenly scrambling for some version of the film digested by marketers?

Listen: This isn't The Back-Up Plan, folks. The best way to regard the care and consideration Nolan applies to his work is with discipline of your own. The same goes for guys like Terrence Malick, Paul Thomas Anderson and maybe even J.J. Abrams (if the Super 8 bit is any indication), all of whom will have new teasers, trailers and other clips for upcoming work that I would imagine can only improve the less you know about it. It even applies to comedies like Due Date or whatever Sacha Baron Cohen is cooking up, in which of course every useful joke in the whole film is exhausted in two and a half minutes or less.

Again, not to complain. Maybe the answer is to be consistent and skip trailers altogether. But my expectations for Inception are too high -- as I hope yours are -- to risk undermining the final product. We've waited this long; what's another two months to see it in the full format and context Nolan intended? Seriously, I'm asking.


  • I haven't watched it myself, and won't, but in arguing about it with friends and readers I get the sense that for some the foreplay is a part of the overall act. Part of the fun.
    I think there's a fine line between foreplay and the usual studio marketing stupidity, but you can never tell which it's going to be in advance, unless it's a control freak like Kubrick who commands every step of the experience.
    With Inception I watched one of the teasers last year knowing I'd be able to forget any specific sense of it before the film came out, but to borrow a phrase from the Coen brothers, at this point I'd prefer to accept the mystery.

  • tom says:

    watched the trailer several times (because i'm seriously excited for this thing), and i'm not so sure it does give too much away. it's true we get a bit more sense of what the story is, but there's still a lot of mystery surrounding it. we just get more visuals and more of what the title means. personally i felt the new synopsis gave away more than the new trailer

  • Juancho says:

    Is the trailer the same as the TV spot that was airing over the weekend? I'm curious, because I was a) shocked to see a TV spot for it this early and b) shocked to see one that, to me, didn't really give much away.
    My Mom is not a devout filmgoer, but she loved Dark Knight. When I made her put the sound back on and we watched the ad, she asked me- "So what is this about?" I basically described it as The Matrix crossed with The Thomas Crown Affair.

  • Glass says:

    Lol, the trailer gives nothing away. It gives the basic plot because it's designed to bring in general audiences, not people like us who are going to see it anyway.

  • bierce says:

    Yeah, take that, Inception! And the next time Kyle tries to embed a trailer on Movieline and all we get is a black box saying "Content Removed", we'll post another article saying no one needs to watch that stinkin' trailer either! You've been warned!

  • orlando says:

    I tried so hard not to watch this trailer. When I got it while waiting at the movies, I had to close my eyes and think stuff so I wouldn't listen to a word. But yesterday it caught me by surprise again at the theater. I closed my eyes, but still could hear more about the plot. I still don't really know that much about it (the TAGLINE embodies what that trailer says perfectly), but I could see a couple of sequences that looked excellent.
    I succesfully did this last year with Up in the Air, skipping any trailer or teaser or anything. The only way I found out the plot was when a friend, in a group, said it out loud. It was a fresh experience though.

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