Study Guide

Inception Production Design

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Production Design

Special Effects: More Special, Less Effect

Nowadays it's all CGI this and CGI that. Why dress a man up in a very gruesome and gritty orc costume when you can just computer generate it? Right, Peter Jackson?

Apparently Christopher Nolan begs to differ, and you might be surprised at what was actually done on set. Take the exploding market place for instance. Surely that's all done on a computer. Surely they wouldn't just blow the set to pieces with air cannons… well, they did.

Nolan also decided to get everything nice and wet during that initial dream scene. Remember when Cobb is dunked in the tub to wake him up and his dream is suddenly filled with water coming from everywhere? Water actually was coming from everywhere. They had enormous water cannons (more cannons!) lined up outside the set shooting approximately ten gajillion gallons of water into it.

Then there's the 100 foot-long rotating hallway that Nolan had constructed for the anti-gravity fight scenes. Wires and CGI must have been much too convenient for Nolan because, if you have the means to create an enormous rotating set piece to simulate zero-g action… why wouldn't you?


Yes really, we're going to talk about the credits. Maybe that sounds a little weird—but we think it's also weird that there are no credits in the beginning of the film. Like none. At all.

We don't even get a movie title until the movie has ended. All we get are company logos and then bam—ocean. Maybe this is to increase the immersive-ness of the film. Maybe Nolan is pointing to the fact that, when we are suddenly taken to an ocean we just accept where we are and we don't question it… just like a dream.

However, we should also spend some time on the end credits, which actually do exist. For the most part they're pretty ordinary, lots of scrolling names and some Hans Zimmer songs. Then, at the very end, we get the Edith Piaf song "No, Je Ne Regrette Rien" which translates to "No, I Regret Nothing." This, as you might recall, is the song that plays in order to signal that the kick is coming, so it's almost as if Nolan is telling us that our dream, the movie, is about to end by finishing with this song.

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