To me, Inception > Interstellar and, in a different list, The Joker movie with Batman > Batman Begins > The Dark Knight Rises. And I voted for Inception.
I make two lists because I don't know how to combine both. Also, apart from those movies, I saw Memento long ago, but it was too long ago and I'd need to watch it again to have it fresh. And many of the other options in the poll are on my long list of 'to watch' films.
Inception wasn't a bad film, but you have to admit it was kind of silly. There was a ton of pointless exposition to explain what was basically a reimagining of the plot to Nightmare on Elmstreet trying to sound profound.
About this, I don't see any similarities between Inception and Nightmare on Elm Street besides both mixing dreams and reality.
WARNING: Nightmare on Elm Street spoilers ahead.
Nightmare on Elm Street is a film that doesn't just throw a monster that you know it's perfectly false at your face in order to scare you. Instead, it shows you that, if you go to sleep that night, you'll have nightmares and those nightmares can be dangerous. That is, you are not scared of Freddy Krueger, but of going to sleep and dreaming about Freddy Krueger. In other words, the horror element of the movie is real and is inside your own mind, and not only that: it's in a part of your mind that you generally can't control, so you cannot even avoid it. So dreams = terror, which I think it's a pretty, pretty clever concept for a horror film.
WARNING: Inception spoilers ahead.
If Nightmare on Elm Street was about using dreams to scare people, Inception is about using dreams to manipulate people: dreams = manipulation. The whole movie spins around (pun intended) planting a seed in someone's mind and making it grow as a part of that person's own thoughts. The deeper you plant the seed, the more it roots and the bigger the idea grows, that is, the better you manage to manipulate that person. But you can't get too personally involved in that process, because then it can turn against you and you can get yourself trapped in your own ideas, since that's how the human mind works.
In other words, Inception is a big allegory, and I think it's brilliant as such, just as I think Nightmare on Elm Street is so smart at being a terror movie. But... they're not comparable to each other, in my opinion. I mean, at all. If you take the dreams away from Inception and replace them with any other concept to express the exact same things, there's nothing else that points to a reimagining of Nightmare on Elm Street. Or at least nothing I can think of right now, there may be something that I overlooked, of course. But, if I'd have to compare Inception with any other film, Nightmare on Elm Street would never be the first that'd come to mind.
[...]I didn't care for Inception, though it was extremely gimmicky.[...]
And I'll use this comment to explain why I put Inception (way) over Interstellar. In summary, I think Interstellar is in fact the more gimmicky of the two.
WARNING: Interstellar and Inception spoilers ahead.
Both have something in common: they use sci-fi to express their ideas, and the funny part is that I actually like the sci-fi in Interstellar more than the one in Inception. But, while Inception succeeds at being a good metaphor about manipulation and self-deception, Interstellar falls short of being a good metaphor about love.
I talked before about taking dreams away from Inception, but what could be placed instead? There are indeed lots of concepts that would fit in when depicting the idea of manipulation, but dreams as used in Inception fit not only well, but very, very well. It's a case where the concept used to represent the idea blends perfectly with the idea itself, because there's kind of a quid pro quo between both: they strenghten each other.
In Interstellar, however, the concept of time-travelling and the idea of love are not so connected; it's almost like if they were in two different dimensions of the same film (pun intended again). In Inception, you can't take away the dreams without erasing the whole metaphor of the manipulation, but you can separate the love and space travelling plots in Interstellar and both would still make plenty of sense on their own, because Interstellar is just a generic story about the love of a father and his daughter, mixed with a sci-fi film that takes a somewhat cliché concept (humans needing to find another world to live in) and turns it into an outstanding story about time-travelling and a reflection on everything that we still don't know about the universe.
So, in my opinion, Interstellar has a part that is pretty good and another that is pretty mediocre, and they don't do much for each other when combined (that's why I feel it's more gimmicky than Inception). Inception has also a part that is quite interesting (manipulation) and another that is not impressive at all (dreams), but they do work insanely well together, which is what elevates the whole movie to a higher level to me.
Besides (and this is more a personal complaint that kind of goes apart from the rest of the post), what the fuck was that sudden speech about love in Interstellar? Few times I've seen something so cheap, easy and out of place in a well-made movie, and it took me completely out of the film the first time I saw it. Those specific lines were a terrible scriptwriting decision that should have never been in the final product and, to make it worse, they were put in the mouth of a scientist that was choosing her own feelings over actual facts. Could they have done it worse? That's only my opinion, of course, but... damn.
I'm editing to correct a few grammar issues, but I'd like to add (as a sort of TL;DR) that to me Inception managed to hide the dullness of dreams as a concept (way) better than how Interstellar dealt with the generic feeling of its plot, due to what I explained above.
Last edited by Verter - on 23 November 2020