Inception

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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:41 am

• remember the scene where she says he promised they would grow old together, and he says "We did, you just don't remember", and you see their aging hands clasped together as they walk down some street in limbo? But when he convinced her to kill herself so that she could wake up from limbo, she was still young, so they can't have grown old together.


That's a straight-forward one. They grew old together in the dream limbo, just as the Asian corporate executive does. When they awoke, as mentioned (and shown) in the film, they were still very young, and shortly thereafter, she kills herself.

I have to say that the image of their aged hands clasped together was one of the most affecting and brilliant parts of the film. Caused me to well up for a quick second.

-GM
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Postby dhalgren » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:32 pm

Spoilers


Gandalf'sMother wrote:That's a straight-forward one. They grew old together in the dream limbo, just as the Asian corporate executive does. When they awoke, as mentioned (and shown) in the film, they were still very young, and shortly thereafter, she kills herself.
GM


....but how old did they look when they placed their heads on the train tracks, which is the "kick" they used to return to reality?

I really have to see this on blu-ray, so I can go over scenes and dialogue...the more I've been thinking about it (and it has stuck in my head for nearly a week now) the more it seems to collapse on itself.

I did read an interesting theory that Ariadne was recruited by Miles as a therapist to treat Cobb (and a further refinement of that theory which suggested that the majority of the film was Cobb's dream, with Ariadne performing an inception on him, to get him to return to reality).
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Postby Jnyusa » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:21 pm

dhalgren wrote:....but how old did they look when they placed their heads on the train tracks, which is the "kick" they used to return to reality?


Right, that's what I meant. She was young in that scene. She left limbo before growing old.

I did read an interesting theory that Ariadne was recruited by Miles as a therapist to treat Cobb (and a further refinement of that theory which suggested that the majority of the film was Cobb's dream, with Ariadne performing an inception on him, to get him to return to reality).


That's interesting!

I have to see this again, too. Can't shake the gnawing sense that there's more to it than first appears. All of Nolan's movies are maze-like but this is the only one so far that felt so inscrutable at the end.
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Postby Celebrindae » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:38 am

SPOILERS

Jnyusa wrote:if they create a safe (a hidey hole) so that the mark will put his secret stuff in it, why was the wife putting her totem in a safe that he claims she made? Shouldn't that safe have been the creation of someone else? How else would he get into it to take her totem if he was not the one who created the safe? Or ... was that supposed to be real, i.e. not part of a dream?


When doing extractions, they get the architect to make a safe for the mark to put his secrets in, but there's no reason why Mal, being in control of her own shared dream, couldn't just make one for herself. I figured Cobb was able to work out how to get into it quite easily because he knew her so well (he was pretty much living inside her subconscious, after all), and/or because she wasn't trying to keep it away from him so much as trying to keep it out of her own sight (and thus out of mind), and so didn't bother trying to make it hard to break into.

Jnyusa wrote:remember the scene where she says he promised they would grow old together, and he says "We did, you just don't remember", and you see their aging hands clasped together as they walk down some street in limbo? But when he convinced her to kill herself so that she could wake up from limbo, she was still young, so they can't have grown old together.


I think that maybe they were able to change their appearance in a similar way to how Eames did; they allowed themselves to age normally until they grew old, but returned to their young forms at some point before waking up.

Jnyusa wrote:this is the only one so far that felt so inscrutable at the end.


Personally, I'm quite happy to take the ending at face value; the inception was successful, he returned to RL and got to see his kids, the end. I think that the final shot was just intended as a bit of a tease and as a way to provoke ideas and discussion (mission accomplished). It's clearly meant to be open to interpretation, but I just can't buy the 'he's still dreaming' one. It feels completely wrong to me that, after having spent so much time arguing that the real world is unequivocally better than the dream world, Cobb would accept (or Nolan give us) a happy but artificial dream ending.

BTW, I came across this and thought it was pretty cool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVkQ0C4qDvM
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Postby dhalgren » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:44 am

Celebrindae wrote:It feels completely wrong to me that, after having spent so much time arguing that the real world is unequivocally better than the dream world, Cobb would accept (or Nolan give us) a happy but artificial dream ending.


Ah, but Cobb has also been arguing (through dream-Mal) that the dream is preferable to reality.
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Postby Jnyusa » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:50 pm

What a great link! Thanks, Cel.

Your other explanations are all believable. I just can't shake the feeling of being 'duped' at the end, and that's not really Nolan, you know? Usually his endings are total gut punches. This one was so ... soft.
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Postby Telemachos » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:19 pm

re: Cel's link.... Hans Zimmer has a whole bit of an interview where he talks about this. What makes you ponder is that these notes are literally the first sounds you hear when the movie starts, and if they're the first bars of Piaf -- tremendously slowed down, as if you were layers deep in a dream...... hmmmmm. :)

I'm more and more convinced that there is no objective "truth" to the ending: you determine which outcome makes sense. There are too many little clues and intriguing bits that run counter to each other.
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Postby Celebrindae » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:37 am

Telemachos wrote:there is no objective "truth" to the ending: you determine which outcome makes sense.


Agreed. I'm not trying to say that the 'it's RL' interpretation is the right one, just the one that I find the most convincing. There are certainly other valid, interesting theories that can also be argued for; as I said above, I think that the ending was meant to be ambiguous so as to provoke this kind of debate, which wouldn't be happening if there was one obvious 'truth'.
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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:21 am

dhalgren wrote:Spoilers


Gandalf'sMother wrote:That's a straight-forward one. They grew old together in the dream limbo, just as the Asian corporate executive does. When they awoke, as mentioned (and shown) in the film, they were still very young, and shortly thereafter, she kills herself.
GM


....but how old did they look when they placed their heads on the train tracks, which is the "kick" they used to return to reality?

I really have to see this on blu-ray, so I can go over scenes and dialogue...the more I've been thinking about it (and it has stuck in my head for nearly a week now) the more it seems to collapse on itself.

I did read an interesting theory that Ariadne was recruited by Miles as a therapist to treat Cobb (and a further refinement of that theory which suggested that the majority of the film was Cobb's dream, with Ariadne performing an inception on him, to get him to return to reality).


Oh, right, I forgot about that.

Well, in that case, I believe the whole film takes place in a manufactured (and imperfect) dream inserted into Di Caprios brain. Maybe he is in one of those sleeping rooms in Mumbasa, or a place like it...

-GM
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Postby The_Angel » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:10 pm

What else is a movie, except an idea planted in another person's mind?
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Postby tony789 » Thu Oct 28, 2010 1:50 am

Pretty much what dhalgren said- I'm planning on seeing it at Imax on opening weekend.
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Postby Berhael » Sat Nov 06, 2010 5:24 pm

I watched this for the second time today.




SPOILERS etc.












The first time I saw it, I was convinced (I wanted to be convinced) that the ending was just a tease, that Cobb was back in the real world, where his wife was dead and he finally got to see his children again.

Now, after discussing this with Mr Ber, we've reached the conclusion that the idea of Ariadne as therapist makes sense; the reality we've been led to believe is "real" reality is just another dream, as Mal says at the end, where Cobb is chased by faceless corporations and governments, just like in the dreams they are chased by projections; they are projections of Cobb's guilt. The whole plot "I am on the run, I can't see my children" is reminiscent of a dream. Why on earth wouldn't Miles travel with Cobb's children somewhere outside the USso that they could meet with their father? Also, a little detail: when they're in Mombasa and the corporation's men are chasing him, Cobb runs into an alley that gets so narrow he can barely squeeze out. That is VERY dreamlike too.

The actual inception, which we are told over an over has to be a very simple idea, is the simple phrase Ariadne tells Cobb just before jumping at the end: "don't lose yourself". She plants that in his mind to try and get him out of the dream he believes is reality. He is still mulling that over when he wakes up, and when he gets to his house; that's why he sets the top spinning just before seeing his children.

I'm convinced now that Cobb will eventually wake up, and in that reality, his wife will be alive (she got out when she jumped from that window) and waiting for him.
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Postby Telemachos » Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:33 pm

It seems appropriate to post this here:

http://www.bite.ca/pages/inceptionmouse/


:D
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Postby pippinsqueak » Tue Nov 09, 2010 8:31 am

So Michael Caine was interviewed on the CTV News yesterday morning and was asked about the ending - whether it was a dream or reality. He said, without hesitation or a hint of cunning, that it was reality, that Cobb goes home, and that his character, Professor Miles, never appears in dreams. Don't know how much credence everyone will give to that, but there it is.

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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:33 am

pippinsqueak wrote:So Michael Caine was interviewed on the CTV News yesterday morning and was asked about the ending - whether it was a dream or reality. He said, without hesitation or a hint of cunning, that it was reality, that Cobb goes home, and that his character, Professor Miles, never appears in dreams. Don't know how much credence everyone will give to that, but there it is.

pip


But did that interview actually happen? And was that really Michael Caine?

-GM
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Postby Vanaladiel » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:13 pm

So do you all feel this movie is worth watching at least once?
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Postby Telemachos » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:34 pm

It's absolutely, categorically one of the best of the year.
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Postby hamlet » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:14 am

Telemachos wrote:It's absolutely, categorically one of the best of the year.


Not really.

It's a big budget art house flick, IMO, with an overinflated opinion of itself and the public exacerbates that.

It has the appearance of intelligence and so we glom onto it.

Which is not to say it's a bad flick. I rather enjoyed it and will probably grab up the DVD this weekend to watch, but it sure as hell ain't no great film.
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Postby Telemachos » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:47 am

How is it an art-house flick? It's basically a clever excuse to have lots of cool visuals and action. Or perhaps, putting it another way, while I don't think it's the best film of the year, I think it's one of the better ones... certainly one of the best big-budget ones.
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Postby Gandalf'sMother » Wed Dec 08, 2010 9:59 pm

There was hardly anything art-house about Inception...

-GM
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Postby hamlet » Thu Dec 09, 2010 6:38 am

Telemachos wrote:How is it an art-house flick? It's basically a clever excuse to have lots of cool visuals and action. Or perhaps, putting it another way, while I don't think it's the best film of the year, I think it's one of the better ones... certainly one of the best big-budget ones.


Ok, "art house flick" was a little out of line.

However, I think that the movie took itself far too seriously, or at the very least people have invested far more into the movie than it merits. It's a good, interesting movie, less idiotic than most today, but there really isn't a whole lot to it even if you accept the director's premise that its' a metaphor for movie making. Or even if you accept the common interpretation that the entirety of the movie is a dream and it's an exploration of pop-Jungian concepts.

It's a good movie, but it's hardly great.
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Postby Telemachos » Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:35 am

hamlet wrote:
Telemachos wrote:How is it an art-house flick? It's basically a clever excuse to have lots of cool visuals and action. Or perhaps, putting it another way, while I don't think it's the best film of the year, I think it's one of the better ones... certainly one of the best big-budget ones.


Ok, "art house flick" was a little out of line.

However, I think that the movie took itself far too seriously, or at the very least people have invested far more into the movie than it merits. It's a good, interesting movie, less idiotic than most today, but there really isn't a whole lot to it even if you accept the director's premise that its' a metaphor for movie making. Or even if you accept the common interpretation that the entirety of the movie is a dream and it's an exploration of pop-Jungian concepts.

It's a good movie, but it's hardly great.


Oh, I think we're perhaps more in agreement than when I read your earlier post. Yeah, I don't think there's a ton of depth there -- I saw it as an action film with a bit more heft and thought behind it than most in that genre, instead of a more serious film with significant meaning. I think it's one of the year's best not because it taps deeply into the human condition, but because it's a really well-crafted piece of pop entertainment.

And yes, Chris Nolan is very serious and deliberate as a filmmaker. (Although I do think the end of INCEPTION is him having a bit of fun at the audience instead of an "oh my what is the nature of reality?" question.

But to sum up, and going back to Vanaladiel's question: yes, it's worth a rental. :)
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Postby hamlet » Thu Dec 09, 2010 10:05 am

Telemachos wrote:Oh, I think we're perhaps more in agreement than when I read your earlier post. Yeah, I don't think there's a ton of depth there -- I saw it as an action film with a bit more heft and thought behind it than most in that genre, instead of a more serious film with significant meaning. I think it's one of the year's best not because it taps deeply into the human condition, but because it's a really well-crafted piece of pop entertainment.


With that, I'd agree, but with the added caveat that it's kind of unhappy that Inception was one of the better films to come out. Yes, it's decent pop entertainment, but it's like going to Thanksgiving Dinner and saying the bubble gum you were chewing was the best thing there.

And yes, Chris Nolan is very serious and deliberate as a filmmaker. (Although I do think the end of INCEPTION is him having a bit of fun at the audience instead of an "oh my what is the nature of reality?" question.


Well, I can't really speak to Nolan's track record. The only experience I have with him prior to Inception is the Dark Knight movies and "You wanna see a magic trick?". Quite good, but not exactly stellar in all regards. Talent and promise, just not all there yet for a magnum opus.

But to sum up, and going back to Vanaladiel's question: yes, it's worth a rental. :)


Certianly. Better if you watch it drunk at least once.
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Postby Jnyusa » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:06 pm

IMHO Nolan is one of the best directors out there.

I preordered the DVD and it came yesterday so I watched it for the second time last night, and then again this morning, and I'm going to watch it again now before going to sleep!

In the theatre I misunderstood something critical and it caused me to be completely lost for most of the movie ... I totally misunderstood what the token is for because of something that Arthur said ... but in the second viewing I caught the whole explanation and I 'get it' now.

Also, just btw, I had asked in an earlier post why Cobb and Mal were young when they laid down on the train tracks if they had grown old together in Limbo, but in Cobb's very last version of that memory, it shows their ancient hands clasped together on the tracks. The scene lasts for about two seconds and it didn't register for me in the theatre. The film really does require more than one viewing, I think, and it's so thrilling (for me, at least) that there are directors out there willing to tell complicated stories that need more than one viewing.

Second and third viewing I started to appreciate how complex the time shifting is. For the director to have controlled it so precisely is amazing. It's really a masterpiece of a setting for the idea it presents.

This is the same story that Nolan was telling in Memento, but with the opposite ending. That little question mark at the end isn't for Cobb, it's for the audience. :)
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Postby hamlet » Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:42 am

Well, I got my copy of it over the weekend and sat down to watch it with my mother (with whom I am good friends).

We only got to watch about the first 15 or 20 minutes before we had to stop it, and her only reaction was "What the hell just happened?!"

I'm looking forward to getting her opinion of what went on in that flick, but I fond her initial reaction to the opening to be . . . interesting.
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Postby Frelga » Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:30 pm

Finally saw it. As my son said, they should get an Oscar for the most confusing movie of the year.

Also, Ken Watanabe is my new favorite actor. He projects more bad-A sitting still than the rest of the cast shooting large guns.

As to what happened, there are really two options, as I see it. Either SPOILER Mal was right and they were still trapped in a dream, from which Cobb will now be able to wake up and reunite with Mal /SPOILER, or this is simply a straightforward heist movie with cool effects and a few loose ends and seeming contradictions that the director threw in to confuse the audience (which I consider cheating). Either way, it was great fun to watch, and to argue about it afterward.

So, how many times did SPOILER Cobb and Mal get run over by the train?/SPOILER At least two, it seems - once when they were young and once when they were "old"? And when exactly were they old?
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Postby Telemachos » Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:08 pm

It's a movie that rewards repeat viewings.... there's a lot that you sort of miss the first time around but will pick up on the second.








SPOILERS

Dom and Mal grew old when they went deep down to the seabed of consciousness and lived a lifetime in their self-constructed/self-realized dream. Then Dom came to realize they were still within a dream but Mal didn't, so he planted the idea in her so they could both escape.
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Postby Frelga » Sun Dec 19, 2010 9:15 pm

Telemachos wrote:It's a movie that rewards repeat viewings.... there's a lot that you sort of miss the first time around but will pick up on the second.


That is probably true, and I was going to watch again tonight. On reflection, I realized that it was probably not all that important to me. I mean, it would be fun, but my movie-watching time is severely limited. :D It is sufficiently important to chat about it, though. :D


SPOILERS

Dom and Mal grew old when they went deep down to the seabed of consciousness and lived a lifetime in their self-constructed/self-realized dream. Then Dom came to realize they were still within a dream but Mal didn't, so he planted the idea in her so they could both escape.


Well, yes, but when he did that, when they showed him shouting those lines about the train just as it hits Mal, they are both young. Yet they are also shown walking hand-in-hand as an old couple, and then their aged hands clasped on the tracks. So I assume the train was their kick to get out of the limbo and THEN from the next level?
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Postby Xhen » Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:29 pm

I know I'm late to the party but I only just saw this film for the first time last night. Afterwards, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about it and had to watch it a second time this morning to catch some things that I knew I missed the first time. I liked it a lot and I've purposely avoided reading other interpretations so I have no idea if my interpretation is a common one or not. Needless to say, there are spoilers aplenty ahead.

SPOILERS

I think the whole thing is a dream from beginning to end. Nolan tips us off to this in a number of places but the Mombasa scenes were the most obvious to me. It fits almost perfectly what Nolan sets up as his rules for identifying a dream. There's no evidence of Cobb traveling to Mombasa - he's just suddenly there talking to a man he wants to recruit for his team - and there are things in it that don't quite seem real. For example, Cobb jumps several stories to the ground without being hurt; is chased by the same type of anonymous gunmen who later populate the dreams; finds himself in a restaurant where he is being yelled at by a man in a foreign language he doesn't understand; the walls seem to close in as he tries to escape through a narrow alley; and he is miraculously saved by Saito who just happens to be waiting in the right spot for him in a car. All of this seems very dreamlike and unrealistic, yet this is supposed to be Cobb's reality. Nolan is practically sending up flares here identifying this sequence as a dream yet it must be real if the the rest of Cobb's reality is real because this is where he recruits the thief/forger for his team.

Mal identifies the problems with this "reality" at one point when she points out to him that his alleged reality is a rather fantastic place where he is being chased around the globe by a faceless corporation. The Michael Caine character also tells him to "come back to reality." And when they're in that underground opium den-like basement where all these people are sedated and sharing dreams Cobb is told, "they just want to be woken up. You of all people should understand that."

Cobb is trapped in a limbo of his own creation. All of the members of his team, who just happen to have the perfect combination of skills required to make these dreams within dreams work, are projections of Cobb's subconscious. We are told that the dreams are a truly dangerous place because they are sedated and won't wake up if killed, yet how many hundreds of shots are fired at them with only Saito being hit? And that's only because it serves Cobb's purposes: it allows him to purge his guilt over Mal by saving him. Fischer is killed by Mal which also allows him to go back down to limbo to confront her one last time, yet the dream still allows a loophole for Fischer to be resurrected so Cobb can continue his flight to Los Angeles. Fischer, like everyone else, is a projection who serves only as a puppet of Cobb's subconscious helping provide him a pathway back to a more pleasant dream where he is reunited with his children. Or is Cobb himself the one who's being manipulated?

I believe the only person in the film who is not a projection of his subconscious is Ariadne. She was inserted into the dream to try to get Cobb out, either by his father-in-law (Michael Caine) or his wife Mal who escaped it by jumping to her death. Cobb's wife had been right all along; once they escaped from limbo they were still trapped in a dream. The reason that she knew this was not because Cobb had planted the inception in her head, it was because of the children. A mother would eventually realize that her children, "with all their perfections and imperfections" weren't real. They were shades. Mal knew that her children weren't real which is why she kept pleading with Cobb to escape from the dream and return to their real children.

Cobb refused to accept that he was still in a dream and was convinced that he had planted the idea in her head. When Mal finally couldn't stay any longer and jumped he was racked with guilt and refused to allow himself to see his children, or even their faces. Or perhaps he was afraid that seeing the children would reveal the truth, forcing him to take his own "leap of faith" out of a world he desperately wanted to believe was real.

Ariadne is really the one who is attempting to plant an inception in this film and help lead Cobb out of his dream state. She's the architect of the dreams; she's the one who creates a labyrinth for Cobb that allows him no way out except to go deeper and deeper into his own subconscious; she's the one who suggests a solution to resurrect Fischer by sending Cobb to confront Mal in his own personal limbo; and she's the one who warns him not to lose himself before plunging out of the dream.

The idea she's trying to plant in his mind is similar to the one that Cobb is attempting to plant in Fischer's mind, except that instead of instead of breaking up his company the idea Ariadne is attempting to plant is that he has to break up his dream world. But she can't tell him that directly and he has to believe the genesis for the idea came from himself. The inception is finally planted when he tells Mal that he can't spend eternity with her in their dream world because she's not real. She's a shade. That's the inception that Ariadne had been trying to plant; not that Mal is a shade, but that his children are and that he can't choose to remain trapped in a dream with them.

The spinning top is a red herring because ultimately it will do whatever the dreamer's subconscious mind wants it to do...spin endlessly or topple over. The totem actually belonged to his wife and Cobb uses it to help convince himself that he is in reality. The real totems in this film are the children. They are the ones who will reveal the truth to Cobb about whether he is in a dream or reality.

In the end it doesn't matter whether the top spins or falls because the idea has been planted and will continue to grow like a resilient parasite until Cobb is transformed by it. Eventually he will take his own leap of faith.

That's my take on it anyway.
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Postby Frelga » Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:31 pm

That's very interesting, Xchen, and jives in many ways with my own thoughts. However, many of the clues you point to - Stormtrooper gunmen, amazing jumps and convenient coincidences - are pretty standard for any action movie, and I am hesitant to read too much into them.
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Frelga
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