Naranne (reasonandmusic) wrote,

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Some Random Thoughts on Inception

Anyone that follows my other journal (read: about one person here) would know that I started doing some analysis a while back. I want to get back into that, but the Alice score was driving me nuts. Anyway, this may seem spawned by my recent Inception fic-writing, but it's actually the other way around. ;3

The reason I'm posting here is because Inception's plot and score are more complex than Burton & Elfman's Alice in Wonderland. (That's in no way a criticism of Elfman's work, mind. It'd be like apples and oranges comparing these two.) I'm looking for some more character and plot orientated thoughts rather than music, at this point, hence the fandom journal.

On the little leaflet in the Inception OST CD cover, it's mentioned that Zimmer fully intended the music to be an emotional grounder, something for the audience to subtly relate to in the more confusing moments of the film. A unifying sort of device, if you will. This is where posing questions and my thoughts to the fandom comes in, because I can ask my fellow musos about motifs and instrumentation and dynamics any time I want -- but the finer points of characterisation and plot might be a little lost on them. *g*

So, here are some of the things I've been mulling over. (And the themes I've kind of discerned.)

Cobb and Mal as the "emotional" centre of the film.

I'd certainly call their relationship and the way Cobb deals with his loss one of the key parts of the film -- I'm pretty sure that the music we hear in Old Souls and at the start of the film in Half-Remembered Dream represents this. However, there are certain moments where I'm inclined to think this is not necessarily Cobb & Mal's theme, but rather, Cobb's theme. Which brings me, then, to probably the biggest thing I've been pondering. Would the emotional centre/crux of the film then be the relationship of Cobb and Mal, or Cobb's internal struggle? The latter would include his quest to get back to his children, as well as his relationship with Mal and his refusal to let her go -- which is probably deemed more important by the film. Although, this being said, Cobb's separation from his children is a direct result of Mal's actions. (Well, his own, if you consider the fact that he gave her the idea -- which really adds weight to the "internal struggle" argument, I think.)

Incidentally, one of the most gorgeous tracks on the CD, Time (plays at the end of the film), uses this theme to absolutely brilliant effect. It's in horn so it's all majestic but then it's also in strings and piano so it's lush and sweet and seriously it just makes your heart clench and you go, Oh, Cobb. The way it's adapted like this to become hopeful, bittersweet, proud and lyrical is honestly breathtaking; it's definitely one of the finer manipulations of a leitmotif I've loved probably since Prisoner of Azkaban (Buckbeak's Flight and A Window to the Past). Hans Zimmer, this is why you are one of my idols. :3

(The next two things are more as a reminder for myself of what I've spotted than questions in particular. But if you have comments, feel free. <3

It's definitely worth noting here that as far as I can tell, Cobb (and/or Mal) are the only character/s with a theme for them. (Perhaps Fischer? I'm not too sure.) The other motifs in the score are more representative of themes -- dreams, certain recurring sequences -- than characters.)

The "Dream/Dreaming" theme.

This confuses me, as I've kind of established that there is definitely a motif that represents "dreaming", or definitely plays when that is the focus. However there's then another theme which seems to be an alteration of this -- I'm leaning towards the explanation that one is representative of the concept and notions of dream-sharing and extraction/inception, whilst one represents the danger and the actual practice of these concepts.


The theme from the Mombasa scene -- not the ostinatos overhead in percussion and later strings, but the big, boomy, doom-mongering bassy brass/synth/other line underneath. It recurs, but where does it fit?

Then there's the short motif that's quite similar to that one, but occurs as just the ... pulses, I suppose, underneath in tracks like Half-Remembered Dream.

I'm aware I'm not making a whole lot of sense (half-asleep, mildly incoherent), but any thoughts would be fantastic. <3


Edit: Anonymous commenting is enabled.
Tags: brainstorming, film scores, movie: inception, music, should probably be in my study journal
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