I'd find it hard to believe that he broke the embargo without explicit permission and without foreknowledge that it would be positive (check a poster of almost any major studio release and look for Travers' quote -- you'll find a lot of 'em) and that it will be a huge boost to Rolling Stone's numbers at the newsstands to boot. If you'd like to read an excerpt of his review, it's thoughtfully typed out from the print version on stands now here at the New York Post.
The most pertinent part of Travers' review, to me at least, is, "Of course, trusting the intelligence of the audience can cost Nolan at the box office. We're so used to being treated like idiots. How to cope with a grand-scale epic, shot in six countries at a reported cost of $160 million, that turns your head around six ways from Sunday? Dive in and drive yourself crazy, that's how.''
NYP writer Lou Lumenick wonders if this means Inception "may play be too smart to rack up numbers anything like The Dark Knight."
Wait, are we too dumb for a complex* movie like Inception? Aren't we waiting -- haven't we been begging -- to be treated like adults at the movies? Aren't the box office numbers of this summer any indication of how frustrated movie-goers are with sequels and the same old stuff? Doesn't anyone think that the very name of Nolan will bring in the crowds, even if we're too, you know, dumb to understand the final product?
The best kinds of movies make your gears turn for long after the credits roll, and the even better kind will bring viewers back for a second or third viewing in the theater and on DVD. There's not a doubt in my mind that Inception will be this type of movie.
Look at a movie like Donnie Darko. Bad timing and a host of other reasons could be blamed for why it wasn't seen more widely until it hit DVD, but there's no question that the people who saw it were left with a lot of questions. Those questions were answered by repeated viewings and extensive discussions about what it all means, as well as a director's cut that got a theatrical release and spelled it all out for us. Inception has the benefit of big names, a big studio, and a big marketing push that's practically unnecessary in the light of how excited fans are, not just for Nolan's big mysterious project but to see something that we haven't seen before. Something fresh, exciting, interesting, and, yes, challenging.
It's not just sci-fi fans and hardcore geeks who are excited about Inception, but practically everyone who loves The Dark Knight and summer blockbusters. I think most of us will be satisfied by both the spectacle and the ideas Nolan brings to the table, and to suggest otherwise is frankly insulting.