I know Warner Bros. isn't literally rebooting "The Matrix," but you know that there's some part of them that curses the fact that the franchise sort of bottomed out, because they thought they were going to be milking that particular cash cow for yeeeeeeeears to come.

Now, thanks to Christopher Nolan, they might get a second chance.

I would guess that the director can do no wrong in the eyes of the studio after the way "The Dark Knight" caught fire with both critics and moviegoers alike.  He was already considered one of the most interesting mainstream filmmakers working, and the choice to make "The Prestige" between his Batman movies indicated to me that he was going to return to his personal interests as often as possible, a good thing.  When he set up "Inception" as his mid-Batman snack this time around, working from an original script he co-wrote with his evil genius brother Jonathan Nolan, it was automatically exciting because it's an original SF film made with the full backing of the studio, swollen with cash from the monster hit that Nolan just handed them.  That's the best time for a filmmaker to try and get something new or different past the development process.  Studio heads get drunk when you pump a billion dollars or so into the pipeline with one movie, and filmmakers can sneak some fascinating things by under those conditions.

So what is "Inception"?  That's still a mystery, but based on the footage that's glimpsed in the following trailer, I'd say we have our first few clues, worth discussing once you've taken a look:

[more after the jump]

 

 

Okay... that looks exactly like a Chris Nolan movie should look.  He's developing his own visual signature just as clearly as any major visual stylist working today, and there's a sort of creamy, rich, heightened look to the way he shoots things.  Like the whole world is an oil painting.  "YOUR MIND... IS THE SCENE OF THE CRIME" is an intriguing tagline, but there's no denying that with just this little bit of information and the images of Joseph Gordon-Levitt fighting someone in that hallway that appears to be tilting and tumbling, there's a strong "Matrix" vibe.  The rumor right now is that the film deals with a company led by Di Caprio's character who can solve problems that take place in the mind by inserting themselves into someone's brainscape.  Not sure if that's true or not, but it seems to at least fit what we're seeing here.

What's most intriguing to me is the way the fanboy nation has decided that Nolan can do no wrong.  Dangerous place to be for any filmmaker, because the moment you disappoint this crowd, they'll turn, and they'll be nasty about it.  For right now, though, Nolan is the conquering hero, and it seems like nothing but celebration for this trailer out there.  Personally, I'm not sure why we needed a teaser for this a year ahead of release if the teaser's just going to show us out-of-context action and not even hint at plot or the main hook.  I know they just got the production up and running, so it seems very early for any ad campaign to kick in.  Still, based on the ecstatic reaction from most quarters, the gamble appears to have worked.

With a cast that includes Di Caprio, Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Tom Hardy, and Lukas Haas, "Inception" is due to hit theaters in the summer of 2010.

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