Fresh off his completely ridiculous snub from the Academy Awards (not that we’re still bitter), Christopher Nolan is ready to make another picture. And if you had selected "sequel to The Dark Knight", you lost! The director and his Dark Knight studiomates, Warner Brothers, have agreed to what Variety calls a "whopping seven figure deal" on Inception, an original screenplay that Mr. Nolan wrote and plans to direct. The science-fiction flick is described as a contemporary film based inside the "architecture of the mind." Huh. Summer tent poles are getting more and more ambitious, aren’t they?
If that one sentence about Inception makes you scratch your head, you are not alone. Call us skeptical (and certainly overly reactionary) but those kinds of sci-fi movies never seem to work. They either feel cold and clinical (Steven Soderbergh’s remake of Solaris), schlocky and ridiculous (Paul S.W. Anderson’s Event Horizon) or overly esoteric and impenetrable (Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain). And despite our intense love for The Dark Knight, Mr. Nolan has not yet proved to us that he’s an automatic director; the type of filmmaker where the mere mention of his name can make us breathless with anticipation. Obviously the Batman films are fantastic, though that kind of goes without saying. But Memento does not hold up like you would think/hope, and it’s best if we don’t even get started on the twin failures of The Prestige and Insomnia. So, our respect for Mr. Nolan aside, it will be with great trepidation that we approach Inception when it hits theaters sometime in summer of 2010.
But! More important than all that is what happens with the sequel to The Dark Knight! Well, Mr. Nolan hasn’t actually agreed to do it just yet. And though it is assumed that he’ll eventually sign on to direct (hint: ka-ching!), up to now he has been very non-committal. Maybe Mr. Nolan is waiting because he realizes he can never replicate the success of The Dark Knight. Anything he does that relates to Batman will be scrutinized and dismissed because of the previous film. ("It wasn’t as good as the last one!") If he goes that route and decides to pass on doing another one, we’d certainly respect his choice. However it’s clear that with or without Mr. Nolan, Warner Brothers is going to make a sequel to The Dark Knight--grossing one billion dollars worldwide will do that to a studio. And as fans, the proposition of a Christopher Nolan-less Batman film is a little scary. You know what? Screw artistic integrity and careful career management, Mr. Nolan! Let’s get this Dark Knight sequel moving.