If Inception succeeds for one reason, it will be the believability of what is seen. As absurd as the "hallway fight" sequence looks, the fact that it is done in the real world and not on a computer will convey a sense of authenticity that even the most jaw-dropping films, like Avatar, cannot offer.
On the flip side, Inception will still use quite a bit of CGI, as seen in the trailers (an entire city folding over itself?). But if the manufactured effects exist only in the "dream world" within the film, how can we really complain? Unless the rules of the universe change, much of those concepts are impossible - but within the mind, anything can happen.
Think of some of the most absurd dreams spawned of your own consciousness and there must be some moments the real world could never duplicate. Ellen Page, one of the stars of Inception's worthy ensemble cast, made it clear the sets they work on are inspiring, yet reasonable.
"There's a tangible realism even when it gets crazy, and somehow that makes the jeopardy feel more real. It's like reading a Haruki Murakami novel -- it's fantasy, but instead of feeling like some strange surreal world it feels very honest. The emotional spine of the story is there too, which is the key to his movies. There's the big scale, but the sincerity isn't left behind. The story is complicated but never confusing."
The key is to create a balance between both worlds, and Christopher Nolan seems to have a grasp on presenting his concepts in a believable fashion, even when it reaches incomprehensible boundaries.
Looks like we know what comes after that bit in the trailer now.
Every detail we've seen regarding Inception has wowed fans and intrigued others. Without a doubt, Warner Bros. and Nolan have stirred up the minds of the viewing public before ever showing much. All that remains is whether the anticipation and mystique of the film will actually live up to the hype it seems to be generating. My vote is an absolute yes, it will.
Inception bends into theaters and IMAX on July 16, 2010.