Inception Blu-ray Review
Inception comes to US region Free Blu-ray with an outstanding video presentation in the movie’s original theatrically broad aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. Detail is exceptional throughout, which is an absolute must for a movie which is so much about the little details. Every constructed dream, every bustling street, the architecture – whether real or effects shots – and the slo-mo sequences all exhibit precision and exactness at every level, with the facial close-ups noting every little bit of texture, stubble and damage. From the individual strands of hair on DiCaprio’s head to the individual droplets of water that are taken through and almost-freeze-frame sequence when the dream-operatives are being ‘kicked’, the presentation holds up throughout, and allows you to revel in the visual opulence of this extravagant material.
Softness, edge enhancement, and any kind of digital artefacting is non-existent – at least to my keen eyes – and contrast is superior throughout. The colour scheme is broad and lavish, depicting realistic settings, albeit replicated in a dream environment, in a very authentic way, whether this requires a deep, rich, mahogany-dominated interior, or a bright white snow-based fortress, with fiery oranges and yellows showcasing some very real explosions (i.e. not effects). Black levels are solid, allowing shadowing and darkened sequences to come across in unparalleled quality, and I found it very hard to fault this presentation at all and it comes recommended as a demo-standard offering.
On the aural front it couldn’t get much better than the DTS-HD Master Audio track on offer here. It’s simply astounding, making the movie experience so much more mesmerising, the guttural, infectious bass tones of the main theme hitting you low right from the start. Dialogue, from whispers to shouts, comes across clearly and coherently, taking precedence over the frontal array wherever appropriate. Effects are myriad, the smaller atmospheric notes like the spinning top having their place in the track, even though the highlight is still the sheer bombast of the louder material within this offering. The thundering explosive sequences; the pummelling, unstoppable freight train; and the hammering gunshots, they give us LFE action, rear action, and directionality across the surrounds; and, coming together with that excellent, penetrating Hans Zimmer score, provide us with one of the most thoroughly immersive mixes that I have ever come across, and certainly the best audio mix, for a new movie, this year.
Inception comes with a fairly weighty extras package, which includes a sort-of Picture-in-Picture track on the first disc, plus a second Blu-ray extras disc which boasts a Prequel Animated Comic, a Dream Featurette and numerous galleries and trailers. Then there is a third second disc which hosts a DVD copy and a Digital copy of the movie.
Disc 1: Movie
Rather than offering up your standard Picture-in-Picture track, a Video Commentary, or even Maximum Movie Mode, Warner has chosen to go down a different route, and adopted an aptly named Extraction Mode, which literally takes you out of the picture at key moments in the movie, and injects you into various Behind the Scenes Featurettes, which – in their entirety – only total about 45 minutes of footage. It’s an interesting offering, but probably best served through watching it with the Play All function from the menu, rather than sitting through the whole movie again just to see these extra bits.
Disc 2: Special Features
5.1 Inception Soundtrack
Here we get Hans Zimmer’s excellent, thunderous score, abbreviated to a forty-minute sound-only DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 offering which you can enjoy. Unfortunately, this extra could have done with a few visuals – images or concept art from the film would have been great, film footage the next best thing, and even a damn similar visualisation gimmick (like in Windows Media Player) would have been better than nothing. The Individual tracks are split into: We Built our own World; Dream is Collapsing; Radical Notion; Old Souls; 528491; Mombasa; One Simple Idea; Dream within a Dream; Paradox; and Time.
Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious Documentary
This is quite an interesting little offering, hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, running at 45 minutes and looking at the science and theories behind the dream aspects of the plot, with numerous experts popping up to discuss these ideas. It’s a great companion-piece to this project, and really quite revealing in its observation of what your dreams signify, but the theory that your dream world is not actually an altered state of consciousness, but really a fully functional parallel reality feels a little too contrived, as if they were trying too hard to make this Documentary stand out.
Inception: The Cobol Job - Motion Comic Prequel
This is an animated comic prequel to the main movie, explaining some of the unseen events that take place on the run-up to the movie. It shows you how Cobb, Arthur and Nash – the first architect – came to be enlisted by Cobol Engineering to perform the extraction on Saito in the first place. Running at 15 minutes in length, it’s fairly tense, boasts some nice ideas and has Zimmer’s threatening score playing off in the background. They get the DiCaprio likeness just right and, even if some of the other animation designs don’t quite match up, it’s a pretty damn good offering, far superior to just a selection of largely pointless Deleted Scenes, and well worth checking out.
Project Somnacin: Confidential Files
This BD-live portal allows access to several background files.
Conceptual Art Gallery
Here we have a selection of dozens of pieces of concept art showcasing the designs used to create the movie’s most standout imagery.
Promotional Art Archive
This is a selection of the movie’s posters, from across the world.
Trailers and TV Spots
Finally we get a few Theatrical Trailers and over a dozen Teaser Trailers for the movie.
Ground-pounding the Box Office with yet another superior Summer Blockbuster, Christopher Nolan’s 2010 sleeper hit Inception is surely the best film of the year. Perfectly infusing high concept ideas and clever scripting with richly developed characters, a complex but not overly-complicated plot and some of the most striking visual setpieces ever attempted, Nolan proves, once again, that Summer Blockbuster’s don’t need to be dumb to be fun; that you don’t have to sacrifice plot and character development in order to provide large-scale action and spectacular effects – here you can have it all, and leave the film thrilled to the core, but still pondering the character motivations, and the intricacies of the dream-within-dream-within-dream plot. It’s a lesson to all of the Jim Camerons, George Lucases and Michael Bays of the world – that it is possible to provide a movie that can be equally stimulating on any level: whether viscerally, as an amazing passive experience of being within such a labyrinthine dream world; or intellectually, actively dissecting this Escher-like dream web. Be the detective or be the voyeur; live the dream or just experience it, Inception offers it all. Ten years on from the Matrix and we have, in my opinion, the next big landmark in terms of innovative, smart blockbusters.
On Region Free US Blu-ray Inception boasts reference-quality video and audio, as well as a nice extras package which, whilst often somewhat unorthodox, does offer up a few decent gems like the Prequel Animation and the Dream Documentary. There’s also a Digital Copy and a DVD Copy, should you so require them, which surely leaves all of the bases covered. Fans of the movie should already have had this on pre-order, it’s a must-have movie for your collection, has a hell of a lot of rewatch value in it, and comes in a great Blu-ray package (unless you’re really tempted by the briefcase edition). Newcomers should consider this an absolute blind-buy – you won’t be disappointed. My personal movie of the year gets a great Blu-ray release and comes with the highest recommendation.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.31
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