Inception appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Expect a high-quality presentation here.
Sharpness almost always looked terrific. A few interiors seemed a smidgen soft, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the vast majority of the flick appeared accurate and concise, and I noticed no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects. Edge haloes and artifacts also remained absent, and I detected no print flaws.
Colors were pretty natural – surprisingly so, since so many modern action movies opt for stylized tones. The hues here tended to be somewhat subdued, but they remained fairly full and pleasing. Blacks were deep and dark, and low-light shots displayed solid clarity and delineation. Overall, the movie looked very good.
More praise fell upon the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Inception. Gunfire, explosions, car chases – all of the elements that can make a mix exciting popped up here. The movie didn’t boast constant sonic involvement, but it came fairly close, as much of the movie threw out action material. The track created a terrific soundscape in which these components moved around us in a satisfying way.
That meant dynamic use of the surrounds. These were fairly equal partners in the proceedings, especially during those many action sequences. At those times, we got a lot of elements in the rear, and these contributed good life to events.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech appeared concise and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. Music boasted nice vivacity and life, while effects demonstrated excellent clarity. Those components appeared dynamic and precise, with good range and punch. The soundtrack of Inception delivered what we’d like from a movie of this sort.
Like many Warner Bros. Blu-rays, Inception comes with a picture-in-picture feature. Here they title it Extraction Mode, and you can access it in two different ways. You can watch it as it accompanies the film, or you can “jump right to the action” and access its 14 clips individually. “Jump” also comes with a “Play All” option that fills 44 minutes, 13 seconds. This seems like the most sensible choice; it presents the snippets in a larger format, and it avoids the 100-plus minutes during which we see no extras.
Across the 14 “Extraction Mode” pieces, we hear from writer/director Christopher Nolan, producers Jordan Goldberg and Emma Thomas, production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, stunt coordinator Tom Struthers, visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin, editor Lee Smith, director of photography Wally Pfister, picture car coordinator Tyler Gaisford, first AD Nilo Otero, composer Hans Zimmer, and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The featurettes cover the movie’s origins and development, various themes and concepts, locations and sets, stunts and various effects, cinematography and editing, music and a few other areas.
Most of the material sticks with technical topics, which is a bit of a disappointment. While I’m sure Nolan would prefer to let viewers interpret the film on their own, it still would’ve been nice to hear him discuss characters and themes in greater detail. Still, we find a nice overview of the different elements related to creating the flick, so “Extraction Mode” is worth your time.
Over on Disc Two, we open with a documentary called Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious World. It goes for 44 minutes, 29 seconds and includes notes from Nolan, Gordon-Levitt, DiCaprio, Stanford University Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Sleep Medicine Dr. William C. Dement, Grant MacEwan University Dr. Jayne Gackenbach, Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Deirdre Barrett, UC Santa Cruz Research Professor in Psychology and Sociology Dr. G. William Domhoff, Lucidity Institute founder Stephen LaBerge, and psychiatrist/Second Sight author Dr. Judith Orloff. We also get a few “ordinary folks” who discuss their dreams; this list features Kali Bernard, James Brown, III, Maria D. Hernandez, Bronson Page, Lynarion Hubbard, Saqi Syed and Alexandra Broudy.
“Cinema” provides a few notes about Inception, but it mostly focuses on the nature of dreams. That makes it moderately educational, but it’s a little on the scattershot side. While we learn a decent amount about dreams, the program doesn’t become as substantial as it could.
Inception: The Cobol Job offers an “animated prologue”. It goes for 14 minutes, 33 seconds, as it delivers a semi-animated comic book experience. As the title describes, it shows us the gig that led up to some of the movie’s events. It helps flesh out our understanding a bit better, so it’s a fun addition.
Fans of movie music will enjoy the 5.1 Inception Soundtrack. This offers exactly what it indicates: the film’s score presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio. All together, the cues run 38 minutes, 38 seconds.
Next we get some stills. The disc includes a Conceptual Art Gallery (33 stills) and a Promotional Art Archive (12). The former provides material created to set up the film’s visuals, while the latter sticks with posters. Both are good, though I dislike the dopey choice the set each image at an angle. I guess this is supposed to offer a clever evocation of the movie’s skewed viewpoint, but it’s just annoying.
Finally, Disc Two boasts some ads. We get three trailers (one teaser, two theatrical) and 13 TV Spots.
A third disc provides both a digital copy of Inception for use on computers or digital portable gadgets as well as a DVD copy of the film. This delivers a barebones package, so don’t expect any extras.
According to IMDB voters, Inception is the fifth-best movie ever made. That’s insanity; it’s not even in the top three films shot by its own director. While Inception does provide some good action and stands out as something unusual, it doesn’t quite coalesce into a genuinely satisfying experience. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio along with a decent set of supplements. Inception is an intriguing enough film to merit a look, but I can’t say it does a lot for me.