Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blu-Ray Review - Inception

Inception is the latest film from director Christopher Nolan, who is best known for his 2000 breakout film Memento and his two Batman movies, 2005's Batman Begins and it's 2008 sequel The Dark Knight, which showed a real maturity in Nolan's directorial style but after the mammoth success of Dark Knight, Nolan was given carte blanche to make whatever movie he wanted, no doubt a carrot to lure him back for a third Batman movie, well it seemed to work as The Dark Knight Rises will hit theatres in 2012, with expectations high enough to fill the Empire State Building 10 times over.

But back to Inception, and frankly it's because of Nolan's deft hand that this movie works, any other director could have let the material sink into a gigantic incoherent mess, but Nolan keeps his eye on the prize and as a result, we get sucked into this strange dream world, but I must say that since the first screening, some of the gloss has gone off a little, don't get me wrong it's easily one of the best films of the year but I felt that there were better movies released this year, but that shouldn't stop you from seeing this movie, not at all.

The Blu-Ray:

The Blu-Ray comes in a combo pack which contains the 2-disc Blu-Ray release, the DVD copy and a special Digital Copy of the movie which can be transferred to a portable device like an iPod or a Laptop but will only last for about 12 months.

However, there is one thing about the packaging that has gotten on my goat, there is no mention of the two galleries or the promotional ads (Trailers and TV Spots) but when you put in disc two, they're right there for all and sundry to go through, bad form people, very bad form.

The Video:

The Video comes in a 1080p 2:35:1 widescreen presentation and if you saw this movie on a nice big screen, you won't be disappointed as this transfer faithfully recreates that presentation, DP Wally Pfister shot a very nice color style for the film, distinctive and natural which again are recreated very well, some of the snow scenes looked downright beautiful, after the botching of the Dark Knight's video transfer, where the IMAX scenes looked great and the normal footage looked a little too sharp, this transfer is a nice surprise.

The Audio:

A rocking DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that again, is nicely done, the big winner is Hans Zimmer's amazing score, easily audible during the tension scenes and even in the quiet moments, but it isn't overbearing as the dialogue and gunfire are just as audible, fans should get a "kick" out of this mix.

The Extras:

Despite being a 2-disc release and the fantastic A/V presentation, here is where this release comes up short, as the bonus materials are to be frank, not worth your time as this is the kind of movie that doesn't lend itself to a behind the scenes look, as it would spoil the film's secrets, any who with that out of the way, let's see what's on there:

WB Extraction Mode: The sole extra on disc 1 is what's called "Extraction Mode", basically 45 minutes worth of interviews that can also be played separately, not quite the Maximum Movie Mode that has graced other Warner Home Video releases but more of a traditional PiP feature, to be honest I had hoped this might be more of a MMM type feature, but alas it ain't.

Disc 2:

Disc 2 contains the bulk of the extras, designed into separate categories, so let's get started:

Dreams: The Cinema of the Subconscious: Hosted by Joe Levitt, this 45 minute feature goes into the dream state in some pretty interesting detail, Chris Nolan also appears in this and there are some interesting stories to be told, all in all this is probably the best extra on this set.

The Cobol Job: A Prequel Comic set before the events of the film, this goes for about 15 minutes and again, I wasn't that thrilled with it mainly because the motion comic didn't quite work, a still gallery would have been preferable as then you could read it like a real comic.

5.1 Inception Soundtrack: Hans Zimmer's Score is recreated here in full DTS-HD 5.1, handy for when you need to clean your house one day but one drawback is that you don't get any stills while the tracks play, all you is an intro screen that says the title and then black, not a smart move there guys but you did do this extra so I can't complain about that.

Still Galleries: Two Galleries here, first is a conceptual art gallery that looks at the major sets designed for the film and is pretty thorough while the other is a look at the film's poster art, something that I like seeing especially as this movie had some good ones.

Trailers and TV Spots: Finally, we have 3 trailers and 11 minutes worth of TV ads, again something that's always welcome on a disc release in my book as they've become a sad rarity over the last 5-6 years, there used to be a time when you were guaranteed to get the trailer on a disc, now you'd be hard pressed to find it, sigh.


One of the year's best movies that while having a terrific Audio/Visual Quality, it falls short on the extras but should you buy this disc, well personally I'd wait until the price goes down a little bit as after the exquisite Special Edition release of Avatar from a couple of weeks ago, this release feels like a big letdown but if you liked the movie, then chances are you already have the disc but as for the rest of you, I'd hold off for a lower price.

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