Blu-Ray Review: Inception

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Like so many people, I saw Christopher Nolan’s latest masterpiece Inception during it’s opening weekend in the theater.  It quickly rushed to the top of my favorite movies, and one of the my first thoughts upon exiting the theater was that I couldn’t wait for the sure-to-be spectacular Blu-Ray release.  Not only was I eager to revisit the film again and again, but for the first time in a long time, I was genuinely excited to discover how some of the mind-blowing special effects were achieved.

Well, Warner Bros. has finally released a 3-Disc set, including a DVD of the film, and two Blu-Ray discs.  The first Blu-Ray contains the film itself, and the option to view it in “Extraction Mode.”  This is a feature in which the film will periodically switch to a behind-the-scenes documentary pertaining to the sequence you are currently viewing.  You can also choose to view all of these segments isolated from the film.

There are a lot of great segments in this feature, and I was thrilled to find that most of the sequences I was curious about got a closer look.  For example, there is a segment detailing, in full, how they achieved the infamous hallway fight featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  Much like 2001: A Space Odyssey, this sequence was shot on a 360 degree rotating set.  I assumed it was something like that, but to actually see the sequence being shot from the outside of the set was amazing.

However, they don’t just focus on the obvious big set-pieces.  There are also moments in the film that seem more subtle, but in reality, required just as big an undertaking.  Whether it be the impossible stairs, the flooding of the castle, or even the gravity-defying maneuvers around the hotel room, almost any moment you would be curious about gets a feature.

The second disc is nothing but special features.  There is a pretty cool one called “Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious,” hosted and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  I don’t usually care for “educational” features that peripherally relate to a film’s theme but not to the film itself.  However, this one was really fascinating.  It explores all aspects of dreams, and does so in a fast-moving, creative way.  There is a lot of great insight from several scientists in the world of dream study, and even some interesting analysis from Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, etc.  It’s obvious in watching this feature that it isn’t simply a marketing tool, but a project that Gordon-Levitt was genuinely interested in making, and a topic that everybody involved was interested in exploring.

The other big feature is a motion comic that serves as a prequel to the film.  It’s an interesting experiment, but honestly, I’d have rather just read an actual comic.  The story was interesting enough, but it was kind of slow moving (literally), and I found myself getting bored, wishing I could just read ahead.  Rounding out the disc are several selections from Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score (there is no justice if he doesn’t get at least an Oscar nomination), all presented in 5.1, as well as concept art (I wish there was more), promotional art (some great pieces I had never seen before), and the brilliantly cut together trailers and tv spots.

A masterpiece of modern filmmaking, Christopher Nolan has topped himself in every way.  It works as cerebral drama, all-out action, completely original sci-fi, etc.  He has combined genres on such an epic scale, this is one of the few Summer blockbusters that I would classify as art.  It really doesn’t get much better than this.