The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 148 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English/French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Jospeh Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger, Michael Caine
Written & Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 7, 2010
"The dream is real"
Acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan directs an international cast in this sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is the best there is at extraction: stealing valuable secrets inside the subconscious during the mind's vulnerable dream state. His skill has made him a coveted player in industrial espionage but also has made him a fugitive and cost him dearly. Now he may get a second chance if he can do the impossible: inception, planting an idea rather than stealing one. If they succeed, Cobb and his team could pull off the perfect crime. But no planning or expertise can prepare them for a dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy only Cobb could have seen coming.
The synopsis above provides a good summary of Inception's primary components so I will refrain from going into any depth with regard to explaining the plot as I think this film works best going in with little knowledge for the first time. I saw Inception during its theatrical run. Before seeing it I had heard from several people who didn't care for it and found it annoyingly confusing and hard to follow. Conversely I had heard from others who thoroughly enjoyed it and found it intriguing. I went in with reserved expectations and full confidence in the cast and director. As I watched the first 25 minutes or so I must admit to feeling a little frustrated with regard to exactly what was happening and why. Once it became clearer things got decidedly better. The concept of inception is simple it's the execution that proves daunting as these well drawn and interesting characters lead by Cobb (DiCaprio) descend deeper and deeper into the abyss. The plan is to insert the idea of dismantling a company that is about to become a conglomerate into the mind of the company's heir apparent. The team is assembled and put into place with a clear cut design that will require the need to enter into dreams within dreams in order to ensure that the idea is firmly implanted. Entering into the dreams of another has the inherent danger of being accosted by the projected elements within the subconscious of the dreamer. Unfortunately for Cobb's crew they have no idea of what lies in store for them for not only do they have to contend with the projections of the target but a dangerous projection that is linked to Cobb that could seemingly trap them all in limbo for eternity.
Inception is a mind bending, intelligently crafted sci-fi thriller with a complex narrative that is conceptually strong and rewarding. I love the proprietary nature of the story's plot which makes this the kind of film that you don't just walk in the middle of and pick up for the first time. It demands your attention as the constant shifting of its cascading elements as well as an understanding of their fundamental rules keeps you slightly off balance but prove highly entertaining. There is plenty of action, suspense and intrigue. The coolness factor runs high as this is an effects laden and visually involving spectacle befitting a large scale production from the imaginative mind of Christopher Nolan. Everything from the cinematography to Hans Zimmer's spectacular music score played an integral role in bringing this well conceived film to life. I thought the international cast lead by front man Leonardo DiCaprio were perfectly placed. I have heard some complain about the ending. I couldn't help but feel that it was spot on and appropriate within the context of the storyline. Inception is one of the best film's of the year and has become a personal favorite that I look forward to revisiting again.
The rating is for sequences of violence and action throughout.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Inception comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
First and foremost this is a dark film (as it should be) and its ability to clearly render its elements under those conditions is essential to getting the most out of it. Well you can rest assured that this Blu-ray disc delivers some of the richest, deepest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen. The sequences featuring the various city/snow covered landscapes rain or shine look superb. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that wide angle perspectives, unevenly lit interiors, and shadow laden environs have a seemingly infinite level of depth. Shadow detail is consistent and is probably as good as I have seen. Images are crisp with subtle refinement, resolute sharpness and exquisite three dimensional definition that can be visually arresting. Contrast is well balanced and dynamic which energizes colors, empowers whites/grays and engages blacks. Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stood out among those within the varied range used. Fleshtones are beautifully textured with subtle description and warm complexional depiction. The video has a pleasing, filmic texture, that coincides nicely with it gritty storyline. This plays hand in hand with the film's stark visual style and provides an incredibly entertaining experience that looks superb regardless of the size of your display.
Having seen Inception in the theater I had high hopes for its soundtrack in the home environment and I wasn't disappointed. This lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality and is going to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is truly impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It's located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies within the soundstage. Front channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be readily definable. The mix makes effective and aggressive use of the surround channels to extend the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this engaging soundtrack. The listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that can be riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and music. This is a dynamically charged sound mix that frequently utilizes the subwoofer to provide viscerally potent impact. The audio's low frequency effects are applied authoritatively to underscore the bombastic and aggressive aspects of the presentation and it does so quite effectively. Its palpable presence is never in question as it fills the room with refined bass quality that is appreciably superior and on occasion skin tingling. This is a sophisticated sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialogue. Each is clearly represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement. I couldn't see it sounding any better.
This is a reference quality audio/video presentation that truly enhances the enjoyment of this film. Those who like playing their systems at reference levels will want to exercise caution as there are transient peaks and extended dynamic range in this recording capable of testing the limits of lesser systems. Kudos to Warner Home Video on this one.
- Extraction Mode - Bonusview in movie experience that spans the films signature moments/production as told by the cast/crew
- (HD) Jump right to the action (14 segments with play all option):
- The inception of Inception
- The Japanese castle: The dream collapsing
- Disintegration of the Paris cafe
- Constructing paradoxical architecture
- The freight train
- Ambush on the city streets
- The tilting bar
- The rotating corridor
- The mountain fortress
- Simulating Zero-G
- Limbo: The design of unobstructed dream space
- The fortress explosion
- The music of dreams
- The dream shore
Disc 2: (BD-25 Blu-ray Disc)
- (HD) Behind the story:
- Dreams: cinema of the subconscious - 44 minute documentary hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
- Inception: The Cobol Job - 14 minute animated prologue to the films opening sequence
- Project Somnacin: Confidential files - BD-live feature
- (HD) 3 trailers & 13 TV Spots
- 5.1 Inception soundtrack
- Extras: Concept art & Promotional art archive
Disc 3: Bonus DVD of Inception
- BD-Live enabled
- Digital Copy
Inception is a mind bending, intelligently crafted sci-fi thriller that features plenty of action, suspense and intrigue coupled along with a conceptually strong and complex narrative that proves very rewarding. Since seeing it in the theater I have eagerly anticipated its release on Blu-ray Disc. I am happy to report that the wait was well worth it. This is a spectacular home theater presentation that features reference quality high definition video and one of the best surround sound demonstrations I have experienced in my theater room. The bonus features are spread over two discs and offer a comprehensive look at the film's special effects/production and a glimpse behind the scenes with each including insights from the cast/crew. A bonus DVD and Digital Copy is included for those who want to take the movie on the go. Kudos to Warner Home Video on this terrific Blu-ray offering of Inception. It is one of the best film's of the year and is deserving of serious consideration for a place in your home video collection. Highly recommended!
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package