Every once in a blue-moon, a movie comes out that feels refreshing, original, and entertains us on a certain level that we won’t soon forget. Of of those movies is ‘Inception‘, directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight). As Nolan was making his Dark Knight (Batman) trilogy, he made a movie in between each sequel. One of them was this film and it truly shines out of all the rest. It brings something everyone does for half their life and makes a thrilling and smart film out of it. ‘Inception‘ involves sleeping and dreaming, but with certain technology, you can be in control of your dreams, and even connect to other people’s dreams and plant an idea in their heads that might make them change their way of thinking. That’s the point of ‘Inception’. It’s quite brilliant.
In the case of this film, Leo DiCaprio plays a guy named Cobb, who has a team of experts (Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, and Dileep A. Rao) who are hired by people to secretly plant ideas into other people’s minds in their client’s favor. The main case of the film has Mr. Saito (Ken Wantanabe), a Japanese businessman who wants his target Robert (Cillian Murphy), a young heir to a big company to change his mind about doing business as his father is on his deathbed. Mr. Saito hires Cobb and his team to change Robert’s mind while in a dream, in hopes that he’ll wake up from that dream and have a change of heart.
There are rules to manipulating your dreams though and they can have dire consequences if they’re not done correctly. Nolan weaves this thrilling and mind bending thriller through each person’s dream in the most perfect ways, as we get a step closer to what will change young Robert’s mind, which draws inspiration from ‘Citizen Kane‘ for sure. Fight scenes are top notch as people in your dream can turn on you in an instant and become deadly, or the actual landscape can fold and turn upside down, in what looks to be one of the coolest looking hallway fight scenes of recent memory.
Nolan also uses Hans Zimmer’s brilliant score and actually slows down the music to emphasize powerful notes and deep bass for dramatic effect, which is now legendary. Performances by everyone are excellent and the screenplay is smart and to the point. There is even some great dry wit throughout too. ‘Inception‘ is one of those films that you will remember forever and change the way you dream.
The Video: ‘Inception‘ dreams its way to 4K UHD with a 2160p transfer and with an added HDR10 capability. The film was shot, like most Nolan movies on 35mm and some 65mm film for some IMAX moments. Perhaps the biggest upgrade here is with the color palette. Most colors come with a deep and richer saturation and hue. This comes into play with background colors on buildings and props. People’s clothing in the dream world are also boosted. Other colors, such as the primary ones inside deep wood buildings are warm and inviting, while other exterior shots looks cool and silver. It’s not a giant improvement, but it’s somewhat noticeable. What was frustrating, especially in the outdoor snow scene towards the end of the film, was that the snow and white costumes blended in with each other. The HDR10 colors did not do a good job of separating the colors. It was aggravating to say the least. Detail was only slightly upgraded, mostly in well-lit closeups where you could see makeup effects, stubble, and wrinkles very well. Other moments looks a but murky and soft, such as when water splashes around or explosions happen in the dream world. I thought every bit of debris would be easy to see, but it wasn’t. Black levels are still deep, but not at the level it should be at. Most of the black levels are rather warm. Skin tones are natural though. There was no major compression issues, but as far as 4K UHD goes, it’s not the best one out there.
The Audio: Unfortunately, this 4K UHD release does not come with a DTS:X or Dolby Atmos option, but rather the same lossless DTS-HD 5.1 mix from the previous Blu-ray release. Don’t get me wrong, the DTS-HD 5.1 sound amazing and those with receivers that have the DTS: Neural X capability, it will upgrade the sound to an almost Atmos quality. Still, with a movie like this where height speakers are key with all of the debris and landscapes folding overhead, it would have been nice to see the higher end audio option. It’s quite baffling that it wasn’t included on this release solely. Still, sound effects are loud, robust and provides excellent directionality. The gun shots pack a punch and have deep reverb too. The storm and tornado scene really engulfs the soundscape with deep bass and surround activity. Speaking of bass, those hard musical bass notes sound magnificent and really accentuate the scene. Dialogue is clear and easy to follow along with and free of pops, cracks, hiss, and shrills.
There are no new extras, but all of the previous bonus features are transported over to the Blu-ray Disc in this set.
Extraction Mode (HD, 45 Mins.) – This is like a PiP mode, but without the PiP. It’s really cool how they set it up. As the whole film plays out, the film will pause and a full screen featurette will pop up with behind the scenes footage, how the made it documentaries, and interviews with the cast and crew. Once the featurette is over, the film will resume playing until the next time. It’s quite cool.
5.1 Inception Soundtrack (HD, 39 Mins.) – This is the entire Hans Zimmer score to the film, which is awesome. The only bad thing here is that there is no visual representation. It’s just a black screen. Some photos or clips from the film would have been cool.
Dreams: Cinema of the Subconscious (HD, 44 Mins.) – A cool featurette that is hosted by Joseph Gordon Levitt that dives deep in to the science of sleeping. Doctors, professors, experts, psychologists, and more discuss dreams and sleeping.
Inception: The Cobol Job (HD, 15 Mins.) – This is an animated prequel to the film that focuses on the Cobol job that is referenced in the film. Excellent stuff.
Project Somnacin: Confidential Files (HD) – Drawings, texts, and other cool images based on the technology used in the movie.
Art Gallery (HD) – A few dozen images of concept art, promo art, and paintings can be seen here.
Trailers (HD, 16 Mins.) – Several trailers and TV spots for the movie.
THE ULTIMATE WORD
‘Inception‘ is a fantastic film that has a lot of great ideas that are all wonderfully executed. Top notch performances, and wonderful score, and killer action all collide in this one-of-a-kind movie. The 4K UHD upgrade isn’t the best I’ve seen and the lack of Dolby Atmos or something similar is annoying. Still, there are some slight upticks in color and detail in the video presentation. No new extras either make this a difficult release to consider re-buying. Those hardcore fans will for sure want it, but everyone else, the Blu-ray version will be just fine.
Written By: Bryan Kluger