By Marty Mulrooney
Inception has finally been released on DVD and Blu-ray, allowing eager fans to enjoy the film once more and newcomers to see what all the fuss is about. The UK Limited Edition comes in a metal briefcase containing a Triple Play copy of the film (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy), a PASIV (Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous) Device User Manual, art-cards and a spinning top.
Inception has already been reviewed on AMO here, and I also wrote a lengthy feature article about its ending upon release here. Personally, I still think it is one of the best films, if not the best, of 2010. Leonardo DiCaprio is on top form as Dom Cobb, a man who breaks into people’s dreams and steals their secrets. Expertly directed, this is a smart, big budget sci-fi adventure that will be remembered for years to come as a stone cold classic.
The Blu-ray itself comes in its own collectable lenticular slipcase, which is pretty cool as the city appears/disappears when tilted. The quality of the Blu-ray is perfect: I can’t imagine better picture or sound quality being humanly possible. From city downpours to snowy mountains, the experience is never anything less than breathtaking. The film is housed on the first disk and also includes Extraction Mode.
Extraction Mode allows viewers to view several mini-featurettes about various aspects of Inception’s production. These can be watched one a time, all at once, or via the click of a button at different points when watching the film itself. The decision to not use PiP (Picture in Picture) is a wise one: the featurettes look amazing and definitely benefit from being viewed full screen in high definition.
The second blu-ray disk is devoted entirely to special features and they are all superb. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur in the film) hosts Dreams: Cinema Of The Subconcious, a 45 minute documentary that presents plenty of fascinating theories and research about dreams to add extra layers to the film experience. Also included is The Cobal Job, a beautiful 15 minute digital comic that serves as a prologue to the main film, filling in some gaps along the way. The entire soundtrack is included in 5.1 surround sound too, which is a pleasant surprise and a welcome inclusion. Rounding off the special features, there are several galleries and TV spots/trailers to pour over, all in HD. Overall, this is a handsome package that only seems to be missing a director’s commentary. Then again, I like that the film isn’t picked apart too much. After all, isn’t half the fun the mystery and open-ended nature of it all?
The included DVD sadly displays very low picture quality. It is a duel layer disk so I am unsure why it looks so blocky and full of artefacts. A ploy by Warner Brothers to make the Blu-ray look even better, or a genuine mistake? I would be interested to hear from any of AMO’s readers whether this also effects the stand alone DVD edition. On the other hand, the included digital copy has decent picture quality and can be downloaded either for Windows devices or iTunes. It seems odd that the copy I downloaded to iTunes actually looks better than the DVD copy… but there you go.
The metal suitcase is pretty to look at but actually has a quite low build quality. My first order came damaged, even though the outer packaging/postal packaging were in perfect condition. A dented suitcase and a scratched spinning top promptly made me arrange for a replacement. This came without any dents, but there were still scuffs on the case and even a small crack in one of the metal corners. I also noticed that the interior foam is cut very tightly, making it difficult to remove the Blu-ray itself. As a result, I already have a slightly bent slipcover. It seems that quality control was somewhat lacking for this ‘Highly Collectable Case’. This even carries over to the disk art which is low quality black and white.
Elsewhere, the PASIV Device User Manual is only thin but does a good job of passing itself off as the real deal: however, please bear in mind that this is already included in full at the end of the book Inception: The Shooting Script. The art cards are high quality but the images used feel kind of safe and generic: I think the art cards included in the US version look a little more eye-catching.
The spinning top is the best part of the Limited Edition. It isn’t a perfect replica of the one used in the film, but it does look really cool and spins great. It becomes super addictive to play with and is of course a valuable tool to check that you are awake! The spinning top is a silver colour and has the word INCEPTION etched into its lower bottom edge.
Overall, the Limited Edition isn’t terrible but feels like something of a missed opportunity. The briefcase is nothing like the one used in the film and it seems pretty hit-and-miss whether you will receive one that isn’t damaged. However, it still looks cool at a glance and the spinning top, PASIV Device User Manual and art cards are admittedly a nice touch. The included DVD is pretty poor, but the Blu-ray copy exceeded my expectations. I am unsure how collectable this Limited Edition really is, but I still think fans of the film will get a kick out of it regardless. Please note: the final score reflects the Limited Edition itself and not the Triple Play Blu-ray, which is also available as a stand-alone item.
7 OUT OF 10