Quantcast

Inception (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Christopher Nolan released his tenth directed feature film in 2017, the escape/evacuation World War II thriller chronicling the events of Dunkirk. Being well regarded as one of the best directors of the the twenty first century; one of the rare breed who manages to consistently please the general audience and critical one alike. Breaking out with Memento and finding major success in reinventing Batman on the big screen, Nolan has been an influential voice in cinema and made many modern classics. Commemorating ten films, Warner Bros has put together a box set containing the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut of the segment of his work from Batman Begins to Dunkirk. Releasing on December 19th, you have the option for a full box set, individual releases or a trilogy set with just the Dark Knight films. We have already reviewed the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays of Dunkirk and Interstellar and will continue with the Batman trilogy and Inception (We were not sent The Prestige for review). In this one, we’ll be covering Nolan’s mindtrip masterpiece, Inception.

Film 

Dom Cobb is a thief with the rare ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious. His skill has made him a hot commodity in the world of corporate espionage but has also cost him everything he loves. Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task: Plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will be the perfect crime, but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.

Christopher Nolan’s Inception is an incredibly ambitious, carefully plotted, wonderfully imaginative and suspenseful piece of thoughtful blockbuster entertainment. That he is able to assume his audience is smart and going to keep up and that they are able to to is quite an accomplishment. Movies of Inception’s ideals and caliber are usually reserved for something lower rent (In terms of budget) and in today’s climate, could possibly be relegated to only holding screens in arthouse theaters.  Its almost as if Christopher Nolan is able to put together a movie that twirls together some of the best parts of Aronofsky, Hitchcock, Spielberg and Kubrick while forging his own identity.

There are a lot of realities at play in the film and that they all go together, switching back and forth seamlessly and with ease. The film is a marvel in terms of being a marriage of practical, CG and camera tricks to bend ones mind and play with expectation. This is one of those films that proves CG is a necessity and enhances films of the modern era, not hamper it. There are car chases, zero gravity fights, city block folding on top of one another and all sorts of fun zaniness, while providing so much in the way of iconic and trippy imagery without ever feeling like its above the audience or pretentious.

We’ve known for a long time that Christopher Nolan has been a big fan of the James Bond franchise and while, is Batman films seem to be a way of him fulfilling that desire, Inception really takes that even a bit more further. His love of the stealthy, suave and smart super spy (Lot of S’s there) also meets the team up and specific expertise of that in a Mission: Impossible scenario. Hell, to be quite blunt and obvious, one of the final layers in the finale involves a snow skiing sequence with a secret base and henchman with guns in the very vein of James Bond’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service adventure.

I get the idea that Nolan liked working with a lot of this cast. Five of them would go on to play roles in the next film, The Dark Knight Rises (Yes, two of them were already in previous Batmans, but still). While her character is full of exposition and is the audience “in” for the film, Ellen Page’s performance quite elevates it above all else and gives a pretty strong performance to hold strong onto that of superstar Leonardo DiCaprio. The two really seem to be quite compatible and complimentary in every frame to the point where you almost feel like she is the product of his subconscious constructed to either help him escape or find himself trapped forever. Tom Hardy has a nice stealer role in here as well. Marion Cotillard is a femme fatale for the ages in this one and I really think her part can easily be overlooked.

Inception is one of my favorite and one of the best films of this current decade. It at the very least has to be one the best big budget summer blockbusters. There are so many wonderful interpretations of the film, so much water cooler discussion to be had, a ton of rewatch value. You’re like the lead character, looking for constant clues, questioning what is real and isn’t real. The film is constantly spinning like the top at the end. You can never truly get enough. And whatever it really is intended to be by Christopher Nolan, he’s going to take that with himself forever. And that’s friggin’ awesome. Even at a core surface level, its not hard to follow along and features some terrific, unique and eye appealing action sequences that thrill along with a plot that keeps you in suspense. Any way you swing it, Inception is quite the treat.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.65

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Inception’s 4K Utra-HD jump is another really damn impressive upgrade from Warner Bros in this Nolan collection. Once again…what the hell happened with Batman Begins?  Details and textures run rampant everywhere, from clean and clearly visible pinstripes on suits to the grain, finish and scuffs on a wood floor/door frame. This image features some excellent display of natural coloring, with great saturation and a lovely image of just regular old colors which is impressive. The image is one that has a little bit of a natural 3 dimensional look  to it with its good sense of spacing. This is another winner and I really think people are going to be very happy with this, considering its the only part of this release that has been upgraded or changed.

Depth:  There is a really nice depth of field here in the pictured as the foreground and background really leave a lot of room from one another. Movements are in a sense of free space with no jittering or blurring occurring in it no matter how rapid the action.

Black Levels: Blacks see real nice improvement here with detail maintained expertly on darkened hair, surfaces, clothing textures/patterns and shadowy scenes. hell, you can make out the individual parts of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s that have dried hair spray/gel on them in one moment. No crushing at all in the picture.

Color Reproduction: Through these reviews, I’ve noticed a consistency in Nolan’s really pretty, natural color palette that looks something of a modern 60s in terms of style and colors. Its present in everything from Dark Knight to Dunkirk. Here the browns, reds, blues and such look quite gorgeous to go along with natural grays and more. HDR gets applies naturally to lights, fires, digital screens and roaring explosions.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish in the film. Facial features like stubble, makeup, freckles, moles, scars, lines, sweat, glossiness, blemishes and really anything is visible from any given distance in the given frame.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio, French (Canadian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA German 5.1 DTS_HD MA, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Chinese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Hungarian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, Turkish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Spanish (Castilian), Dutch 5.1 Dolby Digital, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, Spanish (Latin American), Portuguese (Brazil), Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Dynamics: Inception comes equipped with its original theatrical 5.1 mix. As a matter of fact, I’m fairly certain this is the same track from the original Blu-ray release. That’s not a bad thing at all. The mix is stellar, heavier on the bass and rumbling the Zimmer score while still keeping the vocals at a nice level and crafting distinct, lifelike effects. Its a loud and impactful track that keeps this thing pulse pounding and intense.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Hans Zimmer loves the subwoofer as he puts it to work as well as explosions, gunshots, shattering glass and more.

Surround Sound Presentation: The mix is wonderfully and strategically calculated through all channels bringing this reality and the dreamed one to a cool, accurate and intricate mix. Rear channels provide good unique sound and inventive ambiance to keep every moment in this movie with a realized environment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are good, crisp and have real good attention to diction and every little mouth sound comes right through.

Extras 

Inception is a 3-Disc set that comes with the 2-Disc Blu-ray edition of the film. All bonus materials are featured on the standard Blu-ray edition.

Blu-ray Disc 1

Extraction Mode

Blu-ray Disc 2

Behind The Story (HD, 59:03)

Project Somnacin: Confidential Files

5.1 Inception Soundtrack (HD, 38:38)

Extras

  • Conceptual Art Gallery
  • Promotional Art Archive

Trailers & TV Spots

  • Trailers (HD, 4:50)
  • TV Spots (HD, 11:28)

 

Summary 

Inception is one of Christopher Nolan’s finest hours. Its a film that I feel we should still be discussing, marveling and theorizing about today.  Our only upgrade here is the video, as the audio for the film remains the same (Pretty sure, at least). And said video is pretty outstanding and an upgrade over an already great picture. The previous edition is carried over, so you’re missing out on nothing. Plus, as I said, the film is outstanding. Pick it up, make it a must in your 4K Ultra-HD collection.

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

1 Response to “Inception (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    Revisiting this film before Dunkirk, I was reminded how utterly fantastic it is. I was ready to start lowering my thoughts on it, going off just how time has gone on without seeing it, but it really is a spectacular film and I’m sure it looks and sounds amazing in 4K.