Blu-Ray Review: Inception

Easily one of the most talked about (and some would say overly discussed) films of the last year, Christopher Nolan's Inception is a dazzling mindbender that, love it or hate it, has spawned countless parodies, homages, and send-ups. Coming off of the record-breaking success of The Dark Knight, Nolan had the support of a rabid fanbase eager to declare the film's genius long before its release. And when some critics stood up to question the film's logic and execution, fans became overprotective and derided critics in angry rebuttals and comments. In my initial review, I questioned the film's final shot and spent the next month sifting through emails either disagreeing with me or sharing various interpretations of the film.

Inception, if you've somehow missed all the debate, is the story of Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio), a man with the rather peculiar profession of being a dream thief, dipping into the dreams of others and wresting from them private information that they wouldn't otherwise share. When a mysterious man offers him a job involving implanting an idea rather than stealing them, Cobb assembles a crack team to pull of this "inception." What follows is a modern masterpiece of science fiction that plays around with some pretty heavy ideas and requires an awful lot of explanation. At the film's conclusion, Nolan offers a single question that sends the audience into curious fits, often questioning every frame of film they've seen.

And they should question it. Nolan has hidden a number of clues as to the reality of it all throughout the film. And now, on Blu-ray, you can explore Inception again and again, trying to find the answers for yourself.

The film has a handful of special features that are divided into two sections. The first disc contains the film plus all the making-of featurettes. You're given the choice of watching the featuretes assembled along with the film in an epic three-hour experience, or you can go -- ironically -- one level deeper and find the spot where you can watch each item individually. The making-of portions themselves aren't really all that mind-blowing, but there is plenty of conversation with Nolan, which will slake fans' thirst for explanation.

The real prize is on the second disc, which, aside from containing a number of stills of concept art and production photos, has an hour-long documentary on dreams assembled by hitRECord, the production project headed by one of the film's stars, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. This fascinating documentary weaves you through wonderful dreamlike images -- many starring Gordon-Levitt himself -- overlayed with talking head interviews with a number of dream experts and psychologists, trying to unravel the nature of dreams while simultaneously applying it to its use in Inception. One of the best documentary special features I've seen recently, this could easily be watched and discussed with friends independent of the film itself -- a rare thing for a DVD special feature. The final interesting piece of this disc is the inclusion of a flash-animated version of the available-free-online prequel comic The Cobol Job. Well-executed, the only problem is that it isn't voice acted, which would have been a nice touch and really leaves you wishing it had been.

Say what you will, but films like Inception are exactly why Blu-ray was invented. The film looks beautiful and should be viewed as large and at as high a resolution as possible.

Inception is available now from Warner Home Video, and comes complete with the DVD version of the film as well as a digital copy.