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Warner / 148 Minutes / 2010 / Rated PG-13 / Street Date: December 7, 2010
Christopher Nolan has revitalized mainstream dramatic filmmaking - with The Dark Knight and even more so with this year's breakout dramatic hit Inception, the director has made smart entertainment almost as cool as blow-em-up multiplex stupidity. Whether or not you fell under Inception's steely spell, the movie must be given credit for offering an involving story told intelligently - in short, it didn't need to be smart and probing, but it is, anyway. How nice.
What Inception's Blu-ray Disc edition will likely prove, though, is that what felt like legitimately powerful mind-fuck filmmaking was really just smoke and mirrors. I made the mistake of seeing the film a second time in theatres, and I wish I hadn't - the sense of discovery watching Inception the first time is wonderfully vivid and impressive: It feels like you're not just watching a filmmaking team assemble a jigsaw puzzle in front of your very eyes, but that you're a willing participant in the film's narrative problem-solving.
Repeat viewings, though, will probably dull Inception-lovers' passion for the film. What was upon first experience a labyrinthine tale of dream-chasers and realities within (and without?) realities plays on Blu-ray like low-common-denominator magicianship. Nolan's tale following Leo DiCaprio and company down the rabbit-hole is alluring in its savvy and sleekness (the film's visual presence is absolutely sensational), but everybody knows that the 'Oh, it was just a dream..." default plot device is one of the worst in the business, and even though each time it's used here, it's tied up with a nice pretty bow, Inception is nevertheless flagrant in its usage of it.
This is not to say that Inception is a bad movie - again, compared to 90% of the drivel released in theatres this summer, it stands tall as a bastion of elegance and old-fashioned Hollywood glitz - but it's a hollow one. I don't mind unanswered questions - Hell, bring on more discussion points like the film's now-infamous final shot! - but Inception ends up being little more than a craftsmanlike dangling carrot: There's movie magic in spades here, but upon further review of the film, it's all sheen and no delivery.