“ Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Science Fiction / Theatrical Release: 1999 / Director: Josef Rusnak / Actors: Craig Bierko, Armin Mueller-Stahl ... / DVD released 03 July, 2000 at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen „
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Take a film like The Matrix and borrow some of its better concepts to give you The 13th Floor. A guy discovers an amazing secret and hides it in a computer simulation then gets killed. Then one of the simulated people reads a message that tells him he's also in a simulation, and he gets ticked off about it. He decides to go and have a look and finds the end of his world, where the simulation expires.
The murder is investigated and it looks like an open & shut case. In the real world someone goes and has a look, and finds the end of his world. He's in a simulation as well in the first ever simulation that has created a simulation inside it.
It's pretty wild. Vincent D'onofrio is excellent. He normally gets pretty typecast in films. He plays 2 different characters here - a barman and a computer programmer. He gets hijacked by a user and ends up dead.
Over all it's a lot like The Matrix and many other films that question the reality in which we live. I like it. The lead actor is rubbish but the performance by Vincent are excellent as always
'The Thirteenth Floor', on DVD is a stylish, beautifully presented and executed package with a lot of thought, creativity and flair. The attractive cover, a subtle and yet distinct combination of green and black, an actual shot from the movie, gives an attractive and appealling impression. It brings forth the mysterious, original and creative qualities the movie is best for. The film itself is wonderful; a little baffling and complicated in places, but the plot does eventually slot itself together. The storyline revolves around two different worlds, connected by a machine which inhabits one's body while allowing consciousness to pass between realms, taking over equivalent people in those worlds, for better and for worse. The main character, Whitney, the creater of the system, so it seems, wishes to leave control of his whole corporation to his trusted associate, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko), and so leaves him an important note in a way and place he supposes only Hall can get his hands on it; but in doing so plays into the hands of the wrong mind. So it turns out, this evolves into a relatively complex twisting tale, revolving around different and unconsidered identities, with, amazingly, a cop - being the only human yardstick, the character who doesn't change, as everyone else appears to. So, will pulling the plug dissolve one system, one life, or everyone's life. Were we all the product of the most detailed computerised system ever devised? Could 'happy-ever-after' ever evolve from such a situation? The DVD contents are displayed in a clever way, listed down both sides of a corridor shaped sequence. The darkness is kept with the light in the centre keeping a balanced contrast. This layout is very similar to most other Columbia Tristar science-fiction DVDs; the same font, with their presentation clear, relevant and well thought-out. They do seem to put a bit of effort into their productio
ns, and this does not go unnoticed. Sound and vision - After a beautifully sharp, crisp opening sequence, the real encapturing aspect of the film is the colour schemes and special effects between the two worlds; the past being most washed out, yet still elegantly pictured and portrayed. In the extra features available, one can see how special effects were used to transform the same buildings and areas giving futuristic and historical looks for the present and past times respectively. Nothing is left out in this film. You have the strong, deep and dark colours in the futuristic world, with dark blues, black, pierced by light green; and the pale, natural glow of the outside world in the past world. (1937) The Dolby Digital 5.1 does not disappoint, and captures tidily the tide of noise in the background, music etc, and yet distincts the relevant conversation. 1:2.35 COLOUR 96MINS Rating - 15! For the hard of hearing, subtitles are available in the following languages: English, Polish, Czech, Icelandic, Hungarian, Hebrew, Dutch, Hindi, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Greek and Finnish The extras offered on this DVD are plentiful, and not deficient in quality either. A US Theatrical trailer is included, and I personally find a trailer useful to watch when I've finished watching a film, to see what it mentions, and what it leaves; to see how much of the plot it gives away, and see that I spotted everything (correctly). Together with this, a very eye-catching Music Video of 'The Cardigans', the number being 'Erase/Rewind', which neatly intersperses brief scenes of the film with their own video recording, with the track consistent over both. Basically, like watching an Erasure video (Sorry, was bound to slip sometime). Thirdly, a version is available with 'behind the scenes' personnel commentating as the movie runs as normal, which is basically just a varied audio track runn
ing over the same visual showing. This is also common for Columbia Tristar productions. Here, we are treated to the wonderful comments of the director Josef Rusnak, towards a movie that I just had to know how it was made; and fascinating to find out. The filmographies were a tad disappointing, but as they carry little importance, it perhaps matters not so much. These are mini-profiles of the main actors, offering snapshot, d.o.b, previous films starred in and general comments. Finally, I actually was impressed by the art gallery, and this is normally something I can't stand in a DVD. However, the demonstrations offered of how the same scenes were transformed to look futuristic and historic is reasonably interesting and well worth a look. Conclusion - A stylish, well thought out and executed production, comments carried on for the DVD disc itself. The extras are definitely a plus point and do really make it worth purchasing or hiring the DVD in preference to VHS. However, of course, the film is main focus, and I definitely recommend it to ages 13/14+. 15 is a bit harsh, as I've known 12 films to be much more crude and contain worse material, so don't be offset by that; but the plot takes a little bit of understanding, and so the age is beneficial in that aspect. I hope watchers enjoy the DVD as much as I have.
‘The Thirteenth Floor’ is a slightly disappointing film based on the idea of alternate realities, although it is slightly original in its method of exploring these realities and occasionally stylish in its execution. THE FILM The Thirteenth Floor features computer researcher Douglas Hall, a member of a team investigating the possibilities of computer generated realities and whose first apparently successful creation is a simulation of 1930’s Los Angeles. The project leader, Fuller, makes an amazing discovery and, believing his life to be in danger, deliberately leaves a message within the simulated world for Hall to find. Fuller is killed soon after exiting the simulation, and unfortunately Hall becomes the prime suspect in the murder inquiry. When Fuller’s daughter Jane arrives from Paris to claim her inheritance Hall becomes suspicious; he has never heard of Fuller having a daughter, despite being quite close to his boss. Worse still, Jane chooses to close the company and the project down — Hall may never find out what really happened to his deceased mentor. Therefore Fuller, still under suspicion of murder, must enter the simulation and discover the truth of what is really going on before it is too late… THE DISC · Distributor: Columbia Tristar Home Video [CDR 26772]. · Rating: 15. This film is intended as an action blockbuster, certainly, but it was definitely aimed at the American family audience and hence there is precious little in the way of blood and gore. To be perfectly honest, even this 15 rating seems a little harsh, and I don’t see any reason why this film couldn’t be watched by those younger than this age: the plot, however, might be a little beyond the reach of those under 10. · Region: 2 (PAL encoding). Standard UK release. · Type and case: DVD5 with black Amaray keepcase. Single-side, single-layer 12cm d
isc standard. · Running time: feature 96 minutes approx. Although the US run time was 100 minutes, the 4% PAL transfer speedup accounts for the difference exactly, and I believe the print contained within this release to be uncut. · Picture format: 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. It is nice to see the film’s original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 maintained, and it seems apparent from the image quality that this DVD was sourced straight from the 35mm stock. The 1930s scenes are an attempt at a refined, almost Gothic colour-scheme, and the print here captures these tones well, leaving the colours rich without creating a bright or gaudy appearance. Shadow gives this film much of its visual atmosphere, and thankfully this is well reproduced here. The anamorphic nature of the print helps the look of the film no end (to those with a widescreen TV, anyway; those without this will not notice the difference), adding around a third more definition to the image, and the fact that this is a PAL transfer means that you simply cannot get a better TV image at present. Print scratches and artefacts are non-existent. · Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1. This is a nicely produced soundtrack which takes full advantage of those surround sound speaker systems which everyone seems to have bought and yet haven’t, on the majority of DVD releases, been able to take full advantage of. · Subtitles: English, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, Hindi, Hebrew, Dutch, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian. · Extras: US Theatrical Trailer; Audio Commentary; Music Video; Conceptual Art Gallery; Before and After Special Effects Comparison; Talent Profiles. The US theatrical trailer, presented in approximately 1.85:1 letterboxed widescreen, is a fairly average affair but, as always, its inclusion is welcomed on a DVD release. The audio commentary is a full-length affair and features direct
or Josef Rusnak and production designer Kirk M. Petruccelli. For the most part this is a casual, undistinguished commentary, although both men obviously had some enthusiasm for this project. The Music video is The Cardigans, ‘Erase / Rewind’, which features a number of clips from the film interspersed with footage of the band themselves in the track that was intended to accompany this film on its tour as a triumphant, mega-cash-spinning blockbuster. It is presented in letterbox widescreen. The conceptual art gallery features approximately 10 stills of, as the title suggests, conceptual art illustrations, here reproduced in full colour. One chooses a left arrow and presses Enter to proceed between the images. The Before and After Special Effects comparison features a number of still images taken of the filming locations, the next image in the sequence showing how the location looked in the film after extensive CGI tampering had been achieved. Some of the contrasts between the pairs of shots are actually quite pronounced, the so-realistic-you-don’t-even-recognise-them-as-fake special computer generated effects actually being a highlight of this entire film. · Menus: Static, illustrated. These menus are basic but functional — even though they are not animated, they are not ugly nor do they give the disc a feeling of cheapness. One gets the impression of a DVD production company eager to do the job right, but not particularly bothered enough to excel. CONCLUSION This release is effectively a very competent one; the print is of the highest standard, and the soundtrack has been mastered to match. The special features are also far from poor: the inclusion of a full-length audio commentary, the film’s theatrical trailer and the various stills (especially the before and after comparisons) means that this disc hits way above average for the Region 2 market. It is a shame, the
refore, that the producers did not feel the necessity to include a full-length documentary or other such addition — the special effects on display here certainly warrant one, and in an America full of TV stations desperate for all kinds of documentaries to fill their air-time, I am sure that such a documentary has, in fact, already been filmed and aired across the pond. In any case, a pretty good release all told.
Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) awakens to find blood spots in his bathroom with a bloodied shirt in the bin, only later to find out his boss Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) has been murdered. All fingers are pointing at Hall, the only trouble is Hall cannot remember what he was doing when his boss was murdered. Hall and Fuller have created a computer simulated world of Los Angeles, 1937. Hall discovers the key to Fullers murder may lie in 1937 and goes in search of the truth. Enter the beautiful Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol) who may be able to solve the mystery of Hannon Fullers death. The characters soon learn that they are part of a computer simulated program and that nothing is as it seems. There are multiple universes, which make the plot rather confusing, even if you've only nipped to the loo for a quick one (my advice is to pause it first). The film is a cross between The Matrix, Dick Tracey, and an episode of Star Trek on the holodeck. It's intricate plot is rather contrived and seems to confuse rather than flow. That said it is still an intriguing film with a suitable twist to squirm out of answering any questions. It didn't quite fulfil it's potential, but, films asking serious questions such as 'what is reality', rarely do. A relatively short 90 minutes will leave you wondering for a few hours afterwards if your own conclusion about the film is correct and I am still asking myself whether or not I got it. The film captures the 1930s well (not that I would know what the 1930s were really like) and it does not seem false in any way. Aside from this there were no real special effects to talk about. The acting is great and Bierko and Mueller-Stahl put in a great performance, with Gretchen Mol playing a good role as the love interest. Vincent D'Onofrio, who plays Whitney, and Dennis Haysbert, playing Detective McBain also put in good performances. All in all a fascin
ating film, which I will definitely have to watch again, but for now it is still seeping slowly into my consciousness ready for download.
There has, recently, been something of a rash of films which have at their core an alteration of our perception of reality. Some of these films have been very good indeed (e.g. eXistenZ), whilst yet others have been reasonably undemanding yet very enjoyable entertainment (e.g. The Matrix, Dark City). Unfortunately every wave of films includes one or two within its ranks that are merely distillations of the core ideas reduced to an utterly simplistic level and served on a plate for a mass audience who (the director and producer hope) have not seen any of the other recent films. The Thirteenth Floor is one such film. It features computer researcher Douglas Hall (played by Craig Bierko) who is a member of a team investigating the possibilities of computer generated realities and whose first apparently successful creation is a simulation of 1930’s Los Angeles. The project leader, Fuller, played by Armin Mueller-Stahl, makes an amazing discovery, and deliberately leaves a message within the simulated world for Hall to find since he believes that his life may be in danger. Sure enough, he is killed soon after exiting the simulation, and unfortunately Hall becomes the prime suspect. When Fuller’s daughter Jane (Gretchen Mol), of whom Hall has never heard despite being very close to his boss, arrives from Paris to claim her inheritance and also to close the company and the project down, matter become even more urgent and Fuller, still under suspicion of murder, must enter the simulation and discover the truth of what is really going on before it is too late… I have to admit that seeing the name ‘Roland Emmerich’ during the opening credits of a film is something which makes me slightly apprehensive. As one of the team behind both Independence Day and the recent Godzilla remake, both of which were in my opinion nothing less than cinematic travesties, he is not exactly known for in-depth characterisation or plots of mind
-blowing complexity, and is in fact better known for having lots of things on screen explode in lieu of any real film content. Determined to give the film a fair chance, however, I continued, and was pleasantly surprised by the opening section of the film. This is, basically, played as a mystery; the science fictional elements are very present and are in fact integral to the plot, but the style of filming is more that of a straight drama, with excellent visuals and a gradually unfolding plot that intrigued me as an audience member helping to dampen the doubts I had previously had about the promise of this film. Unfortunately, however, this slow, steady luxurious pace was not a clever trick of the director, used in order to build up the suspense in order to effect a dramatic and tremendously effective finale in which the audience would be totally blown away; it was to continue throughout the entire film and this, coupled with another problem, namely that anyone with even an ounce of common sense can spot the final plot revelation more than half an hour before it actually happens, means that the final third of the film is one of the most mind-numbing slow and tedious experiences I can remember in a film of this budget. As far as acting goes, the film has a good, solid cast who are not exactly A-list names but look the part and can act to far above the level required. As far as the visuals go, the film is actually very good indeed, the CGI used to touch up scenes so that they appear to be authentic 1930’s settings so good that it goes unnoticed as special effects (which, to me, is the highest form of praise that this type of special effect can achieve). The direction is also far from terrible, and the film is accompanied by a score which, if a little workmanlike rather than genuinely inspired, does not in any way do the film an injustice. The problem, unfortunately, lies at the very core of the movie, rotting away at the entire structure and und
ermining the audience’s enjoyment of the entire film despite most of the other elements being right: the script. The script is far, far less clever than it thinks it is. As I stated previously, if the audience contains people with a shred of intelligence they will guess the ending 30 minutes before it happens. But if the audience comprises actual science fiction fans, or especially anyone who has seen eXistenZ or even The Matrix or Dark City, then those viewers will guess the resolution even earlier. And this is a shame, because if the exposition had been less obvious, the plot advancement less leaden, and the whole thing a great deal less sign-posted and linear the whole way through, this could have actually been a very good film indeed.
Computer scientist Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) finds something extremely important. Knowing that he's marked for assassination, he leaves a message in the virtual reality world he's designed, hoping it will be found by colleague Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko). Hall is a suspect in Fuller's murder and indeed finds a bloody shirt in his house, with no recollection of what he did the night before. Hall plunges headlong into Fuller's world (a re-creation of l937 Los Angeles) to try to unravel the slaying and is soon knee-deep in confusion and trouble. What this film lacks in character depth and plot cohesiveness it makes up for in special effects and high concept. Fans of films like Blade Runner, Dark City, eXistenZ, and even the game Sim City should find this appealing. Of course, there's the question of letting the computers do all the heavy lifting in films while the humans walk through the plot (an all-too-familiar scenario in 1999), but the re-creation of 30s Los Angeles is certainly something to see, pallid script and acting or not. The Thirteenth Floor is a stylish modern-day noir that raises questions about technology vs. reality, all the while wrapped up in a murder-mystery story line. --Jerry Renshaw