Blu-ray reviews
This Month's Featured Equipment Reviews
ZenWave Cables and SurgeX ZenWave Edition Review
REDGUM BLACK RGi35ENR Integrated Amplifier Review
Linear Tube Audio MicroZOTL 2.0 Headphone Amp & Preamp Review
iFi Micro iUSB 3.0 & Gemini USB Cable Reviews
Marantz M-CR611 Network CD Receiver Review
10 Most Recent Blu-ray Reviews
Latest AV News
Blu-ray Software Forum Topics:
Most Popular Blu-ray Reviews
Past Blu-ray Software News
Thirteenth Floor, The (1999) Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
ImageIn 1999, one the most interesting science fiction was released to a less than stellar response.  Sure the film has some issues, the premise behind the story is ingenious.  The film only grossed about $12 million at the box office.  I truly believe that the film suffered from poor promotion rather than being a poor film.  "The Thirteenth Floor" is a psychological and science fiction gem.

The film is slow in parts, but the ultimate revelation catches you totally by surprise.  Having not seen the film since its original release, I had completely forgotten the twist in the film.  It was a pleasure to reconnect with the story.

"The Thirteenth Floor" is like "The Matrix" combined with "The Cell."  Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) is a computer genius that has designed a secret project that has resulted in the creation of another world.  The world is manufactured by the computer simulation program, but the resulting characters believe the world to be real.  When the user takes off the helmet, the characters continue to live their lives in the fictional world.

When Fuller is murdered, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) is fingered as the prime suspect by the police.  Hall is number two in command at the Fuller corporation, and with Fuller out of the way, he inherits the company.  To the surprise of the police and Hall, Fuller's unspoken-of daughter, Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol) appears after his death.  Meanwhile, other witnesses and personnel begin to turn up dead.  Each time, Hall awakes with no recollection of what has happened, leading the police to suspect him even more.

Things take a twist when Fuller's "daughter" disappears.  A phone message left for Hall by Fuller shortly before his death informs Hall that a message has been left for him in the system.  Hall plugs into the computer simulation machine and searches desperately for the message.  He seeks out each of the citizens that were modeled after the creators of the simulation.  Jason Whitney (Vincent D'Onofrio) is the computer geek behind the simulation.  His alter ego in the computer simulation is Jerry Ashton, a bartender in 1937 Los Angeles.  It is Ashton which possesses note left for Hall.  Unfortunately, Ashton read the letter and found out the truth.  He longs to know what the real world is like and wants to be taken there.  Eventually, Ashton flips and becomes a psychopath.

The rest of the film is all twisted and needs to be seen for yourself.  I will not give away the turning point, but it is rather clever. The video transfer is decent, but it is not spectacular.  The low-budget production is shown in readily in the transfer, although not nearly as much as in the recent "Donnie Darko" release.  The film has a consistent layer of film grain, which adds to the depth of the film and is never really distracting.  The image is intentionally a bit soft.  The simulated world is near colorless, with pushes to green and yellow.  This is intentional.  The black levels are decent and shadow delineation is surprisingly good.  The details are also good, even in the darker sequences.  The transfer does not warrant exemplary marks, but it is much improved over the standard DVD.

Likewise, the audio transfer is also adequate.  The Blu-ray comes with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track.  There is not much in the way of dynamics and the frequency response is consistent.  The LFE channel has a surprising prominence, which is well received.  The dialogue is clean and intelligible.  The surround channels are engaged with sound design elements and music bleed.  There is not much in the way of discreet sound effects, but the envelopment is good.  The clarity of the track is impressive and its dynamic range is better than the standard Dolby Digital audio track.  For fans of the film, this is a good upgrade component.

The Blu-ray comes with the same special features that were present on the standard DVD release.  All the special features have been left in standard definition.  There is an audio commentary track with director Josef Rusnak and production designer Kirk M. Patruccelli.  This track is fairly boring.  There are so many meaningless facts distributed that it becomes tough to handle.  The only other supplement is a music video of "Erase/Rewind" by The Cardigans.  The disc is also BD-Live enabled and has previews for other Sony Blu-ray disc releases.

"The Thirteenth Floor" has a unique draw to it.  While it has been dominated by "The Matrix," this film has its own little niche among science fiction fans.  The video and audio quality have been nicely preserved and upgrade form the standard definition release.  I recommend this disc to fans of science fiction and thrillers.

Like this article? Bookmark and share with any of the sites below.
Digg!Reddit!!Google!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!
HDTV Guide Advert

  home theater news  |  equipment reviews 
  blu-ray reviews  |  dvd  |  theatrical reviews  
  music download reviews  |  music disc reviews
  contact  |  about-us  |  careers   |  brands 
  RSS   |  AVRev Forums
  front page  |  virtual tours  |  dealer locator
  how to features  |   lifestyle & design articles
  Want Your Home Theater Featured on MHT?
   CE Partners: HDD  |  HDF  |  VGT  |  SD  |  DVD
  Advertise with Us | Specs | Disclaimer | Sponsors
  privacy policy | cookie policy | terms of use
  909 N. Sepulveda Blvd. El Segundo, CA 90245
  Ads: 310.280.4476 | Contact Us
  Content: 310.280.4575 | Mike Flacy