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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

79






Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1999
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, French
Starring: Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Vincent D'Onofrio, Dennis Haysbert, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Directed by: Josef Rusnak
Music by: Harald Kloser
Written by: Josef Rusnak & Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 14, 2009







"You can go there even though it doesn't exist"



Film Synopsis:


The barriers that separate fantasy from reality are shattered in this stylish, mind-jarring thriller, where two parallel worlds collide in a paroxysm of deception, madness and murder. On the thirteenth floor of a corporate tower, high-tech visionary Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko, The Long Kiss Goodnight) and his high-strung colleague, Whitney (Vincent D'Onofrio, Men In Black), have opened the door to an amazing virtual world - circa 1937 Los Angeles. But when the powerful leader of their secret project (Armin Mueller-Stahl, Shine, The X-Files) is discovered slashed to death, Hall himself becomes the prime suspect. Arriving from Paris is the beautiful and mysterious Jane Fuller (Gretchen Mol, Rounders), claiming to be the murder victim's daughter. Her instant, magnetic attraction to Hall only further blurs the lines of what is real. Is he the killer? Is the inscrutable Jane somehow connected? To find the answers, Hall must cross the boundaries into the simulated reality he has helped create - and confront the astonishing truth about his own existence.





My Take:

The thirteenth floor is a sci-fi thriller about an experiment gone awry, resulting in a murder mystery that veers between 1937 Los Angeles and the present day. It offers a look at reality versus manipulated perception, where one is forced to question everything. I thought that this had an interesting concept and really liked the story's suspense in the beginning. It had kind of a Matrix meets the Twilight Zone premise which in and of itself worked because there were unanswered questions that had intriguing potential. Once things were revealed the story fell into a quagmire of contrivable situations that left it feeling unoriginal and average. The cast was solid and I loved the look of the film, especially the 1937 set pieces. As a Sci-Fi based thriller that was released in 1999 it probably had more impact at that time than it would of today. Perhaps if I had seen it then I would have felt more of a connection to it. Having seen The Matrix first, a film like this which follows a similar premise, feels like a bit of an afterthought that just didn't compare.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for violence, some sensuality and language.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 80


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 78


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

The thirteenth floor comes to Blu-ray from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.6 mbps.

This is a dark film that makes use of sepia tones, deep grays and occasional splashes of color. Colors are cleanly rendered with natural looking tones that are well balanced. Many of the low lit interior sequences are gloomy and hazy which tends to highlight film grain. Resolution is good but sharpness is inconsistent which at times results in the video having a dull, flat finish. Blacks are deep but not gradationally satisfying. Detail in low lighting and dark backgrounds are on the murky side which leaves much of the film lacking good dimensional perspective. Other than some minor banding I didn't see any obvious signs of video related artifacts. Technically this presentation wasn't bad but overall I found it to be unremarkable. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was similar in that it sounded okay but offered little to make it standout. Dialogue was intelligible but lacked the prominence necessary to make it defining during audibly busier scenes. The surround mix was fairly active and contained a host of atmospheric and discretely placed sounds that moved throughout the soundfield. The music score is neatly infused with the audio and remains distinct but never overzealous within the mix. Low frequency effects are prevalent and palpable with notable response that is sometimes lacking in articulation/quickness. I enjoyed the audio presentation overall but felt that the mix was a bit exaggerated and didn't positively gel with the source material.



Bonus Features:

  • Commentary with Co-writer/Director Josef Rusnak and Production designer Kirk M. Petrucelli

  • Music video - Erase/rewind by The Cardigans

  • (HD) 4 BD previews

  • BD-Live enabled





Final Thoughts:


The thirteenth floor is a futuristic sci-fi thriller that has a decent premise but was ultimately beaten to the punch by a better executed film in The Matrix. The uneven story started strong but didn't finish the same way which was a shame because I liked where it was going initially. Its high definition debut from Sony isn't among their best catalog releases on Blu-ray and the bonus content doesn't offer much. If you're a fan I would recommend you rent this before purchase.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

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Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player

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B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

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Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

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I love these kinds of movies! Sci-fi thriller/suspense. This kind of reminds me of Timecop with Jean Claude.


Definitely getting this one.


Thanks again for the review Ralph.


Cheers
 

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Personally, I disagree, I thought this was much better executed than the Matrix (which is still one of my top movies). Though they have similar concepts... sort of... I see this as more of a noir-ish type movie that makes you think, whereas the Matrix took the concept and made it into an action movie.
 

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This movie is KILLING Timecop - and I liked Timecop. When I first watched I really enjoyed the various twists and turns... enjoyed the cast thoroughly, really liked Craig Bierko in this.


Film deserves more than two yellow dots... definitely more. If the drek of Transporter 3 can get two and a half dots, I have give 13th floor three and a half yellow dots easy.
 

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This movie was the very first dvd I watched. I remember at the time thinking that dvd didn't look much better than vhs! haha


But still it boggles my mind that in such a short time (compared to how long vhs was around) I would read a review of the movie in a superior format.


It's funny that three virtual reality movies would be released in the same year. I think that eXistenZ is the most thought provoking one, but only The Matrix really achieved popularity.
 

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I'm in agreement with everyone. I really enjoyed this movie. It definitely deserves more than 2 dots. I have the dvd but I would consider getting the blu-ray.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Greetings,


Thanks for the input everyone. This one didn't work for me but variety is what makes the world go around..



Enjoy!




Regards,
 

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2 stars? seriously? after all these movies you've been giving 4 or even 5 stars to and then this movie gets 2. I feel like I've been sucked into a vortex and ended up in bizzaro world.
 

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Well, Ralph gave his mea culpa, sometimes folks just don't like something. Nice to see everyone come to the defense of this movie, it really is one of the better films most people haven't heard of...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masako /forum/post/16220544


I agree, and I used to love the heck out of this movie in particular; it's right up there with Dark City for me. I'll have to give this another watch.

Dark City is a cult classic!
It's almost like The Truman show except more mysterious and Dark. lol
 

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Thanks for the review as I was wondering what the pq/sq might be like. Good to know that it appears both are decent.


I loved this movie and I could see how first seeing this after the Matrix may leave you a bit underwhelmed since they came out around the same time so this could seem more like a been there done that thing 10 years later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnj1958 /forum/post/16222693


2 stars? seriously? after all these movies you've been giving 4 or even 5 stars to and then this movie gets 2. I feel like I've been sucked into a vortex and ended up in bizzaro world.

Greetings,


Get a grip gnj1958. If you like this film I can appreciate that but a general statement about other films that have gotten higher ratings is inflammatory and unneccessary. Everyone's take on a particular movie is purely subjective and should be viewed with that in mind. If you have something constructive to offer please feel free. Do me a favor and save your rhetoric as it is neither appreciated or constructive.



Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts /forum/post/16223407


Greetings,


Get a grip gnj1958. If you like this film I can appreciate that but a general statement about other films that have gotten higher ratings is inflammatory and unneccessary. Everyone's take on a particular movie is purely subjective and should be viewed with that in mind. If you have something constructive to offer please feel free. Do me a favor and save your rhetoric as it is neither appreciated or constructive.



Regards,

Woah steady on there Ralph. My comments were meant as a lighthearted view of your rating system. Your lower rating ,it seems to me anyway, is based on nothing other than the fact that you hadn't seen the movie before and comparing it to the Matrix you found it underwhelming. Most of your comments about the movie itself were complementary.


I guess I didn't realize that if someone comes on the internet and says film A warrants 5 starts and film B only warrants 2 then I should just accept that and go away quietly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnj1958 /forum/post/16225122


Woah steady on there Ralph. My comments were meant as a lighthearted view of your rating system. Your lower rating ,it seems to me anyway, is based on nothing other than the fact that you hadn't seen the movie before and comparing it to the Matrix you found it underwhelming. Most of your comments about the movie itself were complementary.


I guess I didn't realize that if someone comes on the internet and says film A warrants 5 starts and film B only warrants 2 then I should just accept that and go away quietly.


Greetings,


If I misread the tone of your post I apologize gnj1958. If you have read any of my posts in this forum you should realize I have no problem with feedback good or bad. So no, I don't expect someone to 'go away quietly'.




Cheers,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhoff80 /forum/post/16217953


personally, i disagree, i thought this was much better executed than the matrix (which is still one of my top movies). Though they have similar concepts... Sort of... I see this as more of a noir-ish type movie that makes you think, whereas the matrix took the concept and made it into an action movie.


+1
 
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