Plot: What’s it about?
While comparisons to The Matrix are evident and expected, The 13th Floor delivers in a all different way. Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl) runs a computer software company that has been doing some research in developing a computer generated reality environment with some success. Fuller’s office is comprised of several mainframe-style computers which represent and reproduce a person in Fuller’s world. The user jacks in and is downloaded into the system and placed into the environment and can interact with ease. Fuller jacks in one night and plays out a role he only wishes he could reproduce in reality. After jacking out and coming back to reality, He ventures off to a bar in the middle of the night to get a drink and make a phone call and ends up dead. The movie now changes focus from Fuller to his assistant Douglas Hall( Doug Bierko) who becomes the #1 suspect of the investigation. He soon finds out his long time friend (Fuller) has a daughter played by (Gretchen Mol). This is of total shock to Hall as he thought he knew Fuller inside and out.
The meat of the story begins at this point and Hall is told he has a message left on his machine from Fuller. Fuller tells him that he has left a message in the machine and he wants him to retrieve it. Fuller immediately runs down to the office to try out the machine and obtain the information left by him. Upon entering the world he is amazed by the realistic look of it and becomes involved as a bank teller who is having a bad day and needs a break. He immediately goes around Los Angeles 1937 to obtain the info. At this point the director/writer Josef Rosnak peels away the layers of plot and reveals the story piece by piece. Be forwarned the story is a little slow. While not the special effects laden blockbuster as The Matrix was, The 13th floor goes for the story and acting element and delivers with a overall pleasing experience.
Video: How does it look?
The 13th floor is presented in a wonderful 2.35:1 anamorphic display that is rich with colors and quite pleasing. Columbia/Tri Star has delivered a wonderful package. A Pan & Scan version is also included on the second side. The detail is wonderful but there is a slight bit of edge enhancement to it.
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is a big highlight for this flick as the surrounds envelop the listen with balance and directionality. The bass was terrific as the window behind the couch and the floor shook with authority. The dynamic range was out of this world as one part of the movie it is quiet with a little dialog and the next you are surrounded with loud dynamicly sounding effects. There is a Dolby surround option for the sound as well but it wasnt at all close to the 5.1.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While Columbia could have released a featureless movie, they go the right route and deliver lots of extras that make this a true special edition. There is a feature length commentary by the director Josef Rosnak and also by production designer Kirk M Petrucelli. Cast and crew bios. A ‘Cardigans’ music video for there song Erase/Rewind. There is a conceptual art gallery and a before/after special effects gallery( although i would have hoped they would have followed The Mummy version of special effects gallery, the didn’t). The also include a total of 4 theatrical trailers for Starship Troopers, Godzilla, Flatliners and of course, The 13th Floor.