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While the twists in the plot are not as completely unexpected as the filmmakers might have liked, THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR ($29) proves to be an entertaining science fiction fantasy nonetheless. THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR opens in what the audience believes to be 1937 Los Angeles, following the exploits of one Hannon Fuller (Armin Mueller-Stahl), who appears to be enjoying the good life. After an evening on the town, which includes cocktails at a prestigious hotel and the company of a beautiful young woman, Fuller returns home to and goes to bed. The next thing we know, we are in present day Los Angeles, where we discover that Fuller was only experiencing a recreation of 1937 Los Angeles through a high tech computer simulation created by his company. Upon exiting the simulation, Fuller tries to contact his right hand man, Douglas Hall (Craig Bierko) concerning a recent discovery he has made.

Unfortunately, before he can share his revelation with Hall, an unknown assailant murders Fuller. After a preliminary investigation, Hall finds himself very high on the list of murder suspects. Further complicating matters for Hall is the arrival of Fullerís previously unknown daughter Jane (Gretchen Mol), a woman whom he thinks he may recognize. Hoping to clear his own name, Hall begins searching for clues and discovers that Fuller left him a message somewhere inside the computer simulation. Hall ventures into the recreation of 1937 looking for the evidence that will clear his name, however he is totally unprepared for what he finds in there. THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR also stars Vincent D'Onofrio as the filmís heavy and Dennis Haysbert as the cop looking for the truth.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is very nice, but the way the movie was shot does not lend itself to high definition demo material. Much of THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR was photographed in that foggy/smoky style that was popular back in the eighties and nineties, so there is a diffuse quality to much of the cinematography. Other stylistic trappings are applied to the different eras depicted in the film. Close-ups fare much better than medium and long shots, and it is here that the image is at its sharpest and provides its best level of definition. By design, color reproduction is a bit variable, with the 1937 computer simulation sequences appearing muted in comparison to those taking place outside of 1937. Blacks are pretty accurate; whites appear stable, while contrast is smooth. The elements from which THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR has been mastered are quite clean. Grain appears in varying levels, but it is always appropriate and organic.

THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. The mix is slightly dated, but generally comes across quite well. There is a nice channel separation across the front, with less activity being directed to the rear channels. The active effects that do find their way to the back are nicely implemented, but one will not mistake THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR for a newer film. Fidelity is strong, with the music and effects coming across cleanly. The bass channel provides a good level of reinforcement. Dialogue reproduction is crystal clear. French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD soundtracks are also present, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of extras, which are carried over from the DVD release. An informative running Audio Commentary featuring director Josef Rusnak and production designer Kirk M. Petruccelli is the discís primary supplement. A Music Video for the song Erase/Rewind by The Cardigans, plus some Bonus Trailers close out the standard extras. THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

Although it may have fallen off the radar since it was released on DVD, THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR offers solid sci-fi fantasy entertainment and is a title that fans will be glad to have available on Blu-ray.



The Thirteenth Floor [Blu-ray] (1999)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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