Archive for Virtual Reality

7:00 Movie Hour – The Thirteenth Floor

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2013 by urbannight

In 2000, this 1999 film was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film, losing to The Matrix.   I’m guessing it is, in part, because The Matrix is more obvious and a bigger thrill ride.

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The Thirteenth Floor is a murder mystery, pure and simple.  It is also a reality trip as you eventually realize that there are multiple realities going on and the reality you thought was ‘real’ may not be after all.

The movie feels slow.  In fact, it is not.  There is a lot going on and you switch scenes often and the plot starts fast and keeps going.  The reason the film feels slow is that so much of it has very little physical action and movement.  People are talking, People driving from point a to point be, people are standing at bars.  While the scenes change quickly, the physical activity of the actual people are minimal for most of the movie.  The result is the feel of a slow movie despite the rapid progression of the plot.

The movie starts with the murder of Fuller, an elderly gentleman who owns a massive computer company and had just created a new VR environment on a floor of his building.  His friend and protegé, Hall, wakes up to find a bloody shirt in his hamper and no memory of anything after he got back into town and when he woke in his bed.  He later meets a daughter of his friend that he never knew existed.  The film follows Hall as he goes in and out of the VR program of 1937 LA, tracking Fuller’s last movements, trying to find a letter Fuller left him.  Hall learns that reality isn’t what he thought it was.

The acting is well done and the movie is visually interesting as is partly a period piece.  The scenes set in the 1930’s are really nice.  But, overall, there is a muted, washed out quality to film.  It is more like the movie is done in sepia tones than anything vibrant.

While the story was interesting, the plot twist somewhat obvious but still engaging, and acting was good, the movie does not come off well.  The sensation of slowness, the lack of action, the lack of movement, and the dull colors and overall darkness (lighting issue, not mood issue) of the film brings it down.

If they were going to film it that way, the mental puzzles needed to be stronger.  I would say that if it is on sometime, go ahead and watch it, but it might not be the type of film you go out of your way to find.