The Thirteenth Floor

I finally got a chance to check out this movie, The Thirteenth Floor, after it’s been sitting on my table for the past week, I hate leaving netflix movies sitting for too long I feel like I’m not getting my money’s worth.

So I sat down and watched this flick last night not expecting too much. I couldn’t recall hearing of any of the main actors before although I did recognize a few faces when it started. The movie is about a team of computer software engineers that create this simulation sort of like The Matrix, where you lay down and your brain is transfered into the computer and you take over the body of another person inside the simulation. The simulation was programmed to represent Los Angeles in 1937 and there were certain characters that were modeled after the main characters and other people they knew in real life. So the old guy that leads the team of engineers/programmers has been moonlighting inside the simulation and banging young women. It’s obviously just a simulation and not real life so as long as the timer is set to pull him out automatically, there really aren’t any consequences to getting his rocks off with young showgirls.

While on one of these sex journeys to the past he leaves a note with a bartender telling him to give it to Douglas, then he comes back to the real world and is carved up like a turkey (killed). Before he’s killed he calls Douglas and tells him that he left a message for him in the system. So of course Douglas has to go into the simulation and try to retrieve this message from the bartender who took it upon himself to read the letter and turn him into a hostile asshole. So the rest of the movie is about Douglas trying to figure out who killed the old man and why.

Ok, now there are going to be some spoilers that will seriously ruin the end of the movie. So if you plan on watching the movie anytime soon and don’t want the entire plot ruined for you I would stop reading now.

The big twist in the movie is the fact that what Douglas and his team think is the real world is actually another simulation. There are, in a sense, three different worlds here. The real world, which has created a simulation, Douglas’ real world, which as subsequently created another simulation, the 1937 world. Douglas’ world is a simulation and it’s also the first simulation to ever create a simulation within a simulation. Apparently the actual real world has a bunch of these simulations that residents can hang out in and tool around with to get away from the actual real world. And this is exactly what the old man found out, he discovered that what they thought was the real world was actually a simulation.

Apparently these simulations only cover a certain area of the world, a city, and once you venture out to the end of the world all you see is green grid lines indicating that you have reached the limits of the simulation. This is what the old man wrote in his letter which then caused the bartender to drive his car to the limits and realize that his world is a sham. So then he goes rogue and tries to kill Douglas when he’s in their world romping around.

Ok so that’s basically the movie, but I do have a couple questions that didn’t really make sense to me. At one point in Douglas’ world, his assistant guy plugs into the simulation to check it out and since his alter-ego in the simulation is that bartender he takes over his body. So he’s driving around the simulation looking like the bartender, but then he gets hit by a car and killed. When he’s killed he wakes up in his world (Douglas’ world), but he’s not himself, the bartenders personality and mind has now jumped from the simulation to the “real world”.

So if you die in the simulation, since your brain was transfered into the computer, you die, I get that. It’s just like The Matrix, but in this case apparently whoever’s body you took over in the simulation now jumps out to your world and takes over your body. I don’t understand how this would work since when you go into the simulation only your brain is copied into the simulation, the other person that you’re taking over’s brain is not copied back to yours. So how does the simulation brain jump out into the world above it?

Another problem I have with this is how do they control this? In Douglas’ world it’s not really an issue because the simulation is a very secret project and only 3 people total in the movie have ever gone into it, thus negating something like this happening frequently. However, since Douglas’ world is a simulation itself there is a world on top of it and this world has personal simulators that people wear at home just laying around the house. They are like futuristic looking headphones that you wear and they plug you in to the simulation. Now if everyone has access to technology like this in the future world, you would think that this situation of someone dying in the matrix would happen fairly often, thus bringing simulated personalities out of the simulation on a regular basis. I know if I had access to a simulation like this I would be doing all sorts of death defying things and probably killing myself on a regular basis. It is just a simulation, I know it’s a simulation whether the other people in the simulated world know it or not… so why should dying there harm me at all?

So while the movie was good it did leave me with a few questions that just don’t seem to make sense to me. If anyone else has seen the movie can you offer an explanation? Maybe I missed something, maybe the brains were copied back and forth, I don’t know, I just don’t understand. Oh, but props to that old dude for using the simulation has his personal whore house…. I bet he had a blast.