Monday, December 29, 2014

The early days of the Internet during the "Dot-com Bubble" created its own "Ivory Tower"


Ivory Tower” has been a film title more than once (June 23, 2014), but this review is about a 1998 indie film from Vanguard, directed by Derrin Ferriola, concerning Silicon Valley startups in the earlier days.

The setup is that the likable protagonist Anthony (Patrick Van Horn) gets a new project in the dot-com boom world, but is upended when an autocratic new vice president (Michael Ironside) walks in the door and makes his life miserable.

The new boss (Mr. Felice) indeed off the charts, looking the employees into the office and taking out the coke machines so they won’t leave their cubicles.  And he plays every conceivable game of office politics.

One problem with the film now is that the scenario is dated, since the dot-com boom crashed.  This film long predates social media as we know it today.  But the idea of Internet TV is discussed. There is some discussion of firmware engineering and one demonstration.  

The “green boss” wants to maximize short term profits with older technology, and doesn’t want to gamble with profits now with investing in the future.  That was more a common business dilemma in the 1980s, with hostile takeovers. The boss doesn’t even see the value of the World Wide Web the way we know it today. But at the very end, he pulls a pleasant surprise. The title of the film comes from a viewing perch from which he overlooks his underlings at a "science fair" toward the end. 
   
The DVD transfer is of somewhat substandard quality;  the resolution is weaker, and the images tend to expand slightly width-wise.

  

Comparisons could be made with “August” (Aug. 1, 2008) and “Startp.com”.  

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