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Andrew Niccol
Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law
Writing Credits:
Andrew Niccol

A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

$36 million.
Opening Weekend
$4,320,202 on 1279 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
German Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Japanese Dolby 5.1
Chinese Traditional
Brazilian Portuguese
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $30.99
Release Date: 6/15/2021

• Deleted Scenes
• Original Featurette
• “Welcome to Gattaca” Featurette
• “Do Not Alter?” Featurette
• “Substance Test Outtake”
• Trailer & Previews
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Gattaca [4K UHD] (1997)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 29, 2022)

Folks tend to use the phrase "science fiction" in a fairly generic way that covers a myriad of genres, and action/fantasy-type films dominate. Generally when the term "science fiction" is used, we think of Star Wars, Star Trek, or something else that deals with other worlds and adventures. Really, most science fiction movies spend their time dealing with the fiction, not the science.

Gattaca offers an exception to that rule. Obviously it's fiction, since it takes place in an undefined but "not-too-distant" future.

However, the movie's main focus deals with the ramifications of science, particularly in the area of genetic research. What if we get to the point where your baby can essentially be "made to order"?

What if science could remove most of the uncertainties that come with reproduction? What would the world then be like? Those are the areas explored in Gattaca.

In the future, most babies are genetically engineered, but Antonio (Elias Koteas) and Marie Freeman (Jayne Brook) create son Vincent the old-fashioned way. After he comes out with health conditions, they decide that their second son Anton will be formed in a lab.

As an adult (Ethan Hawke), Vincent works as a janitor at an aerospace corporation, a job he took due to his fascination with space. He aspires to become an astronaut, but that seems out of his reach as his “genetically inferior” status renders him an “in-valid”.

Vincent refuses to abandon his dream, and he hooks up with the “genetically superior” Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law) to create a ruse. This will allow Vincent to impersonate Jerome and pursue his goals.

To the film's credit, it looks at the ramifications of the scientific possibilities calmly and rationally. Many films might take a Stepford Wives or Children of the Corn approach to the notion of a society into which babies can be genetically altered, but Gattaca avoids any overt attempts to shock. It tries to examine what the effects of these scientific advances might be upon those who aren't the best of the best.

Really, the story told in Gattaca relates closely to any other "overcoming the odds" films such as Rudy or Simon Birch. The film's thesis essentially comes down to the tagline for the movie's ad campaign: "There is no gene for the human spirit".

Unlike most films of that inspirational ilk, however, Gattaca seems quite subtle. Yes, our hero must overcome tremendous odds to achieve his goal, but the movie avoids melodrama and crass manipulation. I usually hate these kinds of "uplifting" films because they're so cheesy and obvious, and they're often sickeningly sweet as they push you toward their cloying climaxes.

Gattaca doesn't do that, as I do find it to be emotional and uplifting, but not in a phony way. It's an understated film, and it becomes effective.

One criticism leveled at Gattaca relates to its slow pace. Yes, the picture does proceed at a less-than-breakneck speed, but I don't think it becomes too slow.

Really, it's nice to see a film for once that doesn't feel it has to give the audience a big song and dance during every second of its running time. Ideas and themes are given time to flow and evolve at their own pace.

Another criticism revolves around its acting, primarily its lead. At one point, Ethan Hawke possessed some box office draw, but Olivier he ain't.

Hawke's repertoire here includes smirking and sneering and that's about it. Nonetheless, while he does little to elevate his role, he also does little to hurt it, so he's a liability, but not a significant one.

The supporting cast delivers a top-notch group, but they do little to distinguish themselves in their roles as well. Alan Arkin is his usual fine self, and I always like to see Tony Shalhoub, but neither they nor most of the others stand out as terrific.

The sole exception comes from Jude Law in his role as the bitter, selfish Jerome. Law's really exceptional in what could have been a one-note role, so his becomes the only fully-realized performance in the film.

Despite the high quality of Gattaca, it completely failed to find an audience during its theatrical release in the fall of 1997. This probably shouldn't have been a surprise, since action fans would be disinterested in such a cerebral film, and its sci-fi trappings may have turned off those who go for more thoughtful fare. Its ad campaign probably didn't help much either.

Indeed, the trailer did a poor job of communicating the nature and content of the film. Watching it, you're not sure just what to make of the movie, but its rapid-fire editing and breathless music certainly make the film look more like an action flick than it is. Unfortunately, it makes the movie look like a rather bad action flick, so it's no surprise the crowds stayed home for this one.

Unfortunately, this meant that Gattaca didn't reach much of a crowd, and that's a shame. While not flawless, the movie seems moving and compelling, and it features a generally low-key take that is refreshing.

It gets its emotions naturally and does little to force them. Gattaca offers a compelling and provocative experience.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

Gattaca appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. The movie delivered a high-quality presentation.

Sharpness satisfied. A little softness connected to a handful of wider shots, but the majority of the film looked accurate and well-defined.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and edge haloes failed to appear. Grain seemed noticeable but natural, and source defects appeared to be absent.

Gattaca featured a palette that favored a golden tint as well as occasional chilly blues or greens. These came across as well-rendered, and HDR added emphasis to the tones.

Black levels seemed deep and dark, while shadows were smooth and clear. HDR gave extra punch to whites and contrast. The 4K offered an appealing image.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, I also felt pleased with the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Gattaca. Since the movie wasn’t exactly an action spectacular, most of the mix worked in fairly subtle ways, but it did so effectively.

Music came from all five speakers so that the score warmly enveloped the environment, and some solid usage of directional dialogue occurred as well. Many of the effects tended toward general ambience, but these added a lot to the experience, and the track came to life more actively when appropriate.

Audio quality also was fine. Some dialogue was a little awkwardly looped, but most of it sounded natural and warm, and I heard no concerns related to intelligibility or edginess.

Effects were accurate and clear. They boasted good bass response when appropriate - such as during rocket blasts - and also were clean and lacked distortion.

Music sounded lush and rich, with nice fidelity and good depth. As a whole, the soundtrack of Gattaca lacked the breadth and impact to reach “A” territory, but it still worked well for the material.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the 2008 Blu-ray? The Atmos track felt fairly similar to the prior 5.1 mix, though it opened up matters a bit.

Visuals delivered more obvious improvements, as the 4K seemed better defined, more vivid and more natural. The Blu-ray demonstrated iffy picture quality, so the 4K turned into a major upgrade.

Only the movie’s trailer shows up on the 4K disc, but more materials appear on the included Blu-ray copy. Six Deleted Scenes run a total of 10 minutes, 43 seconds and feature “Hard Walls” (1:00), “Farewell to Caesar” (2:09), “Eighth Day Center (Original Version)” (3:20), “Mission Briefing” (1:00), “Investigator Exposed” (1:22) and “Coda” (1:52).

Most of the deleted bits deserved to be cut, especially the very unsubtle “Coda” that seems out of touch with the rest of the film. However, I did like “Exposed”, a scene between Detective Hugo (Alan Arkin) and Vincent’s brother Anton (Loren Dean).

“Exposed” added to the former’s character in a nice way, and it should have remained in the film. In any case, I was happy to get to see these unused snippets.

An Original Featurette lasts six minutes, 52 seconds. It features lots of movie clips, a few behind the scenes shots and some bland and uninformative soundbites from actors Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke, and Jude Law as well as producers Danny De Vito and Stacey Sher. It’s a total waste of time.

The Substance Abuse Outtake runs 36 seconds. It’s just a joke version of an existing scene that was never meant to be in the film, so it’s gag reel material.

Welcome to Gattaca goes for 22 minutes as we hear from Hawke, Law, De Vito, production supervisor Bradley Cramp, first AD John Woodward, editor Lisa Churgin, location manager Bob Craft, assistant location manager Ilt Jones, VFX supervisor Chris Watts, and property master Emily Ferry.

“Welcome” looks at the personality and style of director Andrew Niccol, casting and performances, production design, storyboards and other visual elements, locations, sets and props, the film’s pace, its release and marketing, and some final thoughts about the movie’s legacy.

The absence of director Niccol comes as a disappointment, but the others pick up the slack to a reasonable degree. This remains a mostly technical program, though, as it doesn’t look much at the story or that side of things. Nonetheless, we get some interesting notes about various nuts and bolts aspects of the production, and these facts make the show useful.

Do Not Alter? runs 14 minutes, 52 seconds and includes statements from ITN Science Editor Lawrence McGinty, Cambridge University Professor Martin Bobrow, former Caltech president Dr. David Baltimore, Newcastle University Institute of Human Genetics Medical Director Dr. John Burn, Signum Biosciences CEO Dr. Gregory Stock, Princeton University Professor Lee M. Silver, and American Journal of Bioethics editor-in-chief Glenn McGee.

We learn about genetic research and its development over the years as well as aspects of DNA, gene therapy and ethical questions. Despite the piece’s brevity, “Alter” delivers a good recap of various genetic issues. We receive a nice look at the important subjects and this comes out in a concise and interesting manner.

(Catty comment of the day: Bobrow comes with an amusing name, as he sports a pair of the biggest eyebrows in human history. They fill roughly half his head. What’s the genetic sequence for those suckers?)

The disc opens with ads for Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Company. These also appear in the disc’s Previews area along with promos for Damages Season One, The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep and Dragon Wars.

As a film, Gattaca offers a moving and intriguing experience. It delves more into ideas than action, which makes it unusual in this day and age, and it works quite well. The 4K UHD offers solid picyure and audio but supplements remain somewhat lackluster. 25 years after its release, this continues to be a compelling movie, and the 4K offers the best representation of it to date.

To rate this film visit the Superbit Edition review of GATTACA

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main