Science fiction is at its greatest when utilizing the genre to ask the big questions. The Alien franchise is still going due to not only its iconic Xenomorph design, but the many philosophical questions it asks. While many others disagree, I personally find the prequel Prometheus to be one of the best science fiction movies ever made. It answered plenty of questions from the original film, but added plenty to its mythology. Lots of fans hate it, but I appreciate its ambition the big-budget risk it took. I was just a kid when GATTACA was initially released and remember watching it in awe as I had yet to see any movie like this at the time.
Vincent (Ethan Hawke, Sinister) is a “God child,” a natural-born citizen without the aid of any genetic enhancements. This is a society where parents can pick and choose what kind of genetic traits their children can have. Vincent was not one of those, therefore, running a high risk of health issues such as heart problems and mental disorders. Those without these enhancements face a whole form of discrimination when it comes to hiring due to insurance risks. He ends up becoming a janitor, eventually finding himself cleaning at a spaceship conglomerate. It’s there he begins his ambition to become an astronaut even if his genetics prevent him from even being eligible. Vincent meets Jerome (Jude Law, Contagion) who has all the genetic traits Vincent needs to take part in the program. Lucky for him, Jerome has recently gotten in a car accident that prevents him from pursuing this so he sells his genetics to Vincent. Vincent takes over Jerome’s identity and becomes employed to gain access to space. However, a murder occurs and suspicion runs rampant causing Vincent to risk his identity being revealed.
Andrew Niccol wrote and directed GATTACA, which is impressive as it is a high concept thriller as well as his film debut. It doesn’t flow as your typical popcorn science fiction film, but rather a character study on the repercussions of a futuristic take on fascism. It very much feels like a movie that Ray Bradbury would have come up with. Revisiting the movie with its themes surrounding personal ambitions and taking on the system, it shouldn’t be a surprise that this is from the same guy who later gave us The Truman Show, one of Jim Carrey’s best and most moving performances. There’s a lot of moral debate played in these films, which makes them all the more engaging for audiences.
Sony has finally given GATTACA the 4K treatment and it truly benefits from the upgrade. While there is some initial grain during the first act, the more vibrant sequences truly pop onscreen. Some of the outdoor sequences especially in the second half are given that extra shine and help give GATTACA that futuristic look. In terms of special features, no new additions were provided, but the original Blu-ray disc is included. That disc came with a handful of features, but the most notable is “Welcome to Gattaca” where cast and crew reflect back on the process. This was filmed for that initial Blu-ray release, but feels fresh as this was around ten years after the film’s initial release.
Given a slick steelbook release, Sony’s 4K upgrade of GATTACA is a must-have for fans of the director and science fiction. The 4K edition of GATTACA is now available for purchase.