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March 19, 2008
Gattaca Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
6/11/199719/3/2008Sony PicturesAndrew Niccol
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4Dolby TrueHDMEthan Hawke

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Uma Thurman as Irene Cassini.
Released in 1997 Gattaca is a movie which failed at the box office, but has become a monster hit with audiences as word of mouth spread about the quality of the movie, and its relevance to society in the near future - and the path we are heading down. Littered with fine performances this is a treat on Blu-Ray with a strong transfer.

Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Jude Law star in this engrossing sci-fi thriller about an all-too-human man who dares to defy a system obsessed with genetic perfection. Hawke stars as Vincent, an "In-Valid" who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. However, a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With a relentless investigator in pursuit and the colleague he has fallen in love with beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent's dreams steadily unravel.

Written and Directed by Andrew Niccol (who also wrote and directed the brilliant Lord of War in which Ethan Hawke also starred) Gattaca is a success on so many levels. As a visual experience its impressive in its use of colours and locations. From a narrative viewpoint the topic of use of DNA to not only determine the culprits of crimes, but the sex and health of your baby, and even pre-determining your life is more relevant today then when the movie was created.

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Gattaca turned Jude Law into a star.
Acting across the board is impressive. Ethan Hawke is in the role of his career in this movie and he puts on a fine performance as a man set to deceive the world. Jude Law is brilliant in what could only be described as his breakout role while Uma Thurman also puts in a fine performance. In fact, the chemistry between Ethan Hawke and Uma Thruman is electric and is probably what led to their off-screen romance and marriage. While the three leads really carry the movie and each performance is superb the supporting cast are also up to the task and while you may not recognise most of them prior to seeing this movie, you will walk away impressed.

It's not just us impressed by this movie either. Gattaca was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in the Academy Awards, but lost out to a little known James Cameron movie known as Titanic while the movie was nominated for Best Original Score at the Golden Globes. Needless to say you can probably guess what movie it lost out to!

If you've never seen Gattaca then you're in for something quite special indeed. Not only is the storyline relevant to today’s society - or certainly a society not too far in the future - but the acting and overall storyline will have you hooked.

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Ethan Hawke as the deceptive Vincent Freeman.
Gattaca is a movie which is filled with glorious cinematography, great use of colour, and a fine attention to detail. The transfer to Blu-Ray is near impeccable and one would be hard pressed to tell this movie apart from a new release movie only months old. Encoded in AVC MPEG-4 in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 the transfer has a bitrate that typically hovers between 25 and 30Mbps. Colours are rich and vibrant and the movie shows some of the finest details and the high production values.

There were a couple of scenes where grain was evident, and we did notice some extremely fine edge enhancement but Gattaca is certainly one of the best Blu-Ray releases we have ever seen, and it certainly exceeds our expectations for the release.

This Blu-Ray release, as with so many of Sony Pictures' other efforts, sees the movie being given the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 treatment. At the time of the movies original theatrical release movies weren't given the booming surround sound and sub-woofer treatment that they are today, but Gattaca doesn't need it. This is very much a dialogue driven movie which is presented with as much clarity as one would expect, and probably as much clarity as we can ever expect from the movie.

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The supporting actors are perfectly cast.
Sony have gone to town with the other audio tracks on this disc. These include Italian Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Spanish Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and a Russian Dolby Digital track at 448kbps. Strangely the English Dolby TrueHD track will only extract a 448kbps core audio (unless, and as should be the case if your receiver is capable, you set your PS3 to convert to PCM audio) while the Italian and Spanish tracks are 640kbps. Strange.

Subtitles are also given a fair outing on this disc with 23 different languages including English and English SDH which is great to see. Subtitle tracks are quite accurate to the dialogue on screen.

Sadly despite the brilliance of the movie, its popularity, and the relevance of the issue in todays society there really aren't a lof of extras to get too excited about. I would love to hear a commentary with scientists or futurists about how the events of the movie could, or at least could soon, take place.

Deleted Scenes (10:43): Six deleted scenes which are very poor in quality due to the source material (I wouldn't even say they're VHS quality actually!). There's no directors commentary either which disappoints, however the content of these scenes really is quite impressive and worth watching.

Original Featurette (6:52): Little more then a promotional featurette for the movie. It really isn't something to get excited about, and there's little of interest here to movie fanatics.

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Use of colour through the movie is impressive.
Welcome to Gattaca (22:00/HD): This recently produced featurette is still shorter then we were hoping for, but with interviews with the three leads in the movie it is certainly welcome. While the featurette is too brief it does cover much of the production of the movie including storyboarding, casting, effects, filming, marketing and a rather unique ending that was cut at the last minute. At times though it does lean towards repeating the narrative a little bit too much.

Do Not Alter? (14:52): Another recent featurette this looks at the science behind DNA. It is certainly a bit briefer then we hoped for, but is well worth a look nonetheless. This featurette is narrated by Gore Vidal, who also appears in the movie.

Substance Test Outtake (0:36): A brief, but amusing outtake.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind Anniversary Trailer (1:34/HD): A classic movie, a stunning Blu-Ray set. Now you can watch the trailer for the Ultimate Edition.

Gattaca is a brilliant movie. While it never set the box office on fire it has built a huge following since its theatrical release in 1997. The main topic of the movie is still relevant today, perhaps even more so then when the movie was created. The transfer here exceeds expectations for a movie over a decade old and while there are some extras that area is still a little disappointing. Still, whether or not you have seen this movie, this is a disc well worth adding to you growing Blu-Ray collection.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Sony Pictures. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.