Review – Gattaca (1997)

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gattaca-5372603fe36a5When I was preparing for this “lesser-known dystopians” week, I did a quick Google search to give me some ideas for films to review. Most of the selections were films I’ve already seen and reviewed, but a few others popped up as well, including Gattaca. Gattaca is a 20-year-old science fiction film that often asks about what’s right and wrong about playing god, but one thing it’s not, is a dystopian film. Yes, it takes place in the near future, but aside from certain advancements in technology, nothing about this movie really screams dystopia. That being said, it’s still a pretty awesome movie in general…so let’s get into it.

Gattaca is about one man that has the biggest inspirations and dreams in the world to travel into space, but there’s just one problem, he was god-born and imperfect. In the near future, computers have a way to simply create perfect people without diseases and with intelligence, looks, and genes – and those are the people predestined to have a perfect life while all his kind can do is janitorial work. To achieve his dream, he must break the law and steal someone else’s identity….with their permission, of course.

I feel like I may have seen this before, but I can’t be sure or not. It’s just one of those films, but I do like it because it carries a really powerful message for quite a few different things, like hopes and dreams, but also truth and consequences of lying, and the ethical questions surrounding the common practice of playing god. All these ideas are naturally dealt with and never in your face. Mostly because you’re watching something pretty thrilling and suspenseful at the same time.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 9/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 1|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 2

Alright, let’s talk about the people in this film. Most of this category was perfect, but I don’t really consider the characters all that memorable. Sure, Ethan Hawke is Ethan Hawke and Jude Law is Jude Law, but that’s more casting than it is characters. They do have interesting elements to their characters, but not enough to be super memorable, but it does have really good acting, the characters all have an important role to play, and they all work really well together.

WRITING SCORE – 10/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 2|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2

Perfect score for the writing. The film opens up with some dialogue and text to get you acquainted with what’s going on in this world, and it all does a pretty decent job. This is a very balanced story, as it just really focuses on one man as he tries to go to space, and what turmoil he undergoes to make it. There’s a lot of great stuff going on for the story as well. You have a man trying to reach his dreams in a world where genetically “perfect” people rule the world, so then it asks some questions as to the moral and logics behind playing god. Originality – gotta say I haven’t seen anything like it before. Finally, it is definitely an interesting movie.

BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 2|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1

When it comes to things going on behind the scenes, this film was also pretty impressive. First of all, this movie is 20 years old, but the visuals are all pretty great. The only time the visuals fail is when they load the identities in the computer and it looks like a DOS image of them. In the near future? Yeah, no.  The directing was also noticeably pretty good, as most of the shots looked perfect. There was a lot of editing in this film, as it focused in on Hawke and Law, and the trivial things they do to in order to make this work. Here’s where things get a little wonky. Google told me this was a dystopian film, which is why I reviewed it this week…it wasn’t. Also, nothing really stuck out with the music.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1

As far as the story arc is considered, the introduction is really good. You have a foreshadowing before it goes back and explains the world as it is today. It also tells you his dreams about how to go to space. The inciting incident is when he ultimately gets his shot, going through the services to change his identity and lie about who he is, down to the genetics of everything. The obstacles basically come down to trying not to get caught. I won’t spoil anyone, but the climax was pretty great and the falling action basically wasn’t anything, just a little something.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 6/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience IN – 1

This was also pretty entertaining in general. I would consider it a very rewatchable movie that you have fun watching. The importance of what’s going on is enough to want to talk to people about, but the impulse isn’t huge. It sucks people in here and there, just not enough. Finally, I have no urge to actually buy it.

TOTAL SPECIAL – 35/50
Sci-Fi – 10|Thriller – 10|Dystopian – 0|Playing God – 5|Halfway Decent – 10

Now for the specialty questions I wrote before watching the film. First of all, is it science fiction? Oh absolutely. The science behind everything doesn’t really exist, but there’s a possibility that it can in the near future, where this movie is set. How about how thrilling it is? Well, it’s one of those psychological cat-and-mouse films, so there is a lot of thrills in there. Dystopian? Not at all, just science fiction. How about it’s entire playing god bit? Well, like I said, it’s definitely there. It’s the setting of the film, but it doesn’t nearly have as much focus as I would have liked. It’s mentioned in detail in the beginning as a foundation for the film, but throughout the film…it’s just the condition for which the world naturally operates. I just wish they would have had more focus on it to ask more moral questions regarding it. Finally – halfway decent? YES

RATING – 77/100

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