Zchill in his natural habitat; animation.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Second Impressions: Gattaca

So to get it out of the way, yes I'm talking about a movie that I've seen before. So that means I like it, right? Well, yes I bought it, so of course I like it. But that's not what this blog is all about. I don't do synopses that's not my style. I will provide you with a trailer since that seems doable.

The trailer and the narration make it seem a lot crappier than it is, but you get the drift. It's a futuristic sci-fi noir, which in some ways you would think wouldn't work, but the meshing of the past and future really make for good watching. I am a huge fan of the design choices in this movie-- not quite art deco (which I do enjoy quite a bit), but more of a 50s and 60s style which pervades every aspect of the world they live in. You have pompadoured men and classy ladies, (well, lady) in a movie that could take place in the fifties if it weren't for the whole genetic engineering aspect of the movie. This paragraph ends now!

What I liked: This is a movie tailor-made to my sensibilities. It features a ton of futuristic renewable energies (electric vehicles, parabolic mirrors which focus the sun, heat water, generate steam, push turbines, generate electricity. Science is fun!) and like I previously mentioned, it just looked nice, what with the design of the movie and all. What I initially liked about the movie was the question; "How can an imperfect man exist in a land of perfection?" It's something that really everyone can understand as we all have various genetic time bombs waiting to strike. The main character is trying to get by living with his imperfections in a world where if you haven't gotten genetic engineering you're lower class and out of luck. And like all sci-fi, it's an allegory about modern times: don't judge people on things they can't control, with the simpler and less sci-fi theme of determining your own destiny. Great stuff. Really.

What I didn't like: Uma Thurman is kind of hit or miss to me. She wasn't on her game and seems to be off her game anytime Tarantino isn't directing. She certainly makes for tasty eye candy in the movie and I guess that counts for something, but I just wasn't as sold on her performance as well as the other characters. That and she essentially plays "The Girl" which is to say she isn't really essential to the plot other than to have the main character fall in love with her. In fact, the future seems to be kind of a sausage fest, which I guess would make sense for how the world would be if we could choose anything about our children. Just ask China.

So to recap: I love a lot of this movie: design, the way they depict the future, the story, the themes, the music(I didn't mention it but I am now; it contributes nicely to the pathos), and most of the performances. I didn't really like Uma Thurman's performance or the lack of female roles in the movie. At least Ethan Hawke didn't meet his girlfriend in the kitchen.

I like this movie better than Dark City, with which it shares a common element of a noir-based future. I never liked Kiefer Sutherland's role in that movie though. He has a weird speech pattern that I wasn't too thrilled with. Uma Thurman's performance is much more watchable. But if you thought that Dark City was too out there for you and you want a more grounded movie, make sure to watch Gattaca.

If you don't like sci-fi or any of the performers in the movie, I say it's your loss. This really is fantastic and understated as a movie. I'm not even going to recommend a replacement movie for you. That's how I roll.

The performers:

Ethan Hawke: My sister loves the Before Sunrise and After Sunset movies. I haven't seen them. He was really good in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Training Day.

Uma Thurman: Like I said, kind of hit or miss. Loved Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. Then again, she was Poison Ivy in the awful awful awful Batman and Robin. Oh, but her screen debut of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen was a really great original 80s fantasy by the great Terry Gilliam.

Alan Arkin: He won a much deserved Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine, and was also in the In-Laws (the original) and most recently he was in Get Smart.

Jude Law has been in a lot of movies. Really a lot. You shouldn't need help with this. He was in Sherlock Holmes recently. I should check that out.

Since I raved about Earnest Borgnine last blog, I feel like mentioning that he doesn't die in this movie.

Any suggestions? Let me know!


  1. I remember that last year in Biology we were talking about human genome experimenting and making the 'perfect baby.' My teacher brought this movie up. I will say, it looks pretty good, and I should check it out, though I've pretty much read this type of story to death. Seriously, with the genetic mutations and everything.

  2. I agree with pretty much everything here. Gattaca = teh good. However, I'm wondering if you ever thought of a good prequel movie...ever. I was racking my brain on this again the other day, and I still haven't figured it out. Do you have an answer?

  3. I googled good prequels and came up with a lot of "good prequels?" But nothing conclusive. The best I have is that parts of Godfather Part II was set before the events in The Godfather, but the story also advances forward in time so that's more of a half-baked prequel.

  4. According to Wikipedia, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is a prequel to A Fistfull of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. Further, Tremors 4 is notably missing from this discussion.

  5. Meh, it's a prequel in the vaguest sense. It's not like there was a coherent storyline througout the movies. He grabs a poncho which is the only thing that makes this a prequel. Seriously. Also Lee van Cleef's character at the end of The Good the Bad and the Ugly *spoiler alert* DIES!!!! He bites the dust!So then why does the same actor appear in the chronologically last movie? Does. Not Fit. I'm being really picky here only because this is my blog, and I can. I won't watch the series in chronological order, the Good the Bad and the Ugly is like the exclamation of the trilogy and belongs at the end.

  6. *crawls back into home under rock*