Shine On, Gattaca, You Crazy Diamond! (in a Rough)

22 Mar

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Sony Entertainment

Release Date:
March 23, 2021

Andrew Nicol’s thought-provoking Gattaca is looking very shiny in its 4K upgrade. Fans of this film will find the Sony’s investment into smoothing out this classic movie–where perfection and subterfuge are central to the plot–a fitting call to the concept of cleaning up the flaws in the film stock.

This movie stands the test of time. It’s a gorgeous film which looks visually sharp on a 4K screen. The science of looking at original film negatives on a computer and the mathematical process involved to make this sleek and deadly thriller look pristine requires both machine logic and humans mutually agreeing which is better. Only the human eye can tell.

This film was shot in 35mm photochemical film stock. Any noticeable grain on the original or intentional use of soft imagery through the lens was light when looking back at my DVD. Also, it doesn’t help when my 4K television does its own upscaling to give a simulated higher resolution on the screener version I examined; a 2160p version wasn’t available at the time. Kudos must still be given to the team behind the colour grading fixes, though.

The irony of giving this film this ultra high definition upgrade is obvious since we don’t want to see dust and scratches in the same vein Vincent (Ethan Hawke) doesn’t want to leave traces of his DNA behind in his workplace. He is an ordinary guy who wants to be an astronaut,, and he has to “fake” his superiority in order to work at Gattaca Corporation. One slip and he’ll be kicked out of the program. Not even his girlfriend Irene (Uma Thurman), whom he falls in love with, immediately knows. He wants to be chosen to go explore the Solar System, but when murder takes place within the corporate offices, everyone is questioned and this man can’t escape the inevitable.

How To Watch A Movie: Gattaca

When considering the way he acts in the office, he is well in his rights to be concerned. Hawke is great at playing both sides of the coin, sounding nervous with his narration but looking cool as the scenes he’s in unfolds. But anxiety gets the better of him as the movie progresses, and we’re led to wonder if he’ll achieve his dream to fly past the moon, and make the cosmos his playground!

Previous releases of this movie includes the original 1998 DVD and 2008 Blu-ray special edition which has deleted scenes as bonus material. Anyone buying the steel book release will be in for a treat, as this edition includes this disc, which has:

  • Substance Test Outtake (SD – :36)
  • Original Featurette (SD – 6:52)
  • Welcome to GATTACA (HD – 22:00)
  • Do Not Alter? (SD – 14:52)
  • Deleted Scenes (SD – 6 scenes – 10:43 in all)

Is this 4K edition worth the upgrade? If you don’t have the 2008 release and want the extras, obtaining this disc (available on Amazon USA) is a must for any science-fiction movie fan’s library.

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