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Face-Off: In Time vs. Gattaca
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Byte-Back below!
by Stephanie Cooke Feb. 3, 2012
On last week’s Face Off, the two robot themed films we put against one another were Real Steel and Transformers 3. Quite honestly I thought that with the billion big ones that Transformers 3 brought in at the box office, the decision would easily go to it, but I was very wrong. Our Face Off, decision went to Transformers 3, but in the end you voted that Real Steel was the real winner here.

This week for our fight, Andrew Niccol’s films IN TIME and GATTACA square off against one another. IN TIME is obviously a much newer film and came out on DVD and Blu-ray this week, while GATTACA is Niccol’s baby from back in 1997. How do they compare? Which one is better? Read through our breakdown and then let us know what you think.
Titles
The title IN TIME implies a sense of urgency to the movie and that’s exactly what most of the characters in the film feel… an urgency to live out their lives before their clocks run out.
GATTACA doesn’t so much set the tone for the movie like IN TIME does, but instead tells us the main setting for the film. While the movie still takes place in a futuristic Earth, the main character works for the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation.
Directors/Directing
Both IN TIME and GATTACA are directed by Andrew Niccol, so instead of comparing directors and such... we'll just compare the directing.

To me, IN TIME had a solid enough concept and it definitely had a lot of potential to be a good, if not great film. However, somewhere along the way, the sci-fi flick went awry. Between unrealistic scenarios that the characters get thrown into (yes, I know... unrealistic even for sci-fi though) and between the dialogue (which was, to me, the worst part of the film), IN TIME was really poorly executed.
GATTACA on the other hand is one of those films that I would say is good, but not great. Like IN TIME, this film has a really strong concept behind it and a really powerful message, but unlike IN TIME, GATTACA is presented with far more quality and grace.
Cast
The cast of IN TIME includes Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, Vincent Kartheiser

Definitely a pretty hefty list of A-listers, but are these quality actors? Sure, some of them are… but regardless of how good an actor Timberlake is or isn’t, whenever I see him, I only think of *NSYNC.
The GATTACA cast consists of Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Alan Arkin, Gore Vidal, Elias Koteas and Maya Rudolph (ok… so she’s only very briefly in it, but still… MAYA!).

This cast while not heavy with A-listers is definitely far stronger in terms of quality. Ethan Hawke is pretty hit and miss for me, as is Uma, but pretty well everyone else involved has pretty solid careers behind them.
Story
In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage - a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.

IN TIME definitely boasts a very interesting film concept. However, was it an original concept? There was a ton of controversy surrounding the story and where it originated from, but that doesn’t change what we’re analyzing here… is the story good? Again, it’s definitely interesting and if were going solely on the synopsis for the film, IN TIME definitely sounds like something I would check out.
Society has categorized Vincent Freeman as less than suitable given his genetic make-up and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. To pursue his dream job at Gattaca, he must assume the identity of someone else, until the murder of the company’s program director threatens to expose Vincent’s secret.

GATTACA has a very complex story that requires a lot of attention to details to avoid continuity issues. But would you pick up this movie based solely on the synopsis for the film? I think so. To me, it comes across as a smart sci-fi film that is relying on you paying close attention to what’s going on to fully enjoy it. It’s not flashy and the quality of the film all revolves around the quality of this story.
Soundtracks
The IN TIME soundtrack isn’t so much a soundtrack as a score. It’s original music was composed by Craig Armstrong, whose music you would know from previous scores such as Love Actually, Moulin Rouge!, Kiss Of The Dragon, The Quiet American, Ray, Fever Pitch, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Incredible Hulk and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. He won a Grammy for his score for Ray and he won a Golden Globe for the music for Moulin Rouge!

However, we’re talking about his score for IN TIME. While I don’t think we could call the movie a success, I did find the music for the film a fit to what was going on and it generally worked really well for it.
The soundtrack for GATTACA is again, an original score that was composed by Michael Nyman. His name is probably not as familiar to you as perhaps Armstrong’s is, but he has still done some pretty prominent work in the industry. GATTACA aside, he’s worked on mostly documentaries and short films, but titles you’d recognize include: The Piano, Ravenous, The End Of The Affair, The Libertine and Man On Wire. While Nyman hasn’t worked on too many feature film soundtracks, the ones that he has done have been exceptionally fantastic and he’s been nominated for 3 Golden Globes.

Does his work in GATTACA hold up? Definitely. One of the aforementioned Golden Globe nominations was for his score for GATTACA and it accompanies the film perfectly.
Entertainment Value
Is IN TIME entertaining? It has its moments. Overall, I don’t know if the film was enjoying enough to watch a second time, but for a one-time watch, it wasn’t too bad. Definitely a bit too much going on to just watch as a mindless sci-fi flick, but it tries to be smart and does have a semi-solid concept behind it. Whether or not that concept was executed to its full potential is another matter…

The problem I found with IN TIME was more that it tried to cast characters based on Hollywood popularity as opposed to getting actors who could give more depth to the complex characters that the film included.
GATTACA is a solid film that you have to be paying attention to in order to understand. It’s not a film that you can go into mindlessly and if you try to watch it in that frame of mind, you likely won’t enjoy it. The characters are well written, the story is interesting, the cast is excellent and the movie as a whole is worth checking out. It may not be the best film in the world, but it definitely sparks talk amongst fellow sci-fi movie friends and to me, that’s what a good movie should do.
Gattaca
Our verdict has determined that GATTACA is the winner for this week’s Face Off. But what do you think? Was Justin Timberlake compelling in the sort of Bonnie and Clyde sci-fi flick IN TIME? Is it better than our winner? Cast your vote and tell us why below in the Byte Back section.

Please note that when we ask for you to give your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with the verdict, we expect you to adhere to policy of treating the writer and other commenters with respect. The column does not necessarily reflect the writer’s own views of the films and these films are being pitted against one another for FUN and please try to remember that if you disagree, please don’t make it personal.

With that being said… if YOU have an idea for The Face Off, like what movies you'd like see go head-to-head, let us know! We want to hear about what movies you think would make for a good competition and you can email those suggestions to stephaniecooke@joblo.com and then check back to see YOUR challenge!

So which movie do you think is better?

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Javier Largo
11:31AM on 02/03/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Gattaca's title
Gattaca's title sets the tone for the entire movie so long as you have the prerequisite desire to have paid attention to what was going on in the movie. Gattaca is aptly named for the base pairs that build our DNA, (G)uanine, (A)denine, (T)hymine, and (C)ytosine. The whole movie is about predetermination based on genetics. So naming the movie after our genetic sequence sounds pretty logical to
Gattaca's title sets the tone for the entire movie so long as you have the prerequisite desire to have paid attention to what was going on in the movie. Gattaca is aptly named for the base pairs that build our DNA, (G)uanine, (A)denine, (T)hymine, and (C)ytosine. The whole movie is about predetermination based on genetics. So naming the movie after our genetic sequence sounds pretty logical to me.

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hellocookie
11:43AM on 02/03/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Gattaca IS a great title, but I had to give SOMETHING to In Time! :)
Gattaca IS a great title, but I had to give SOMETHING to In Time! :)
 
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pcch7
10:59AM on 02/03/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Clearly. I would say that Gattaca has a better title as well.
Clearly. I would say that Gattaca has a better title as well.
 
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HoyleHaw
12:45PM on 02/05/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
I am biased because I haven't even seen In Time yet. I believe "Gattaca" is a truly GREAT film. In the world of straight-up sci-fi (excluding, say, the work of Charlie Kaufman) I am hard-pressed to think of a smarter movie to come out in the last fifteen years. Andrew Niccol will forever be counted thanks the that, "The Truman Show" screenplay, and "Lord of War." "In Time" just looked to be
I am biased because I haven't even seen In Time yet. I believe "Gattaca" is a truly GREAT film. In the world of straight-up sci-fi (excluding, say, the work of Charlie Kaufman) I am hard-pressed to think of a smarter movie to come out in the last fifteen years. Andrew Niccol will forever be counted thanks the that, "The Truman Show" screenplay, and "Lord of War." "In Time" just looked to be catering to the masses a little more than my taste. Niccol has my respect because his movies usually aren't as concerned with being showy as with having something to say. I could be wrong, but "In Time" didn't look like it was ABOUT anything.
 
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Krypto Cookies
11:14PM on 02/04/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Personally, I'm not really a fan of either movie, however, any movie that has Cillian Murphy I would say has a lot going for it.
Personally, I'm not really a fan of either movie, however, any movie that has Cillian Murphy I would say has a lot going for it.
 
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morix
11:20AM on 02/03/2012 Add as a friend | MFC profile
Gattaca by far
In Time was a fairly crappy movie.
In Time was a fairly crappy movie.