At the end of the movie Gattaca, when Vincent finally gets to go to space, he and the other astronauts wear business suits:

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However, we see the rockets taking off several times earlier in the film, and they seem very similar to our own rockets that deliver shuttles into space. I'm curious why these astronauts would wear business suits and not specialized jump suits / protective gear / helmets, etc.

Is there any comment about this by the writer or director, or some explanation that anyone is aware of? I guess it fits with the style of the film, but I'm wondering if there is some effort to explain it in the context of the story.

  • 3
    I don't have an in universe canon answer, but I think it's a nod to the airline pilot uniforms of our time. Space flight is so routine in Gattaca, instead of specialized space suits, they used pilot uniforms. votingfemale.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/… – Major Stackings Aug 6 '15 at 3:35
  • So that's what "formal wear" means? A suit and tie? (Asks a guy who doesn't own a suit or a tie.) – user14111 Aug 6 '15 at 6:16

In-universe, it's pretty clear that space travel has become a routine affair. Flights take off daily from Gattaca (and presumably other locations as well) and the passengers are only given the basic rudiments of zero-g space training as part of their general fitness training. Overall, they appear to be treated more like airline passengers than genuine astronauts.

Out of universe, the consideration was one of budget and look-and-feel. With only a limited amount of cash at his disposal, Andrew Niccol chose to adopt a minimalist "the past is the future" approach, choosing items of classic Americana (cars, buildings, suits) that emulated a sort of futuristic 1950s. This evidently included substituting spacesuits for business suits.

"It's very difficult to design the car of the future. Especially when you don't have the money to do so. And we both mentioned a car at almost the same time: the Studebaker Avanti. A strange thing happened with Studebaker over the years: they had these very sort of rounded, bubble-type shapes, very curvy, then they gave the design to Raymond Loewy, and for just two years they had the Avanti, and then they obviously get cold feet and immediately revert back to the old design. But that's a car that was so ahead of its time."

Comparing the challenges of directing commercials, which he's done for a number of years, and directing a feature, Niccol finds it is "just a marathon, almost a survival test. Making a commercial is a quick hit, but making a film is stamina. If I could recommend anything to anybody it would be just to go through survival training immediately before embarking on such a thing. Especially when you're attempting to create the future, because every object... people come up and say 'Well, Andrew, what is the pen of the future; what is the light bulb of the future.' And when you don't have the money to create those things, I just decided to drag a lot of the past and the present into the future with me, and use classic designs."

  • I'd always wondered why they used 50s looking cars in the future; +1 – Often Right Aug 6 '15 at 5:57
  • Thank you. I selected the green checkmark. Does that mean no one else can post an answer? Just wondering. – user49240 Aug 6 '15 at 12:31
  • @Gattaca New answers can still be added and you can even select one of those new answers as an answer if it better answers the question. Please do remember this will remove the answer check form this one as well as the reputation from the answerer here. – kylie.a Aug 6 '15 at 12:34

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