The Great Gatsby
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writer: Baz Luhrmann (Screenplay) F. Scott Fitzgerald (Novel)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan
Plot: A young man moves to NY and gets involved in the affairs of the peculiar millionaire who live next door.
Rate It: (0 -3 Guys)
So what did you think?
Adam – A well acted, fairly authentic interpretation of one of the classic works of American Literature. The film is weighed down by a dizzying array of questionable camera angles, trick shots, superfluous cinematic devices. I wish Luhrmann had shown more faith in the story and his actors.
Scotty - The Great Gatsby is visually immersive and spectacular but the shock and awe take away from the depth of the film and characters. Lately it seems films are relying too heavily on the look and feel and forgetting what made us fall in love with the movies in the first place, the story and the ability to escape our world and live in theirs through great character development. The Great Gatsby lacks in the very quality that made the novel, and in my opinion the first film, memorable.
Griff – A beautifully shot, well acted mess of a film. Baz did an excellent job capturing the look and feel of the 1920’s and then added way too much window dressing. Just let the story be the movie not the cheap cinema parlor tricks.
Any thoughts before you saw the movie?
Adam – I enjoyed a few of Luhrmann’s previous films such as Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge. However, I questioned the need to shoot this in 3D, film in Australia and have a modern soundtrack.
Scotty – There has been a lot of build up for this one so, as a critic I tried to go with an open mind, this is difficult when it is a remake of a film I liked and with the media frenzy surrounding the film. I was hoping that the story would not get lost in the hubbub.
Griff – Well at first I was excited and then I heard that it wasn’t going to be filmed in NY and that it was going to be shot in 3D and my brain started doing that routine from Lost in Space…Danger!
Did you think this movie was fresh and/or innovative?
Adam – This novel has been a staple of college track high school literature since the 1940’s. I assume most folks have at least a Cliff Notes understanding of the plot prior to sitting down in the theater. Similarly, this is the fifth time the film has been adapted to television and film. This adaptation throws a lot of modern touches at the novel and rather than being fresh I found them distracting.
Scotty - I thought the film took a few chances that were innovative but sadly I do not think it helped. This is a remake, so innovation was not what I was looking for.
Griff – This is the 4th time that Gatsby has been made into a movie (not including televison) but Baz definitely tries to bring a modern flare to the story. The problem is that it just doesn’t work.
Did you think the script was well written?
Adam – Although I was initially a bit taken aback by having the narrator in a sanitarium, in general I thought the script was well written. In general it stayed very close to the source material. Unfortunately, nearly every other directorial decision other than costume design dragged this film down.
Scotty – I was emotionally detached from most of the characters and that is never good for a script, so no.
Griff - Well we all know the story was well written…the script mercifully stayed close the book so that was good. Narration can definitely work but for me it reeks of lazy film making.
Was there a performance you really liked or really hated?
Adam – I thought DiCaprio, Edgerton, Fisher, and Mulligan all did a wonderful job on this film. This was actually the films strong point, exceptional acting performances. I have never been the biggest Toby Maguire fan but he really nailed it with his Nick Carraway interpretation in this film.
Scotty – I did not like Carey Mulligan as Daisy, there is a certain innocence and vulnerability in her character which she struggled to portray. Mia Farrow was able to bring this in the first Great Gatsby and Mulligan failed in my opinion. I did like Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker and most of the supporting cast was good.
Griff - I thought the cast was excellent. When I heard about Tobey Maguire being cast as Nick, I thought it was a poor choice but he surprised me. I actually didn’t mind any of the four main characters. DiCaprio and Edgerton were both excellent. Mulligan was good but was the weakest of the four leads.
Do you remember a song from the film?
Adam – I absolutely hated the modern tunes in the soundtrack of this film. This is the second biggest flaw of the film. The decision to have modern music rather than all 1920’s jazz/flapper music made my ears bleed. Hell if you wanted a more modern spin why not have those artists cover songs from the era?
Scotty - “Rhapsody in Blue”
Griff - The modern soundtrack was a huge mistake. I understand the desire to try and get a younger audience to see the film and I assume that was the motivation here but it is awkward and out of place.
What was your favorite line?
Adam – Any time Gatsby said “Old Sport”
Scotty – I’d prefer not to be the polo player.
Griff – I like large parties – they’re so intimate. Small parties, there isn’t any privacy.
What would have made this a better movie?
Adam - Other than the theater serving me a Pimm’s Cup? Letting the actors act, allowing the symbolism and allegory in the the novel the freedom to exist without beating the audience over the head with flashy camera tricks and a bombastic out of place soundtrack, those choices would have enhanced viewers enjoyment immensely.
Scotty – The script needed to be fine-tuned and the actors and actresses needed to find their characters, I get all the glitz and glamour, you don’t need to overdo that, overdo the characters and get me invested in them.
Griff - You assembled a great cast. You had the greatest american novel of all time to work with, and instead of letting the actors act and letting the story be the thing, you fill the movie up with pointless 3D effects and try to give it a modern edge by having rap music?
Is it worth seeing in the theater? Or could you have waited for the DVD/Stream?
Adam - I would not hesitate to suggest that you watch this film in the comfort of your own home.
Scotty – I would say wait on this one, besides some visual eye candy the film was meh.
Griff – Wait for the stream or the DVD if you have to see this.
What other movies would you recommend if someone enjoyed this film?
Adam – I like Fitzgerald as an Author but he is no Papa. I would love to see some of Hemingway’s work made/re-made into film. Just not by Baz Lurhmann. The Sun Also Rises (1957), The Old Man and the Sea (1958) and For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) are all decent if not spectacular adaptations of some of Hem’s well know novels.
Scotty – The Great Gatsby (1974) starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, in my opinion the 1974 version was better.
Griff - If someone would be kind enough to locate the original version of the movie from 1926 hidden away in their basement or something I would love to see it.
Any final thoughts on this movie?
Adam – Is this film a testament to the fact that modern audiences have the sophistication and attention span of the common house fly? I don’t think that is the case, but whomever green lighted this project seems to think so. If you get a chance check out this cool looking 8-bit The Great Gatsby game that these guys created, its a hoot. http://greatgatsbygame.com/
Scotty – The Great Gatsby is all eye candy with no substance, the music of the film has a rhythm but the movie lacks that very rhythm. Needless to say I was disappointed with the film and find this to be another remake that brings nothing new or substantial to the table. I have been saying this so often but it is visually stunning but utterly boring.
Griff - This could have been a pretty interesting take on the movie. Advances in CGI let us go back in time and create the look and feel of decades past. Unfortunately it can also be overdone. I didn’t need to see The Great Gatsby shot like a Transformers movie.