Trailer for Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby:

Admittedly, I’m not in the group who thinks the novel is amazing.  It’s a solid book.  I enjoyed reading it each time. And it is certainly important in the way it depicts the era.  Maybe it’s that I tend to like liking characters too much, which doesn’t mean I identify with them or that they are “good,” but that they are interesting or compelling or novel or something.  None of them in this novel really speak to me in that way.  I’ve never been fully able to explain why.

I am, however, of the belief that I might love a film version with the right actors and direction.  This trailer seems like that very well might be the case.  DiCaprio may be an excellent, compelling Gatsby.  Carey Mulligan, despite being British, will likely make a great Daisy.  The one that stands out as a, um, probably not is Peter Parker Tobey McGuire as Nick Carraway.  Like Daniel Radcliffe and Elijah Wood, this young man brings the baggage of a major, memorable, and recent role with him.  Will we be able to forget that he’s Spiderman?  We’ll see.  I’m hopeful and didn’t love Raimi’s emo-Spiderman all that much anyway.

The sets look amazing.  Capturing the decadent frivolity of the era perfectly.  A+

And I guess 3D must actually be the thing every Hollywood studio will be doing now, because I can’t imagine why one would film a classic novel adaptation like this in it otherwise.  I guess car scenes sort of call for it.  I guess.  I’ve not seen anything in 3D where I was convinced going out that the 3D had improved my viewing experience.   Seemed like a gimmick.

The one thing I found distracting in the trailer was the music.  I have a low tolerance for anachronisms of this sort.  The film better not be full of that kind of thing.  Period music (whether diagetic or non-) would be great, and a score that doesn’t incorporate modern, moody pop/rock/etc., please.

Check out the review of the trailer over at The Literary Man for more insightful commentary (yes, the lack of a comma between “more” and “insightful” is deliberate).

  1. sarahsss says:

    Haha, I just created a post on movies and included this trailer and expressed my excitement for it! I suspect that the music will be all over the place because that’s what Baz Luhrman does. I’ve no doubt that he’s making a very cinematic interpretation and not a faithful adaptation. Liking Luhrman’s style (which I do) will probably have a lot to do with how much one likes the film. As to the 3D–sigh? He might be able to do something cool with it in this movie but, then again, it might be just as gimmicky and annoying as in every other movie.

    • nightwork says:

      I recently saw the Gatsby trailer in 3D before Prometheus. The 3D was really distracting and choppy. This might have been partly because it was only the second 3D trailer shown and I was still adjusting to it. However, my initial feeling (and the prejudice I will likely take into the film) is that it badly done and unnecessary.

  2. nightwork says:

    And I just replied to your post while you were writing this.

    I do like Luhrman’s style in other works, but musical anachronism is just, I dunno, too much. If it is anachronistic non-diagetic music without vocals, I can probably stomach it, but not if it’s stupid modern vocal music (especially with obvious vocal effects). Or if it were done for comic effect as a remix, like slapping the soundtrack for Crank on Pride and Prejudice or something.

  3. I am digging your blog–love your topics and your voice.

    That said, I’d have to disagree with you on the Luhrmann GG soundtrack. Especially Jack White’s version of “Love is Blindness” captures the intensity of Gatsby’s obsession/desperation and the rich, over-heated mood of the novel–chill-inducing. I’m also thinking of Romeo + Juliet. The music was brilliant in that film–Garbage, Prince, Butthole Surfers, Radiohead. Certainly not for everyone–I suppose there were plenty of complaints from “purists”–but I thought his integration of music in R+J was creative and inspired, igniting scenes. The thing is, Luhrmann takes major risks, and I love that, though sometimes, as in his flop Australia, they implode. You want 20s music, just watch the Robert Redford version of GG, right?

    • nightwork says:

      Thanks for the comment and praise. Been lurking your writing for a while.

      I definitely can see where you are coming from, and I generally like directorial risk-taking, but we might have to agree to disagree on Gatsby. The difference for me with R+J is that that film is set outside of time and place. The film’s setting and the props are anachronistic and/or weird, so the music does not strike me as out-of-place since everything is out of place, especially per a “pure” and era-specific adaptation. I’m all good with that. But Gatsby has to evoke the era (or this version does seem to intend to evoke the specific era); modern music may do that for some, but it will seem weird to a lot of people Iike me. This may be a personality flaw, but I’m set on wanting continuity within the story-world.

      And I’d never chose to watch that Redford Gatsby again. The most uninspired film he has ever done.

      • Got it–can’t really argue about taste, though I love to do so….

        Let’s see the movie this Christmas with open minds–and hope that Luhrmann’s choices (in music, casting, 3D, set designs, etc) make for a sublime film. We can continue this discussion after we’ve both seen it!