So last night I went to the cinema to see the spectacle that is Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” (feeling sick since days this is about as much “action” as my body and mind are able to take – to sit in silence in a dark room). The movie we’ve all been waiting for since over a year is finally here. I went to see it in 3D as well – pull out the stops, if Baz wants us to see it in 3D, sure I guess, why not…right?
Jay Gatsby played by the one and only Leonardo DiCaprio. Nick Carraway played by Tobey Maguire. Daisy Buchanan played by Carey Mulligan. Tom Buchanan played by Joel Edgerton. Myrtle Wilson played by Isla Fisher. Jordan Baker played by Elizabeth Debicki. Meyer Wolfsheim played by Amitabh Bachchan.
Excellent casting – though in general I personally very much dislike Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan – they’re just so bland and really don’t do it for me, but in these roles they were perfectly cast. I personally love Isla Fisher, Leonardo DiCaprio and the most wonderful Amitabh Bachchan – so those couldn’t really go wrong anyway.
But what is the point of having this movie in 3D you ask yourself? I personally have never been a fan of 3D movies to be honest, but it seems completely useless to have to turn the amazing story of Gatsby into a 3D spectable so we can all sit in the dark with our uncomfortable 3D glasses to see Tobey Maguire giant hand looming right in front of our noses?
Being a Baz Luhrmann creation the movie is nothing short of an absolute spectacle – the party scenes are the most amazing, lavish parties and with costume design by Prada you know no expenses were spared. The spectable reminds of Moulin Rouge – feathers, glitter, champagne, everything is dripping in Swarovski crystals. Before we start to criticise this and get angry at Luhrmann for his “pillaging” of what is a subtle, ironic social commentary of a novel. Let us take a moment to remember what he did to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. This was to be expected. Baz Luhrmann was always going to take The Great Gatsby and rip it to shreds, then glue it back together in blinding glitter and swarovski and shove it in your face in 3D set to the booming bass of Jay-Z, Lana Del Ray, Florence and The Machine and Beyonce. This is what he does. And he does it extremely well.
So anyone who is disappointed in Baz’s take on The Great Gatsby – just take a moment to step back and remember what he has done before and then ask yourself if you were in any way justified in expecting anything different from what he has come up with.
The Great Gatsby is one of my favourite novels of all times. A true “rom-tradge” set in the roaring twenties, right up my alley. I knew Baz would put the book through a high-speed shredder and he has, and he does it well. As a huge Gatsby fan I take no offence and I am not in the slightest disappointed. I understand and appreciate that this is what Baz does and needs to do.
This is the art of Baz Luhrmann and this is what he excels at, so enjoy it and be transported into a shiny, glittery, unrealistic, mad, high-speed world of escapism and love every second of it. His style and art is not for everyone, it is not everyone’s taste, but he is excellent at it.
The true artist of this version, this take and this production of The Great Gatsby is not F. Scott Fitzgerald (though in true Romeo + Juliet style Baz Luhrmann does leave most of the dialogue intact and it’s beautiful), it’s not the story (also left mostly intact apart from turning it into a narration by Nick Carrway in a rehab centre for alcoholism – not sure about that), it’s not the cast no matter how excellent they are – there is only one true artist in this creation and that is Baz Luhrmann.