• Mercedes Benstock

The Great Gatsby

It’s a movie that almost everyone has been talking about, the theme of Tiffany & Co’s 5th avenue windows, and a book that was once required to read in our 8th grade English Class. When first hearing about the adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, I remembered a love story, and the fact that I had clearly Spark-Noted the book in order to complete my homework.

But a little research goes along way, and so does chatting with friends eager to see the highly anticipated film that is released today. Of course no film ever has perfect reviews. So before I drag this on any longer, lets see what the “critics” have to say about it.

Greg Evans from Bloomberg news bashed the film saying that: “Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” is a gaudy, Ritz-sized rhinestone of a movie, more flashy than dazzling, beguiling from some angles and phony to its core.

While other critics such as Todd McCarthy from the Hollywood reporter, had much nicer things to say. “The cast is first-rate, the ambiance and story provide a measure of intoxication and, most importantly, the core thematic concerns pertaining to the American dream, self-reinvention and love lost, regained and lost again are tenaciously addressed.” He said.

So I guess it’s a matter of opinion, a matter of executing one of the greatest pieces of literature in American History, or whether or not you actually read the book during your Junior High School days (unlike me). But I’m still excited to see the movie based on the great American novel. Moviefone openly admitted that it doesn’t have a “stellar record” for being adapted to the big screen, but before you head over to the theaters, here are ten things to keep in mind:

1)Don’t expect an exact adaptation. The movie version is more interpretation than adaption. While Luhrmann sticks to the same over-arching plot of Fitzgeralds book, the film is also filled with modern day flourishes such as rap and pop music from artists like: Jay Z, U2, and Lena Del Ray. Modern day source material is also prominent, along with the 3D effect during the well choreographed party scenes in Gatsby’s ostentatious mansion.

2) It’s visually Stunning. Luhrman is known for inserting bombastic visuals into his movies, and although set in the 1920’s Gatsby is no exception. Its filled with color from the emerald green light shining off the end of Tom and Daisy Buchanan’s boat dock to the sunshine yellow of Gatsby’s roadster.

3) Some of the text from Fitzgerald’s writing is taken very literally, meaning that sentences in the book, are said on screen word for word.

4) The performances are magnificent: From Leonado Dicaprio putting his best foot forward as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan bringing the perfect mix of haughtiness and beauty to her character Daisy Buchnan, Joel Edgerton acting as arrogant as his character Tom Buchanan and Tobey Maguire bringing the same curiosity to the screen (as his character Nick Carraway) as read in the book.

5) Rap: Yes there is rap music and even if the thought of mixing Jay Z with the roaring twenty’s disgusts you, in my opinion-it’s still a movie worth seeing.

6) The soundtrack is perfect providing the perfect backdrop for the films modern flourishes, especially during the well choreographed dance sequences.

7) After about 45 minutes into the movie, the gorgeous scenery (filmed mainly on long island), the characters and the plot start to take a dive. Which is an odd turn given that Baz Luhrmanns movies are usually anything but boring. But he seemed unable to keep up the pace for the movie, despite having a “budget” of 120 million dollars.

8) There is a small twist with the story’s narrator. Without spoiling-lets just say it’s minor.

9) According to Moviefone, fans of “The Great Gatsby” book were up in arms over the directors decision to make the Great American Novel into a “three dimensional visual thrill ride”. However there isn’t much of a hindrance, other than a few scenes. The 3D version takes a backseat to the most important part of the movie: the story.

10) Get used to the phase “Old Sport”!