Home Movies The Great Gatsby is A Snow Globe of a Movie, a 3D...

This isn’t a review, because we’re not allowed to publish one for a few more days. But Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby? First of all, keep calm, it’s ok. It’s better than ok, in fact. For the first two thirds of its almost  two and a half hours, Gatsby is a snow globe of a movie, a 3D pop up Art Deco postcard of New York in the roaring twenties. When finally it turns more serious, when the flappers have gone home and the empty Champagne bottles are all thrown out, the movie hunkers down and delivers F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story respectfully. No one will be turning over in their graves over this literary adaptation.

The 2 hour 20 minute movie premiered last night in New York. I wish I could tell you more about the premiere, but that’s also verboten since Warner Bros. sold last night’s premiere party at the Plaza Hotel to the Wall Street Journal. I know they served martinis. So much for that. On Sunday there’s another party at the Top of the Standard hotel after a screening at MoMA. Then off to Cannes, where “Gatsby” will play on opening night five days after its US premiere.

One thing I learned last night: you cannot sit too close to the screen for this movie. You have to sit waaay back. The people who got stuck with the front rows were miserable. I and several others had to scout out seats in the rear of Avery Fisher Hall. Luckily there were plenty.

I did get to talk to Carey Mulligan outside Lincoln Center for a few minutes before the movie began. I told her that her performance as Daisy Buchanan is very affecting. She was thrilled to hear it. Leo DiCaprio signed autographs before going into the theater. His mom, always charming, was beaming. Otherwise, the premiere was cleverly designed to be as disorderly as one of the parties at the Gatsby mansion. And just like the movie, the premiere was in 3D. Only you didn’t need to use special glasses. And just to make it very real, the ticket people were extremely rude and unhelpful.

Because it’s a 3D movie–and Avery Fisher Hall isn’t set up for that– all the upper tiers remained empty on the sides of the theater. Director Baz Luhrmann was so nervous in his opening remarks that he forgot to introduce the cast. But he must have been happy to hear solid, enthusiastic applause at the end.

One thing I can say, which I did say yesterday and this isn’t a review: I love the composed score and musical themes. Not the Jay Z stuff and the rap music, but the instrumental score that permeates the last third of the movie. But the big winner on the “modern’ soundtrack is the family of my late friend Eugene Record. He wrote Beyonce’s hit “Crazy in Love” as a Chi Lites song in 1969. The new version, sung by Emeli Sande, carries over the main sample that Jay Z used years ago to make the Beyonce hit. Ka ching!

 

16 replies to this post
  1. THE FIRST TIME I SAW THE FILM –I WAS GOING AS A CRITIC OF THE CRITICS—I’M GOING TO SEE THE FILM AGAIN ,TO SOAK UP ON THE STORY AND LEO, A LITTLE BIT—-AND TOLBEY,TOO—-TOLBEY IS GREAT IN THIS FILM——AND, I WANT TO SEE IF BAZ HAS A QUICK CLIP, AS A WAITER—I MIGHT HAVE IMAGINED THAT,BEFORE——AND SOAK UP ON THOSE SKYS,FLOWERS AND CURTAINS———THEN, I’M GOING TO CHECK IT OUT AGAIN IN 3D—-HAVEN’T DONE 3D YET—GREAT FILM——CRITICS,SMITICS———

  2. rightasrain — you’re not quite right here. the characters of daisy was based on ginevra king, an early love of fitzgerald’s whose parents would not allow her to marry him because they believed his career prospects were doubtful. fitzgerald always pined after this lost love and a lot of his lingering feelings for ginevra went into gatsby’s longing for the unattainable daisy.

  3. I viewed the premier, and DiCaprio is about as far from being Jay Gatsby as an actor could get. Gatsby was not a blue-eyed blonde in the novel (Redford’s portrayal back in 1973 was also way off), and he was a ruthless individual. DiCaprio comes across as awkward and slightly laughable at times! Carey Mulligan as Daisy is however, quite good in the role, and is exactly how I always envisioned Daisy; very much like Zelda Fitzgerald (F. Scott’s wife On whom the character was based). Tobey McGuire is convincing, too as Nick Carraway, but he seems distracted in some scenes, as though there is someplace else he’d rather be. The other portrayals are adequate but there are too many superfluous characters that don’t really add anything, many of whom I don’t even recall as having been in the novel. Surely they could have found a better Gatsby than DiCaprio, or at least one more closely aligned (in both manner and appearance) with the character in Fitzgerald’s superb novel. At times, DiCaprio seems maniacal in a cartoonish way. As far as a star-rating goes, this one gets 3 out of 5. It’s glitzy, fast-paced, too-loud, and in many ways a too cartoonish representation of the Jazz Age and the novel itself.

  4. Wow, is EVERYONE off their meds today? Take a chill pill, peeps. If you’ve seen the previews, then you already know if the movie’s for you or not. This “non-review” is for those of us who want to be Baz-ed and he’s letting us know we won’t be disappointed. Now go growl at the Iron Man 3 reviewers…..

  5. So you’re saying 2/3 of the movie was fluff that added nothing? The previews of this “snow globe” of a movie almost gave me a seizure they were so chaotic. Baz Luhrmann, the director, is well know as a destroyer of great literary works and shallow spastic movies.

  6. DiCaprio, a Peter Pan who is forever 17 years old, is laughable in this role. How bout some testosterone injections?

  7. Great Gastsby is a wonderful book, and any adaptatipn is bound to create sensation.I’m going
    to see the movie in Cannes, France in about two week’s time. I hope to give Baz a thumps up.

  8. This article is nearly unintelligible. Is the author having a manic breakdown or on something or was he just sitting too close to the screen? Gatsby should definitely have some rap music just like they did back when Fitz wrote the story.

What do you think?

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