Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars" : A Film Update

If you consider yourself a bookish person, a sucker for cinema, or a bit of both, you probably heard the buzz last year that Baz Luhrmann took on the great feat of remaking the quintessential American novel; The Great Gatsby. As I mentioned in my previous post, despite Baz's upcoming film being the seventh Great Gatsby adaptation to date, no one seems to have hit the nail on the head. I suppose it must be hard to adapt a literary masterpiece. 

I thought I'd share the recently released trailer with you. (*Disclaimer* it's slightly PG) Although I was quite skeptical of Baz's choice to film in 3D, I now think it might just be the Ace up his sleeve...

I think Baz must have read my blog and taken my advice on mixing jazz with modern tunes for the musical score, heh heh. I am loving the use of Kanye West in the trailer. Regarding the 3D filming, of course I will have to see the movie before I make any final judgement but it does seem to capture the zeitgeist of the roaring 20s; the decadence and the decay. In any case, Baz Luhrmann has undeniable style. His cinematography and use of colors... I mean, who doesn't feel tough while practicing their best "WE ARE SPARTA!!!" impression in front the of mirror? Just me? Ok...

While I am much more open to the 3D filming, I am still licking my wounds over the casting of Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway. I'm practically beside myself; these are wounds that time just can't heal. Why couldn't it have been my original wish for Jake Gyllenhaal? Even Ryan Gosling would have done nicely, anyone but Toby! I want a redo! "Can't repeat the past?... Why of course you can!"

...Keep your eyes open for this one, it premiers at Christmas


  1. I believe that Luhrrman will hit the nail on the head as far as conveying the setting as a visual spectacle (it is his gift), and overwhelming the viewer to with the brightness and noise of the Jazz Age and the characters, while conveying the hollow aspects of both. This version will very likely be remembered as the best visual portrayal, at least as far as appealing to the modern audience's mental picture of the Roaring 20s.

    I think that people are going to be divided over a modern soundtrack, even if it does have some contemporary music. Again though, that's kind of Luhrrman's thing.

    I agree with you about the casting of Maguire. If there is any role that doesn't need his watery puppy eyes, it is Nick Carraway's.


  2. Zach - Who's side are you on?! You know my stance on The Great Gatsby, and goodness I hope the movie is better than that dull book or we're going to see quite a flop - like Myrtle after getting run over.

    Baz can add flashy colors, dances and music but he cannot give life to a plot that never had any to begin with.

    Boring senseless Nick interacting with boring, senseless white-trash-with-bling, doesn't realize that they are boring and senseless white trash until they die while being boring and senselenss and trashy, then he goes back to his hometown to be boring and senseless.

    I read the book in high school and you can't make me sit through it twice!

    Baz lives to give old actresses their last big role before the wick of beauty is finally snuffed. I'm surprised he allowed younger actresses to take leading roles here.

  3. Tell us how you really feel Niamh! heh heh but think there is something to what you are saying. There seems to be a great divide when it comes to criticism on The Great Gatsby; many people love and praise it and other's believe it is like Citizen Kane in the sense that it's not actually that amazing but it's so acclaimed now that those in the literary world are afraid to say anything against it. As for me, when I read it, it hit a cord. Personally, I think Fitzgerald has a poetic way with words. The way he puts them together is beautiful and they touch me.

    I did say I think there is something to what you said. When you call the characters senseless, you are right. Nick is dishonest with himself and yet says he holds the virtue of being truthful. Gatsby loves the memory of Daisy and thinks he can have that Daisy back yet he uses money and prestige to win the heart of a women who he believes to be good and loving. He thinks this "good Daisy" still exists even when it's clear that she doesn't and probably never did. Daisy wants Gatsby now that he is rich. She bemoans her life with a heartless husband in a loveless marriage when she choose him for his money. She thinks she deserves better when really she lives up to the tittle of "rotten and careless" that Nick gives her and Tom. All of this is very senseless but also very human. I guess that's why I can't agree that it's boring.

    @Zach, I agree completely with you that Baz will do a stellar job of capturing the setting. I don't know how the other films have utterly missed this aspect when it is so central to the plot. I think Baz also has gotten the ages of the characters right where the other versions have missed the mark as well. Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, and Sam W. were about 12/15 years too old for the roles. I also agree that there will be mixed view on the sound track. I like the mix as that is my style as well, when it can be done smoothly. I still wish there were a few Killers songs in there though.

    1. I have to care about the characters to like a book, and Fitz didn't make me care, hence the "boring"...and I agree that they are very human, but they are not human in the sense that everyone has a story, everyone has a soul that is vulnerable and forgivable, characters portray soul only sometimes and I don't believe that Fitzgerald's characters in this story do so. These characters are lifeless.

      Taste is a funny thing. I think you like books with whimsicle wording, I like books that are pointed and snarky. This book is a fail.

      P.S. I liked Citizen Cane.

    2. I liked some of Citizen Kane, but don't think it was the greatest movie ever made. You should read Lucky Jim. It is hi-lariously snarky and I think you would love it. I did.

  4. I'm so proud of you. I admire your ability to appreciate art, literature, and film. You have amazing insight, and that's a gift God gave you. I'm glad you use it. I especially love what you said in the comments section. You'd make a great film critic. Move over, Patrick Stoner. xox

  5. We are licking our wounds over in this part of the world, as well (over the casting of Toby McGuire.) Jake would have been our choice, too :(

  6. I'm looking forward to seeing this! I'll leave the wonderful and deep analysis to you (well done!). Glad you shared the trailer because I hadn't seen it yet. The book stands out so strongly to me, and this version looks like it just might pull off the essence. While watching the trailer, I kept thinking of the Little Theatre here in KCMO that is art deco style. I looked up pics: to share. I've always loved events there, so this connection fascinated me:)

  7. I know! WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE TOBY? Jake would've been perfect. Or anybody else, really...

    I agree, I like the song choice for the preview, too. At least it will be gorgeous, if nothing else!

    In other news, I finally saw the Hobbit!