It seems like Hollywood has no luck with movies with “great” in the title. You might recall a certain Oz The Great and Powerful from earlier on in the year. Although The Great Gatsby was a tad more tolerable, I am not sold on the movie adaptation.
Gatsby‘s central theme revolves around a timeless and classic storyline of absurd wealth and riches and the downside of the American Dream. It transcends any generation and time. The film did no justice whatsoever to the beauty of the simplification of this great American novel. Milking it for a too-long 143 minutes, considering the original novel was under 200-pages, was at times, cringe-worthy.
Here are 5 reasons The Great Gatsby fell (kinda) flat:
- Casting, Casting, Casting! Carey Mulligan was a HUGE disappointment. Following an illustrious list of Academy Award nominees, I was expecting Daisy to be her breakout role. But lo and behold! She seemed to be capable of only one expression – for happiness, sadness, anger, lust…the list goes on. Even Jeanette Aw has a wider range of emotions.
- Moving on…Tobey Maguire. Need. I. Say. More.
- The official Soundtrack. As a standalone, it could be good (read more here), but it does not encapsulate the 1920s-era sounds and vibe at all. What were they thinking by using all-too-famous modern day tunes like Crazy In Love and Back to Black?! If you are making a period movie, you damn well immerse the soundtrack with 20s influence! To hear Crazy In Love playing at 1920s party was just out of place.
- The not-so-well-done CGI integration. The juxtaposition of several moments in the movie between the set and the green screen was just too obvious. With the budget Gatsby had, I’m pretty sure they could afford to clean it up a little more.
- The duration. Baz Luhrmann did an OK job with the film but since he decided to make it an almost 2.5hour drag, he would have needed a BAM! or WOW! moment. Sadly, there was none of such and the movie pretty much ended on the same plateau it started on. For someone responsible for iconic films like Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet, it was almost expected of him to translate the iconic novel into his trophy-piece alongside his acclaimed filmography.
Luckily, not all hope is lost. Leonardo DiCaprio single-handedly saved the show. He had a standout performance as Gatsby, and perhaps being alongside a less-than-stellar cast didn’t do him any harm. He fully embodied the part of a filthy rich millionaire with a dark secret to a tee.
Another saving grace of Gatsby was the artistic direction. A brilliant job was done with the costumes and the portrayal of riches of the 1920s. With a personal love for the older decades, the dressing and New York City in the 1920s was magically brought back to the silver screen by Luhrmann. Any dreams of scoring an Oscar for Gatsby would probably come from these associated categories.
Here’s what we thought of The Great Gatsby soundtrack: http://popspoken.com/2013/05/19/glitz-glamour-and-gloom-the-great-gatsby-ost/
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The Great Gatsby is showing in theaters now.
All images courtesy of Warner Brothers.