Friday, May 17, 2013

The Great Gatsby

Get out your flapper dresses and fancy hats, we're reviewing The Great Gatsby, old sport!
I want this to be a meme YESTERDAY.
Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) recalls his time in West Egg, New York, where he met an extravagant man known as Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and learned Gatsby’s story to win back the lost love of his life.

Well, if anything, it's got great 3D.

Okay, okay, I'm not sure if this will be easier or harder for me because I haven't read the book, but I rather enjoyed the fabulous romp through the Roaring Twenties that is The Great Gatsby. This film is the definition of the word “extravagant.” Also, “rich white people problems.” If you have never read the book The Great Gatsby, I hear it's rather good and I can't say how good of an adaptation it is, but the movie at least is enjoyable.
Bring back flapper dresses.

This has a very distinct visual style. It is a movie that will not stop for one second. Its constant movement, all the hustle and bustle the movie throws at you, is almost to the point of being nausea-inducing. Although… that may be the point; they cannot stop, and also will not stop, old sport. It's not as bad as shaky cam; this has a dizzying effect of a different sort. It's all very pretty, though, and it shows a kind of idealized twenties that I highly doubt was even possible, even for Gatsby's exorbitant wealth. But hey, if you like twenties aesthetics with the cars and dresses and suits as much as I do, you'll enjoy the visuals.

It is quite the Baz Luhrmann romp. I don't know if it's the Baz Luhrmann-est of the bunch, but it's certainly up there. I can't help thinking that he would have liked to turn this into a musical, and am curious how that would have turned out. The soundtrack is a big part of the experience and an interesting juxtaposition; however, if you hate hip-hop then it's not going to do anything for you. I rather enjoyed it, old sport! Even so, if they were going the modern music with classical aesthetic route, I would have liked to see some hip hop stars in there with possibly bad acting. You can't tell me you don't want to see Beyonce in a flapper dress or Jay Z as a 20's bootlegger. Not nearly enough Beyonce, old sport. But then every movie has that problem, doesn't it?

I'm not sure how I feel about Tobey Maguire in the narrative role. I don't think he does a bad job, but I can't help thinking it could have been delivered better by someone with more of an emotional range. Leo kills it, though. I can't imagine anyone better to play Gatsby, as the guy who used to be a teenage heart-throb that had to struggle to get more and more dramatic roles, who finally climbed into the top tier, tricking everyone into believing he's something he's not, giving all he's got just to get one thing, but ending up with nothing (no, just wait until the Oscars and you'll see). He's very good, old sport. Though, my favorite is perhaps Joel Edgarton, as the blusterous and bombastic Tom Buchanan. He really gets that 20's bluster down to a science. Carey Mulligan is very good as Daisy, and the rest of the cast fits in rather nicely with their accents. I didn't even notice Isla Fisher was Isla Fisher!
Joel Edgarton was born
in the wrong century.

I'm sure a lot of people read The Great Gatsby in school, so talking about the story is a moot point. Though I do think it's a great metaphor for today's times. Gatsby is lusting over this one girl, who may not be right for him, and trying to recreate a past relationship instead of going ahead into the future. I can't think of a better way of looking at the movie industry, or media in general. The entertainment industry seems to be trying to capture an idealized feeling of nostalgia that may not be in our best interests, and perhaps was never there to begin with. And I LOVE that the line, "Can't repeat the past? Why, of course you can!" is in the 5th movie adaptation of a book from the 20's. On point, old sport.

Mostly it's just a lot of fun. It's not amazing and it's not the next Moulin Rouge, but it has good, solid 3D that you can see and feel, and it's an enjoyable movie. It feels a bit long, and it's fast, and it's a story you've probably read or seen before, but it's a great story nonetheless, old sport.

THE GOOD: Good cast, Leo is great, amazing costumes and set design, 3D is great, overall fun

THE BAD: Tobey Maguire is ok, a bit long, have to like hip hop and Baz Luhrmann, can be very fast.

THE VERDICT: $$$$ See it! It's pretty good. At least it has better 3D than most.

MOVIES LIKE IT: Boardwalk Empire, Moulin Rouge, Romeo and Juliet, The Departed

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: Tobey Maguire: "You can't repeat the past!" Leonardo DiCaprio in front of every reboot and sequel ever, with a Smurf from Smurfs 2 on his shoulder, "Can't repeat the past? Why OF COURSE you can! Of course you can, old sport!"