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May 13, 2013

The Great Gatsby: A Silver Screen Success?

gatsby I was lucky enough to get the chance to see The Great Gatsby film this weekend, which means that today you will be treated to a movie review! Yay! This, of course, also means that this is your official SPOILER ALERT so that if you want to be completely surprised by the movie you should only continue reading at your own risk. If you’ve been following us through the last week, which was appropriately titled Gatsby Week, you’ll know that I’ve really been anticipating the release of The Great Gatsby movie. I was definitely glad that I went to see it on the big screen and that I paid a little extra to see the 3D version; if there is any way to describe this film, it’s to say that it is definitely grand and glamorous. There’s lots of bling, sparkle, and glint to catch your eye and allow for a pleasant viewing experience. I thought this was great as I’ve always associated the Jazz Age with over-the-top glitz and glamour and this definitely came across in the on-screen version. Another thing that I truly enjoyed about this silver screen adaptation was the accuracy. Much of the dialogue seems to have come straight from F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel and the characters were very precise according to Fitzgerald’s own descriptions. I particularly liked how Joel Edgerton brought to life the dangerous strength of character Tom Buchanan and Carey Mulligan lent a vain and transparent air to the flighty and conflicted Daisy Buchanan. I wasn’t particularly happy with Leonardo DiCaprio's depiction of Jay Gatsby – I didn’t feel that overwhelming passion and sense of control that I always associated with Gatsby’s character in the book – but at the same time it’s hard to imagine anyone truly being able to capture this complicated protagonist. Now to the things I didn’t like about this film. With a staggering length of 143 minutes, the movie may feel a bit draggy to some. I found myself completely lost in the story and didn’t notice the passage of time, but this is mainly because I absolutely love this classic tale, so for others who are perhaps less excited by The Great Gatsby, length may be a problem. Another aspect of the film that I couldn’t quite appreciate was the interjection of contemporary music into the story at different intervals. Playing a Jay-Z song at a 1920s party just created a conflict for me; it seemed that the director was trying too hard to make the era and the story appeal to the contemporary viewer, but in my opinion this wasn’t necessary. The 1920s were crazy enough and exciting enough without having to infuse unnecessary music from our current age. And music from the Jazz Age is amazing so it’s beyond me why the focus wouldn’t be on works from this same time period. Overall, watching this movie was enjoyable and completely worth paying the extra buck to see in 3D. It’s both a visually stimulating experience and an emotional ride as you get drawn into the story. If I have to give The Great Gatsby a rating, I’d say it gets three and a half out of five stars. Kudos to the director for making a film that’s accurate to the novel even if the music wasn’t. If you are a fan of Fitzgerald’s book, this is definitely worth seeing. And if you’ve already seen it, we’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions about it as well! :)