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27 May 2013 @ 09:22 am
Picoreview: The Great Gatsby  

Picoreview: The Great Gatsby: It was all right.

I didn’t go in with expectations of it being fantastic because reviews suggested it wasn’t. I thought it was better, perhaps, than many of the reviews did; I thought the cast, with the glaring exception of Tobey Maguire, were quite terrific. DiCaprio’s moments of fear and vulnerability where he thinks he might get found out are very nice, and he charms well when he’s supposed to. There’s one scene where he’s messing about and being youthful and joyous and looks like he’s about fifteen, which image, since I just watched Romeo+Juliet, is fresh in my mind. So he was lovely in it.

Carey Mulligan, whom I like a lot, was appealing as Daisy, and Joel Edgerton, who was not previously on my radar, surprised me enormously as Daisy’s husband. So the leads were largely very good. I find Maguire to have roughly the emotional range of a fence post and to be marginally less interesting on screen than watching paint dry, and in this he did not disappoint.

The costuming is also beautiful, as one expects from Baz Lurhmann. Unfortunately, I think his choreographer is the same one, and there was a dance move very (very) early on that was also used in Moulin RogueRouge, and I found it hugely distracting. Like, I went, “Oh, come on,” and spent the rest of the movie looking for/expecting more of that kind of thing. This would not, I suspect, be a problem for 99.999% of viewers, but it’s not the first time that kind of thing has ripped me out of a film.

Also in Luhrmann tradition is the framing device/voiceover. I haven’t read the book in so long I don’t remember if Nick provides a framing device in it, so I don’t know if that’s Luhrmann or the book. Doesn’t matter; it by and large works, with one absolutely beautiful moment at the end of the film that kind of pays it all off even if it didn’t more or less work already.

Somehow it’s not as…outrageous a film…as either Moulin Rouge or Romeo+Juliet, and I think that’s why it falls down. The rich, sumptous, overblown worlds shown in the other two movies are–well, I mean, they’re supposed to be shown as a false front in Gatsby; they’re supposed to be shallow and uncaring. But I think it was too much glittery surface, and Maguire as Nick, who is supposed to be the story’s heart and conscience, could not bring enough depth to either Carraway or Gatsby to make an okay film into a great one.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

hegemony hedgehogagrimony on May 27th, 2013 12:42 pm (UTC)
I've read that Gatsby is not part if Luhrman's Red Curtain series, so I'm wondering if that accounts for it not quite standing up to Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet.
kitmizkit on May 27th, 2013 12:57 pm (UTC)
I wondered. The opening credits didn't feature a red curtain, but then I couldn't remember if R+J's had or not, so I wasn't sure if it was a Thing. :)
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on May 28th, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
R+J, Moulin Rouge, and Structly Ballroom are all Red Curtain. I haven't seen it so I'm not sure if Australia was or not though I'm inclined to say no.
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on May 28th, 2013 03:11 am (UTC)
Er Strictly. Not Structly.
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2013 07:13 am (UTC)
Australia was not, no (I want to watch that sometime). Yeah, maybe Gatsby would have been better served if it had been, but mostly I think it would've been better served if anyone else, say, Kermit the Frog for example, had been playing Nick.
thinkingoutlawthinkingoutlaw on May 27th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Nick does provide framing in the book, fyi. I had no idea there was a movie coming out. Since I don't have cable, I am sadly lacking in any clue as to movies. I average less than once a year at the theaters. I'm just waiting for the next installment of The Hobbit. :)
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC)
I thought Nick probably did, but wasn't sure! Thanks for the confirmation. :)

irishkateirishkate on May 27th, 2013 03:40 pm (UTC)
It's been so long since I read the book I'm not sure I'd recognise the story any more...
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2013 08:04 am (UTC)
I only recognized it because I'd been reading film reviews and stuff, honestly. All I really remember about the book is that I liked it. :)
(Deleted comment)
kit: xmen_rogue_jimleemizkit on May 27th, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2013 07:54 am (UTC)
You're going to find me somebody to draw it, right? :)
anthony_lionanthony_lion on May 28th, 2013 12:07 pm (UTC)
The only thing that comes to me when seeing the trailers for this movie is; what's wrong with the original movie?

There's the 1926 original, the 1949 version, the 1974, and even a TV version from 2000.
You'd think that would be enough for everyone...

And if that wasn't enough, there's 'G', a hip-hop movie from 2002 which is 'based loosely' on The Great Gatsby...
kitmizkit on May 28th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
Nothing's wrong with it. Nothing's wrong with any of the fifteen versions of Pride & Prejudice, either, or the innumerable interpretations of Phantom of the Opera, or loads of others. But artists want to bring their own vision to something, and what's wrong with doing that?
anthony_lionanthony_lion on May 28th, 2013 08:41 pm (UTC)
Nothing wrong with artists wanting to bring their own interpretation to a story(well, except for the Kirk Douglas 'Heroes of Telemark' hack from 1965... Gunfights? On a sabotage mission renowned for not having any?)

But more and more, it feels like it's just the hacks at Hollywood can't be arsed to create something original anymore, and just says 'Hey, this movie made a bunch of money back in the day. Maybe a new version will also bring in the dough?'...

Sure, the old movies doesn't have the special effects that an be put into new movies, or even into re-releases or old movies(looking at you George Lukas... Messing with Star Wars IV... not good... Also, Luke shot first!)
And the colourisation of old B/W movies... AAARGH!

So, yeah, I'm mostly annoyed with the lack of originality from Hollywood.