My resolution to blog more has clearly been a bit of a failure so far this year. I was off to such a good start, but I put aside my normal topics to write a blog for a man that I respected very much after his passing in January. After that blog I lost a bit of mojo, so I decided to wait until I was ready to talk about something else. That time is now, so here we go!
I was able to procure tickets to see an advanced screening of The Great Gatsby this past Monday. It is one of my all-time favorite novels, and I have been beyond excited to see the film. I even showed up with my Great Gatsby earrings that a friend got for me a while back.
I was not entirely sure what to expect from this film. While I am a fan of Baz Lurhmann (his Romeo + Juliet is still one of the greatest cinematic experiences of my life), I am incredibly protective of Gatsby and did not want anyone to mess it up. I was also slightly skeptical about the casting. Leonardo DiCaprio is not the Gatsby I expected, and I have a hard time separating Carey Mulligan from her guest role on Doctor Who as Sally Sparrow.
Personally, I absolutely adored the film. It was beautiful and fantastic and everything that I had hoped it would be. It was very true to the novel in terms of dialogue and narration. There was one facet that was unique to the film, but it was not something that I disliked or felt was out of place. All of the actors slid perfectly into the roles assigned to them. I have never enjoyed Leonardo DiCaprio or Toby Maguire as much as I did here. The costumes were amazing, and the party scenes were to die for!
My only gripe (and it is a fairly small one) is the soundtrack. Unfortunately, that was one Baz Lurhmann-ism that just didn’t fully work for me. I appreciate that he was trying to seamlessly blend the upbeat Jazz Age music with current music, but there is something about hearing Jay-Z playing loudly whilst hundreds of people in tuxedos and flapper dresses dance at Jay Gatsby’s house that threw me out of the scene a bit. Not all of the music was bad, but I think I would have preferred more authentic music.
I have noticed the film receiving less than positive reviews. Many say that, despite all of the opulence and pizzazz, the film is empty and without heart and soul. I have to wonder if they’ve read the book. THAT’S THE POINT. The whole novel (and movie, really) revolves around the fact that all of the money and luxury and extravagance was covering up complete moral bankruptcy. The film may not have accomplished this entirely, but it seems silly to complain about lack of heart. There is no heart and soul in this story. There are no good guys. There is no happy ending or moral to the story. I mean – COME ON. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” That is a far cry from, “And they all lived happily ever after!” No one is obligated to like the film or the novel, but nothing gets accomplished by imposing unrealistic expectations on it then getting upset when it does not rise to the challenge.
Do you like Baz Lurhmann? The Great Gatsby novel? The Roaring Twenties and its accompanying fashion and music? Leonardo DiCaprio? Going to the movies instead of doing homework? Any of these are reason enough to go see The Great Gatsby. I loved it, and before long I am sure will have a spot on my DVD shelf.