Gatsby I Presume

Gatsby

                Hello all, it’s me Robbie K finally returning after a three month dry spell.  I apologize for my absence but I return once more to attempt to inform you about the latest releases at the theaters.  My first review back is on the book made movie/remake of a literary classic:  The Great Gatsby.  I’m sure if you are like me; you might have big expectations for this movie, or at least were hoping that Hollywood didn’t screw it up.  Well if you’ve got a few minutes keep reading to hear my opinions on this film, if not well hope to catch you next week.

Instead of giving you a summary of the trailer, I’ll jump straight to what I thought about this movie.  Let’s start with my favorite thing about the movie, the soundtrack.  Rather than falling into cliché of using the music of the era, this rendition of Fitzgerald’s literary classic chose the path of blending modern, orchestra, and jazz into their music mix.  Modern rap and hip hop opened up the party often showing the masses conglomerating into the house.  Once inside the party zone, the music transitioned into the jazz to provide the ideal beat to support the various dances the extras performed.  Of course the movie isn’t just about partying, but also has a lot of emotion tied into the film as well.  While jazz and other current hits, the orchestra track provided the extra kick needed to bring out the emotion embedded into the various scenes.  Sure I may be too obsessed with the musical score, but the truth is an epic soundtrack can add an extra edge to make a scene more memorable.

Of course what is a movie without stunning visuals?  Usually not a very good movie, but luckily Gatsby has got some pep in its step.  The parties in particular were what impressed me the most.  All the partygoers were dressed in the 1920’s fab, filling the screen with both chic fat cat swingers, and stunning women in gorgeous dresses.  The setting of Mr. Gatsby’s house was also detailed and dazzling filled to the brim with elegant artwork, beautifully crafted outdoor porches, and of course enough room to provide plenty of angles to capture the party goer’s adventure into wild, alcohol infused fun.  For this reviewer, I applaud the balanced mix of close up dance moves and wide angled shots that showed the masses interacting with Gatsby’s house, especially for those that chose to dance and mingle around the pool.  Now the rest of the movie was pretty well designed as well, but to my eyes it looked like the editing crew had a fair share of input in this movie.  Often many of the car scenes looked fake, with many of the trees, buildings and coal piles looking a little too smooth and polished.  My guess is this artificial environment was created for the 3-D version of the movie.  Unfortunately there also seemed to be a rather fast, glitchy, movement to the actors in certain scenes that was a little odd to see.  It could just be my old eyes, but past this minor glitch and over polished world, the world was well crafted.

By now you might be saying, “You idiot what about the acting?  Did the acting do the characters justice?”  I say yes, especially for that debonair man himself Leonardo DiCaprio who was a shoe in to play Mr. Gatsby himself.  Leo’s charming smile fit perfectly in the billionaire, containing a combination of confidence and arrogance that was offset by the kindness in his eyes.  Over the course of the movie Leo not only added the stereotypical snooty tone of a rich playboy, but evolved to deliver his poetic lines with the emotion of someone who actually wrote those very words.  And when the time finally came to display the last parts of Gatsby’s emotional spectrum, he transitioned flawlessly into the anger and sadness that followed.  Of course Leo isn’t the only actor in this movie is he?  Tobey Maguire, formerly Spiderman, surprised me with his performance in this movie.  The role of Nick Caraway was perfect for him, playing the odd, scared, and rather immature stock boy that tell the audience the story.  I must say I enjoyed this role a lot more than the last few roles I’ve seen, despite his insane rants and depressed writing.  Carey Mulligan was a vision of loveliness as well, her looks dazzling and a pleasure to look at.  As for her acting, I think she did a good job, though I don’t remember the character of Daisy being so annoying.  I don’t know if it was the directing or what, but somehow Ms. Buchanan was a little too clingy, desperate, and annoying to really get attached to her.  Then again I never was able to relate to soap opera drama queens who are stuck on love.  As for the rest of the cast well they did fine too, but I don’t have time, nor do you want to hear me describe every single character.

I did enjoy this remake of Gatsby very much, and thought it was a good movie to continue drawing people back to the movies.  The settings and music went hand and hand, and the acting for most of the cast I think did a nice job bringing the characters to life in the modern age.  How well did it stick to the book?  I can’t answer that question as it has been 5 years since I last turned the pages, though I intend to read it again.  My final comment on the movie is that the pace needed a little tuning up and probably shortened a bit to help keep my attention.  My scores for this film are the following:

Drama/Romance:  8.0

Movie overall: 7.0-7.5

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