The Great Gatsby (2013)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton
In 2013's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic book, the 1920s are as roaring as ever - and to a self-serving backdrop of Jay-Z's hip hop, nonetheless! Nick Carraway (Maguire) narrates his wild adventures surrounding one particular summer and his mysterious, millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby (DiCaprio). Gatsby is widely-known for his wild, weekly parties, but keeps most of his personal life close to the vest, which draws the curiosity of young Mr. Carraway. Carraway introduces Gatsby to his cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and her adulterous husband, Tom (Edgerton), and secrets from Gatsby's past begin to cause some serious issues. But who exactly is this Gatsby fellow? And why does he show such great interest in Carraway and his friends? Set aside your morals and take a seat on the couch for Baz Luhrmann's take on "The Great Gatsby."
The Story: If you were ever forced to read "The Great Gatsby" in high school like the Salt Lake DVD Examiner was, you know that it is quite possibly one of the top 15 most boring books ever written. Luhrmann somehow manages to take that incredibly mundane tale and spin it into something that keeps your attention for two and a half hours. Thankfully, the movie is much more entertaining than is the written word. Disclaimer: The main story arc revolves around a handful of amoral characters that specialize in riotous living. Alcoholism, gossip, and infidelity run rampant and play major roles in the plot from start to finish.
The Acting: True to the book, the acting in the 2013 film version of "Gatsby" creates a cast full of characters that, as time goes on, grow increasingly despicable - and that's the way it's supposed to be. Mulligan and Debicki, in particular, play two of the flattest, most shallow, materialistic, superficial women you'll find anywhere -and that's the way that Fitzgerald wrote them back in 1925. So... good job? Really, though. They're nigh unto unwatchable. Edgerton is also unlikable as Tom Buchanan, the womanizing jerk, but he plays his role well and does a solid job. Despite how much criticism he receives for practically any role he plays, Maguire is believable as Carraway, the innocent bystander who is dragged into an absolute whirlwind of corruption. But the real star is Leonardo DiCaprio, who dazzles in his role as Gatsby. DiCaprio further solidified his mega-star status with "Inception" and, if "Gatsby" is any indication, his ever-increasing popularity shows no signs of stopping.
The Genre: Fans of classic literature-to-film adaptations will surely have plenty to complain about with "Gatsby." Whether they're nit-picking discrepancies between the book and the movie or plugging their ears in hopes of drowning out that horrid rap music, they'll probably end up hating the movie for one reason or another. However, the Jay-Z-produced film was not likely made with older audiences in mind. The old-school story with a new-school soundtrack appeals more to younger audiences without much exposure to any previous Gatsbies.
The amount of exposure you've had to "The Great Gatsby" in the past and the enjoyment you've had therein will probably determine how much you enjoy this movie. If you read "Gatsby" in the past and loved it, you'll very likely hate this movie. If you hated the book and head into this show with incredibly low expectations, there's a good chance you'll be surprised. If you can put your morals aside for a bit and just disregard the fact that this little love story is completely based on adultery, it's kind of a fun ride. Oh. And by the way, the CGI work is absolutely stunning. Gorgeous work by Luhrmann and company. You may also be interested in: "Moulin Rouge" (2001), "Pride and Prejudice" (2005), "Les Miserables" (2012).
Blu-ray bonus features:
- Audio in: English, French, Spanish, English Descriptive Audio
- Subtitles in: English, French, Spanish
- No other features available on rental version.
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures
Running time: 143 minutes
MPAA rating: PG-13 for "some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying, and brief language," including violence against women, chauvinistic name calling (one use of "wh---"), brief instances of racist dialogue, one moderately-offensive religious reference, rampant consumption of alcohol, and widespread immorality and adultery throughout.
Costars Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke
Blu-ray release date: August 27, 2013
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