A Passion For Eyewear

Great Gatsby set to underwhelm, in 3D

Great Gatsby set to underwhelm, in 3D

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Great Gatsby Poster

Baz Luhrman, what hast thou wrought? I’m biting my tongue here, because I know that if I were to criticize The Great Gatsby film adaptation for not living up to my all-time favorite novel, I’d be reminded of those first few lines in the book I can’t help but revisit on a yearly basis:

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing any film,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the same experiences with 3D that you’ve had.” Or something like that.

Reviews have started pouring in, and they have not been kind. Gloating may be petty, but please be aware that for the last few months I’ve been in an ongoing feud with a colleague of mine about whether or not this movie would be a critical darling.

Some choice quotes:
Indeed, it comes as little surprise that the Aussie auteur behind the gaudy, more-is-more spectacles “Moulin Rouge” and “Australia” has delivered a “Gatsby” less in the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel than in that of its eponymous antihero — a man who believes bejeweled excess will help him win the heart of the one thing his money can’t buy.Variety

Luhrmann, whose attempt at old school Hollywood romance with “Australia” bombed hard, may not have quite the same track record for pandering to audiences’ basest sensibilities. Yet his take on “Gatsby” suffers the same hollow style-over-substance issues — in this case, flimsily obscured by mock allegiance to a classy text — that have assailed Bay’s movies. The difference is that Bay owns up to it.Indiewire

The Hollywood Reporter offers a more positive take:
At the very least, Luhrmann must be given credit for delivering a real interpretation of the famous 1925 novel, something not seriously attempted by the previous two big screen adaptations (there was a now-lost 1926 silent version).

Baz Luhrman, Tobey Maguire & Leonardi Di Caprio

Leonardo DiCaprio wearing stylish 3D glasses

Look: the reason I love the book is not so much because of the story itself, as it is about the restrained manner in which it is told. There’s a reason Gatsby gazing at the green light is a literary fan favorite: it’s hard to think of any other metaphors that capture longing as well.

On a positive note, even though I don’t care much for Luhrman’s filmography, I can’t deny the man has a distinctive voice. (Akin’ to that of a screaming child, but still.) Then again, perhaps I’m just a grump who needs to accept that subtlety had to make way for 3D at one point.

Those of you who are lucky enough to go through life in a more level-headed manner can look forward to an assault on the senses that will feature roughly 40 unique cocktail and evening dresses, jewelry, and suits.

One Comment

  • Maggie says:

    The movie was a glorious as the day your mother gave birth to you. I was moved to tears and cried for days over this splendid masterpiece of a movie. Cinematic orgasm!

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