• Fri, May 10 2013

The Great Gatsby Was In 3D, But Leo Was One-Dimensional

Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby still May 2013Let me preface this by saying — The Great Gatsby was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be. Which is probably good, because I was super nervous. First it got delayed from its original December 2012 release date, which was boldly right in the middle of Oscar season, to the infinitely less consequential March 2013, only to be pushed back yet again, into May, on this very day. Hip hip huzzahhhh…? Doesn’t do a whole lot to put a lady at ease, know what I mean? And up until its release, they kept releasing trailer after trailer after trailer…so many trailers that if you watched them all, it was hard to believe you hadn’t already seen the whole movie.

But finally, cheat sheet in hand, it was time for me to go and watch the actual movie instead of just having pseudo-arguments with it in my head. (“You let me down, okay?! I knew you would but I’m still disappointed! I trusted you!) And maybe because I’d set the bar so low, and maybe because they’ve given themselves forty-thousand years to fine tune it, it wasn’t actually as bad as I thought. If you’re worth your high school salt, you already know the story, so I won’t bore you with that; let’s just get straight into the movie deets.

THE GOOD.

I don’t know why this surprises me, but Carey Mulligan was actually really great! I imagine it would be a very difficult part to play, because Daisy herself intentionally plays such a caricature of a human being, to protect herself from the world, but I thought Carey found a great depth to it, layering artifice over genuine emotion that I wasn’t expecting to be drawn into. Elizabeth Debicki and Isla Fisher also did a good job blowing out the characters of Jordan and Myrtle in traditional Baz Luhrman fashion, making them big and brashy and showy without being too hammy, which is a difficult line to walk. Joel Edgerton kinda killed it, too, especially because it would’ve been so easy for him to be lazy and just be a standard cheating husband with no depth or dimension. Instead he had an edge and a stealthy danger to him, and he and Carey worked successfully together to make it clear why his manipulations were successful. Also the sets were beautiful, as we all knew they would be, and the costumes were great. You guys see Moulin Rouge? You like it? Well it looks like that, only slightly less successful, even in the big group scenes.

THE BAD.

The music, as great as the soundtrack is, is pretty distracting. At one point some of the movie’s white people are driving up in a car next to some of the movie’s black people, and FIRST OF ALL everybody’s sitting up out of the car in a way that physics dictates would send them spinning onto the highway, but they’re also pumping Jay-Z, which is very confusing to my historical ears. They’re like, “OMG what? What year is it? We’re ears!” Also, Tobey Maguire is not great, guys. He’s just like…a sad sack. I know he and Leonardo DiCaprio are biffles in real life, so I was excited to see rare hints of that under the surface, but it wasn’t there! How disappointing. And SPEAKING of Leo, what the eff? Jay Gatsby is probably another part that’s really hard to play, but I remember Leo being a better actor than this. Maybe he shouldn’t be in forty-five films a year? He maybe needs a nap? I don’t know what it is, but I felt like his reading was super one-dimensional, aside from one nice sweater he wears at one point that I could really get behind. For one thing, they had a few too many ‘old sports’ thrown in there, and for another, they forgot to make him in any way likable. Whomp whomp. It was a dark day for Leo, but one that the movie tried to spice up with lots of unnecessary car chases! Which are exciting to watch until you realize that those cars are going like…twenty miles an hour. Maybe. TOO FAST TOO SPURIOUS.

THE UGLY.

Oh my god you guys do not do not DO NOT pay for the 3D. It’s ridiculous. It’s like a children’s pop up book inserted between scenes that you’re actually supposed to take seriously. It’s a joke. The whole movie kind of is, but not the terrible, mind-numbing joke I thought it was gonna be. Just a pretty bad knock-knock joke. Things could be worse.

(Image: Thompson Hotels)

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  • Emily

    So…do you think it’s worth seeing? I haven’t heard anything good about this movie and I’ve really been looking forward to it…I even reread the book so it would be fresh in my mind!

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I don’t know…I saw it for free, so I’m biased. I personally wouldn’t pay for it, but also everybody’s gonna be talking about it, so it’s your call.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2226375 Elizabeth Parker

      I liked it, actually, but I agree that you shouldn’t pay for 3D. I gave it 4.5/5 stars actually … though all the “old sports” were indeed a lot.

      My review: http://www.yesnofilms.com/2013/05/the-great-gatsby.html

      (and I saw it for free as well …)

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I can respect that! It just wasn’t for me, I guess.

  • Lia Beck

    I’m really surprised about Leo. I was thinking he’d be the best part of a pertty crappy movie not the other way around. What a bummer.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I know. Whomp whomp.

  • stevencie

    ohh wow jack again how may days gone since i seen jack movie i caled him only jack because i really like his movie Titanic .http://naturalcoloncleanses.com/

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah, he does get really great natural colon cleanses in Titanic. I forgot that part.

  • waytoonice

    poorly written article

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Some people like punctuation, some people don’t.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Also I’m worried that your username might not be accurate. Please advise.

  • Jenni

    I agree on the music and crazy physics when it came to driving the cars. They looked like they were going really fast and NOBODY was holding onto their hats! Not a one! And the hats were all like ‘I’m gonna stay on your head real good even though you are racing someone else at 50+ MPH’
    And the music makes sense when you see that Jay Z was executive producer. But even so, my husband and I agreed that it made no sense whatsoever in the context of the movie.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      If I’m being honest, I thought the best acting in the whole movie was done by the hats.

  • Eileen

    Carey Mulligan was indeed the best part, except possibly for the mojito I drank while watching, but I did actually like the rest of the main cast, too. Tobey Maguire was sort of the less-exciting, less-attractive guy in the corner to Gatsby, which was appropriate, and I thought Leonardo DiCaprio did a good job of running the gamut from bravado to desperation. He was about five zillion times better than Robert Redford, at least, even if he did keep dropping the “T” on “old sport.”

    I didn’t like the music at first, but after awhile I stopped noticing it. The car chases were lame. Cars *are* kind of important to the novel, though, so…

    Honestly, my biggest problem with the movie was the framing device – i.e. Nick’s at a mental health facility. Also the opening and closing narrations weren’t verbatim so my Fitzgerald-loving friend and I were whispering, aghast. And I found the movie couldn’t seem to decide if it was assuming the audience didn’t know the story and needed it told, or knew the story and just wanted it brought to life. But overall I did think it was worth even the $12.50 I paid to see it. No way in hell I’d've seen it in 3D, though.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Theaters sell mojitos now?? That’s the part of this comment that I want more information about.

    • Eileen

      We have a dine-in theatre in my area, and they have a liquor license. Basically you push a button and a waiter comes over to take your order. The food is mostly mediocre and overpriced, but the appetizers can be fun and there’s a full bar. Everyone was skeptical when it opened, because it used to be a standard movie theatre, but we now agree that it is awesome.

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