Very Stylish with its 1920's Art Deco and chic look... But does it have the Substance to be called "GREAT"
Based on the novel by F.Scott Fitzerald, this is yet another movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby. Now for many people they will always remember the version starring Robert Redford from 1974, probably thinking no need for a new version. Let me tell you this is a version from Baz Luhrmann, if you know Baz's typical flair for his films and expecting a big bright colorful film, with huge numbers of extras, dancing like mad like his past movies, for example Moulin Rouge! (2001) and Romeo + Juliet (1996), you have come to the right place. Unfotunatly there is one or two niggles that stop it from been a "Great" movie instead of a good one, that been said I did enjoy it.
The story follows Tobey Maguire as Nick Caraway, who has just moved to New York, to work and be near his cousin Daisy Buchanan played by Carey Mulligan. He starts hearing rumours about his next door neighbor, whom lives alone in a huge mansion. This man he finds out is called Gatsby. Gatsby likes to hold huge extravagant parties at his mansion but...... just who is this Gatsby and why does he do this?. Nick is dragged into the drama of Gatsby and his strange past that no-one seems to know about.
Baz Luhrman has his usual flair, directing this, he loves filming huge dance numbers even if its just in the background. These dance numbers I refer too are the ones that happen at Gatsby's parties. Now Baz knows how to shoot scenes like this, he is known for it with his past films, so hes direction is pretty good. The best thing about this film for me is the whole look of the 1920's, I love the 20's era of style and fashion. They totally got it spot-on. The interiors of every room we see, are just full of "Art Deco" style and I love it. The clothes all the cast wear are great, they really look like they are from the 20's, they also get the hairstyles dead on for that era, especially the female cast. Its not just the interiors and the cast they made perfect for the 20's setting, we see New York of the 1920's too, along with cars of that era it all looked well done and top notch. So now I have told you what I liked its time to go into what was not so "Great".
First up Tobey Maguire. I like Tobey Maguire but.... I like him as Peter Parker, to me he's just always Peter Parker/Spider-Man, I just can't see him as any other character in any film. Because of this I personally feel he was just so miss-cast, he just always has that dopy, geeky like stoned look I don't know what it is I just cannot warm to him. Yet I adore him in the Spider-Man trilogy because he is perfect for Peter Parker, so much so that I have yet to see the Spider-Man reboot because I didn't want it, I felt it was unneeded and far to soon, that's just how I feel. Now anybody that knows the Gatsby story, knows the story's main character is Nick, Not Gatsby, the story just revolves round him, so with Tobey Maguire in the role as Nick I didn't feel it was as good as it could of been. When Leonardo DiCaprio finally showed up as Gatsby things change, for me he turns it around, it takes a while for him to appear. Luckily Leo as ever is just spot on in his performance, but for me he always is, I'm a huge fan of this actor and feel that in the last few years every role he plays is different. So in short he saves it. Carey Mulligan was not bad at all but, a few times I thought she looked a bit lost. In this age of where we are use to a whole cast working brilliantly together, for example Silver Linings and Star Trek into Darkness, it just doesn't have its own Silver Lining.
Now this film is set in the 1920's, which if you haven't already gathered I liked that, but, why oh why did they not have all the music match the era. I absolutely adore the Jazz and Classical music when its there, because it goes with the movie... but then.... we have modern music and Rap, I really wanted to weep for the film, I was lost I thought this was such a bad move and just let the film down. I feel if they had stuck to the Jazz and Classical I would be totally praising this film along with DiCaprio's performance and the perfect 1920's look.
Because of the huge Miss-Casting and the modern music that didn't fit in, I left this movie thinking not "Great" just good, its such a shame because somewhere in there is a great movie trying to get out, if done right this could of been one hell of a classic film in the making. That said I enjoyed it, I just wish that they hadn't of done what they did, its a shame.