Gatsby made truly great?

I am totally stoked for this December’s release of The Great Gatsby.  Baz Luhrmann’s creative mind has always intrigued me, and I fell in love with his circus-like sets and preposterous characters in both Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet.  The man’s got a gift, so I was both pleasantly surprised and a little nervous when I heard that he was undertaking the making of this classic novel.

I have always been disappointed every time my classes finished reading Gatsby and I was faced with the decision of which version of the movie to show — the 1974 version with Robert Redford as a rather cardboard Gatsby, or the 2000 version that failed to capture the ditziness of Daisy or the chaos of Gatsby’s parties?  When I read a couple years ago that Baz Luhrmann was thinking of taking on the Gatsby story, I had hope that finally someone would capture the essence of these characters.

I’ve seen the official trailer.  I’m not totally enthused about Baz’s choice Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, mainly because DiCaprio doesn’t have the “it” quality to me to make him Gatsby.  His voice retains a little too much adolescent squeak in it even though he’s middle aged now.  His face has the youthfulness to it, yes, but he just doesn’t exude the confidence and power that Gatsby seems to in the novel.

The ideal Gatsby movie to me would not only capture the ever-powerful Gatsby and his desperate quest to redo the past, but it would capture Tom’s supreme jerkiness and Daisy’s aforementioned ditziness.  Hopefully there is chemistry between DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan to make the love story a little more believable than in past versions.

As to be expected, Luhrmann will be smearing history together by allowing these 1920’s characters to use modern technology in the film.  I dunno — I rather liked seeing the Moulin Rouge dancers rock out to Nirvana.  It was eye AND ear candy, and the effect was beautiful.  I’m not a purist when it comes to historical accuracy as long as the effect is entertaining. Luhrmann has a knack for throwing all the cool things in life into a blender and giving us a tasty snack.

I’m waiting patiently for December 25th.  Well, not so patiently, but I am waiting.

Do I have a choice?


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