The Less-Than-Great Gatsby

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A poster for “the Great Gatsby”

By Jenny Watts
Staff Writer

Eager movie-buffs and literature enthusiasts alike awaited the release of the long-anticipated remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel The Great Gatsby. Movie theaters sold out as fans flooded the theaters on Friday, May 10 in order to be the first to experience the modern flare given to this literary giant.

The Great Gatsby tells the story of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), and his forbidden love with Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). The plot is told and narrated by Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), who in this version of the story is portrayed as the socially awkward and mentally unstable third wheel to the affair.

Director Baz Luhrmann brought this novel set in the 1920’s and gave it a makeover, complete with CGI special effects and out of this world costume and set design only possible with today’s incredible movie industry. The costumes were unbelievable, putting a bright, intricate, and slightly modern spin on the styles of the time period.

Interestingly enough, the most chaotic scenes were the also the best and most captivating. Any scene where a party was going on promised to be memorable. For one who read the book these scenes were especially interesting, as the smallest details were included and noticeable despite all the events taking place.

This movie is exciting, fast-paced, intricately designed, and on the outside very aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, that’s where the compliments stop. Despite being a visual masterpiece, the story and intricacies of the plot and characters were sadly lost.

The character development is of utmost importance to creating a realistic and captivating film. Although the film held true to the novel for almost the entire movie, where it strayed was in finding the reality in relationships. The ties between characters were not believable, and moments that should have been heart-breaking or moving were borderline awkward.

Furthermore, the casting was subpar. DiCaprio was not believable as the love-stricken, determined, and powerful Gatsby, and instead came across as a deranged, slightly creepy person who did not capture audience affection. Also, his excessive use of the phrase “old sport” was quite frankly annoying.

Tobey Maguire was also not a great fit for Carraway. It was an unfortunate surprise to find out the movie blatantly and deliberately labeled him as a mental health patient.

The only redeeming factor in the casting was in the characters of Daisy’s unfaithful husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) and his mistress Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher), who played their supporting roles both accurately and believably.

Overall, The Great Gatsby is worth seeing, if only for the spectacle of it all. Despite being a disappointment in the character and plot development, the special effects are captivating, and the modern spin and costumes are refreshing. Even if you read the book (or rather especially if you read the book), it’s worth the twelve bucks.