…and then Baz Luhrmann dug up his grave, pulled his corpse out of the ground, and violated it repeatedly, horrifyingly, and in unimaginable ways.
It’s only a trailer, and perhaps the full movie will surprise and delight me. Perhaps Luhrmann will create a masterpiece that manages to honor F. Scott Fitzgerald while updating his work in a meaningful way for modern audiences.
Plus, I’m not viewing the trailer in full, spectacular 3D glory, which is obviously the way The Great Gatsby was always meant to be seen. So I shouldn’t judge.
Ha ha ha ha, just kidding. I’m totally judging. Book: closed. This movie is going to be a disaster.
1) No Church in the Wild. Good God. Whether or not the song actually appears in the movie, it’s condescending marketing to put a Jay-Z/Kanye West track in the trailer. “Oh ho ho, kids, you thought The Great Gatsby was some boring piece of moldy literature, right? Well, we got news for you! It’s hip now. Not only is it in 3 fucking D, but check out this fucking RAP song. You’ve never seen the Roaring Twenties quite like this!”
2) Leonardo DiCaprio. Leo can be good in the right role, and we’ve established that he’s pretty good at picking his spots, but he’s no Gatsby. When did all of the world’s best directors get together and decide that any role that demands charm requires Leo? There are 30 actors out there who would make a better Gatsby than DiCaprio. Ol’ Boyish Good Looks doesn’t have the acting chops for a role that requires more than one or two colors. How about Donald Glover? (Kidding, Internet!) Oh well…at least it’s not LeBeouf.
3) The spectacle. Luhrmann seems to be using Gatsby as an excuse to show us the glamor of the period, his knack for costumes and dancing, and his MTV-style editing the same way that he did with Moulin Rouge and Romeo and Juliet. The story and the characters don’t end up mattering at all. This movie could be any generic plot set in the Prohibition Era, and it would have come out the same. They only need Gatsby for the name recognition.
Nothing is sacred, I suppose. A shitty Transformers movie isn’t a rape of our childhoods, and there’s nothing inherently protecting The Great Gatsby from an awful film adaptation when so many other novels and plays have been bastardized over the years. But this feels particularly disappointing not because Gatsby is such a great book, but because there’s a great movie in there that could be made. This will not that be movie.
Sorry, F., you’re about to get Benjamin Button’ed again. Fitzgerald found nothing but frustration in his time working as a Hollywood screenwriter, and unfortunately, that frustration continues post mortem.