Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rise, flood water, arise!

It's a rainy day here in Florida. There's not much to do while the cloud hose beats down on us. Considering it's new movie Tuesday, as well as my day off, I rented The Great Gatsby from a local Redbox.

Of course, this is the latest (of many) film adaptions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 180 page novel, The Great Gatsby. The film, directed by Baz Luhrman, was long. It spans 2 hours and 23 minutes, and left me wondering why I rented it. I love Fitzgerald's work, but I don't appreciate the cheap flash that Luhrman did to this story.

Yes, I said it's cheap.

As with all Baz's story modifications, Gatsby didn't keep my interest. It relied too heavily on the computer graphics and typical quick speed the director is known for. I don't know how else to explain the "quick speed" (besides saying "quick cuts"). It's like that point in Moulin Rouge where everything seems like a hyper kinetic, chaotic bad dream and everyone is running on a case of Red Bull. Same thing with this current movie. I kept waiting for the cast to break out in some rave song and dance. The party scenes, for example, when the camera slowly pans out to show the crowd, all of a sudden you're snapping back in to the game, dancing to Shawn Carter's remixes.

Which brings me to my next question: Why the hell did Jay-Z produce this soundtrack? Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there was rap in the 1920s. Especially the kind of rap Hova spews out. Dude has game, yes, but I don't think people were listening to his wife's "Crazy In Love" during 1922-25 bootlegging season. I know the director wanted to spice things up with this version of the American Dream, but the music just added to the disjointedness. The songs did not make me feel like this was supposed to be a depiction of the early 20s. I seriously felt like every tried to hard to bring 2013 into 1922 and update that generation of life.

Hell, even the title cards and the opening credits were too spacey and newly dated to give such an old feeling of wealth and time. This was supposed to be a story of two separate lives (new money versus old money) in New York, trying to live as one, and survive the ever changing status structure of society and the world.

Would I really want to watch this again? No, not really. Do I want to pull out my beat up paperback and re-read the original? Hell yes.

I bid this review an adieu, whilst it's still raining, to find out why a neurotic and morbid alcoholic chose to write such extravagantly about his version of how life should have been when you mix business with pleasure.


See Also:

F. Scott Fitzgerald Amazon Page

Baz Luhrman Amazon Page