Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Movie: The Great Gatsby (2013)

I happen to have found a companion (a big "Yey!" for me) and, at last, watched The Great Gatsby last Saturday. I don't usually do review posts for movies that I watched at the actual theater at their actual showing date, but after my last post, I suppose you're expecting me to post a review.

Before starting this, I just want to make it clear that I read the book beforehand, and I can't assure that I would strictly look at it as a film and separate it from the fact that it is, indeed, an adaptation. Even though I read Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby rather in a haste, there are still things that the book got through to me. Well, here it is, crappy and emotion-filled as it is.

"I wish I'd done everything on earth with you..."

Well for a start, I didn't say I'm a Baz Luhrmann fan. I think I may sound like I am, but truly I'm not. I don't hate his works, but I don't exactly love them either. I just said it is interesting, and its is - really. Moulin Rouge was good (I'm biased on the last parts), but bleh, not exactly my taste of grand. Some scenes were too corny for my own liking, and some have awkward execution that it felt weird watching them. I was never a fan of his transitions which is weird for me, because they take me by surprise (especially from heavy to comedic) and not in a good way.

I thought that awkward part of his work would be absent in this adaptation, but boy is it still present. Well, not more than MG, but it is still definitely present. I mean transitioning from the 'depressed' Nick to a more sunny version of himself at the start of the narrative? I understand that's what they're trying to convey, but... This is just my opinion, but they could've done it better. Though most of it's parts are awesome, I just couldn't get my mind off that glaring fault (to my eyes). >.<

I loved the party scenes, those in themselves are spectacles and I think no one could've done it better. The book described it to be lavish and so so, and they gave justice to that. But I felt that they've concentrated so much on this in the marketing of the film that when people go to the cinemas to watch the real thing, their expectations would be so high, it would be hard to reach. I mean the parties are only visible on the first part of the film, and the latter part concentrated on drama so I have the sense of imbalance in it. Plus that glaring hip-hop songs whenever the parties came on. I'm not a fan of hip-hop (ever) so it really irked me off whenever I hear them. I mean, hip-hop and 1920's? They just don't jive. I know they're trying to give it a modern feel but they could've chosen other genre with a modern twist in it (hello, modern jazz. haha, biased girl right here). No offense to HipHop, but it's just that it's not really my cup of tea.

"...these things excite me so"

But enough of the bad stuff... the truth is I liked the film. Despite these flaws, it was still a good movie for me because it kept me engaged. I have a short span of attention but it kept me glued. I mean the production is so grandiose, I am left in awe. The clothes, and the jewelries! Daisy's specially. I love how they made use of the music (the above is an exception) with my favorites in the movie's soundtrack used strategically and perfectly to create the ambiance or to emphasize a message. And I definitely loved how they made use of Lana's Young and Beautiful throughout the film.

I was a little unsure if Leonardo DiCaprio would deliver as Gatsby, but boy, he did! I especially loved that angry scene with Joel Edgerton -- the intensity of it all, the desperation, that one time that he let his walls down and expose the vulnerability. So.much.raw.emotions! Plus that part when he was talking to Nick and he is somewhat saying that Daisy would call. That look on his face that shows he's trying to convince himself that everything is still alright even though something inside him screams that it's all over. It broke my heart. I loved him (his performance) in here more than any other film I'd seen him in.

As expected, Carey Mulligan fit Daisy as a glove. She goes right through her, nothing less nothing more. So perfect for the role. I thought that Carey playing her would make her a little bit pleasant in my eyes, but no, not even the charms of Carey could make me hate her less. She's the solid embodiment of the woman that I totally don't want to be. Weak. Driven by emotions. Can't decide on herself, and does not truly know what she wants until it's too late. And tend to choose where it would suit her (well, real life wise, this is indeed practical). I think one of the main reasons why Gatsby didn't appeal that much to me when I read it was because it has a really weak female protagonist, character-wise. If there's anything that Carey did, well, it's to make Daisy seem more human than I imagined her to be. Impeccable acting as always.

Edgerton is in every sense Tom. And Isla is, well, Myrtle. Elizabeth Debicki stole the show as Jordan. She's not exactly how I imagined her, but I really find myself drawn to her whenever she's onscreen - so gorgeous and I love her take in Jordan.

As for Tobey Maguire, well, I'm not an actual fan to begin with. And his character as Nick didn't provide him much material to explore with since Nick is first and foremost a spectator. He's an excellent narrator but I can' stop picturing the Spider Man suit in him all those time. Haha. When Daisy and Nick danced at Gatsby's house, I was like Spiderman mode on and I was remembering that scene from Spiderman 3 where he danced at the disco with Gwen. Lol. But Tobey did gave a decent performance. It's just me that's screwed up. XD 

Lol at this scene. >.<
If there's one thing that really set this adaptation from the others, it's the framing. Nick being morbidly alcoholic and other things made sense and it was a clever move to emphasize that the story is told in his voice, his perspective. I love those parts where somehow Fitzgerald's words are flashing and fading in and out in the screen as the narration continued on. It helped Luhrmann to accomplish the hard task of making a film out of a book that is mainly told through a first person narrator.

Few scenes were cut from the book, especially that funeral scene which was somehow replaced by a number of paparazzi going on and about Gatsby's coffin. It was such a waste because that scene was where I truly felt how Gatsby was so alone and all so superficial, that almost no one came to visit even though every one is going in his parties and wants to meet him when he was alive. It's just hard to realize that people leave and sometimes they leave you when you need them the most.

When you say a book is a classic, even though it has been written and published for quite a while already, the themes and lessons still applies now -- and for that, I can say that The Great Gatsby is truly one hell of a classic (not that it isn't). Sometimes, you build all these pretense as an effort just to get people to like you. No matter how hard you try, you cannot change the past and the best course of action is just to accept it. Sometimes you want to have everything and along the way, you just have to learn to you can't and the world will teach you that sad truth, sometimes the hard way. And to top it off, there would always be people who would only come to you when they need you and come running from you as fast as they appear when they don't anymore. Such sad realities, but they're are as much true as those bright things we experience that we try to remind ourselves everyday -- so we must accept them into our lives and learn and remember them so that we won't go expecting that life is all rainbows and butterflies.

I won't give it a perfect five, but this is still a must-watch. Do give it a try while it lasts. :))

Note: Unlike people who have their true blue mandatory literature classes, reading The Great Gatsby has not been that popular here in the PH because it's not a required reading material. So for a short blurb people, I found this really informative character map :) :



  1. Great post! I'm actually in the middle of writing my own post on the Gatsby movie. Like you, I liked it overall, but there were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. For instance, THAT HIP HOP MUSIC! Lol, I'm glad I'm not the only person who was bothered by that. But seriously, rap was definitely not a thing in the 1920s. I can see that they wanted party music, but it completely killed the authenticity of the time period. But, on a positive note, I totally agree with what you said about the cast! DiCaprio and Mulligan were fabulous!

  2. Everybody here seems to be on the right page with what to do, but the style just overtakes everything they want to do. Nice review Riza.

  3. couldn't agree more! :) i would like if you will link up your review post.... i'd love to read it! :) thanks for commenting!

  4. yeah, i know what you mean. the production is just so grand that there are time when it felt like it's all over the place. but it's still good in its own right. :) thanks for commenting, Dan! :)


Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to hear from you -- so don't think twice, just comment below and let's talk! If you're feeling like it, you could also link up and I'll make sure to visit your site if you have one. Much love, ~ R. :)


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