Musings on ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer

The Great Gatsby. Even the title intrigues me. I was hoping to jump into that Scott F. Fitzgerald novel as soon as I finish Anna Karenina. But since I’ve pretty much stalled on that one, I’m tempted to abandon the Russian aristocrat doomed love story and move on to um, well another doomed love story, this time in America’s opulent society.

I’ve talked about the casting, plot, etc. in this spotlight post a while back, and generally I’m quite optimistic about this whole project. But that is before we see a trailer… behold:

With a name like Baz, he’s bound to be eccentric. And truly, this Aussie director’s work exemplifies it… kooky, anachronistic, loud, over-the-top, but always stylish. LOVE his work in Moulin Rouge!, which is one of my favorite musicals. I appreciate Romeo + Juliet but didn’t love it per se, and Australia, well, I only saw parts of it on TV and didn’t really care to see the entire thing. So will his latest wow me? I can’t really tell from the trailer, frankly, as it’s quite… um, baffling.

In case you didn’t know what the story is about:

Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby’s circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy.

Anyway, here’s just 10 musings about the trailer:

  1. The first thing that came to mind is… this is Moulin Rouge! in the roaring 20s. Baz likes to party… perhaps that makes him the perfect director for this? Glitz, decadence and opulence-obsession seems to be the order of the day in Gatsby’s world.

  2. Leo, oh Leo. He was Baz’s Romeo and now that he’s all grown up, he’s Jay Gatsby. He’s supposed to be this aloof, elusive multi-millionaire, but DiCaprio seems to be a picture of pent-up angst instead of cool confidence. I hardly ever see him without his furrowed brows any more, is that becoming his signature acting style?
  3. Anachronism is nothing new in Baz’s movies. He always mixes modern music with period setting which he did to great effect in Moulin Rouge!, but I’m not fond of it as much here. I mean Auto-Tune? Seriously? I don’t mind the U2’s Love is Blindness though, I mean the message fits the story, maybe a bit too obvious, but hey Baz doesn’t do subtle 😀
  4. I’ve always liked Carey Mulligan, and instantly I think she’d make a good Daisy. The 1920s dresses suit her well.

  5. I like Tobey Maguire‘s casting as Nick Caraway better than Leo as Gatsby, but still curious to see the two real-life BFFs working together on screen. Oh and Bollywood movie star Amitabh Bachchan as Gatsby business associate is inspired casting!
  6. The moment Jay meets Daisy… it reminds me of the scene when Romeo sees Juliet through the aquarium, but minus the pubescent giggles.
  7. Glad I didn’t hate Joel Edgerton‘s mustached-look as Tom Buchanan, though he looked even more like Conan O’Brien, ahah. Methinks either him or Maguire would steal a ton of thunder from Leo.

  8. Great period costumes and set pieces… Yet they don’t feel real to me, yes I know that a fantasy period drama is what Baz is going for but still. The retro vibe is there but it looks more like a bunch of contemporary folks in a huge costume ball, dressing and partying like it’s 1922.
  9. Will this be style over matter? Well that’s probably a silly question given the director’s flair but I’m still hoping there’s some substance and emotional grip amidst all the topsy-turvy.
  10. Remind me again just what could filming in 3D possibly add to this story?? Am I the only one scoffing and laughing at the same time when that 3D logo came on at the end? Seems excessive… even for Baz Luhrmann.

Ok, that’s my take. What do YOU think of the trailer and/or The Great Gatsby project?

27 thoughts on “Musings on ‘The Great Gatsby’ trailer

  1. Ted S.

    Like you when I first saw the trailer, it reminded me of his earlier films, especially Moulin Rouge. I get the feeling that Baz is in some sort of a panic mode since Australia was such a huge failure and now he’s trying to get back on that A-list director again by making this film similar to his more successful ones.

    A few years ago he and Leo was supposed to make a film about Alexander the Great but when Oliver Stone’s Alexander tanked at the box office, they decided to abandon the project. I guess this is their consolation project.

    It’s probably a rental for me.

    1. Australia would’ve been a good movie if he weren’t so darn indulgent. Baz’s got this huge ambition to make it another Gone with the Wind epic and it ends up more like Duel in the Sun, ahah. Oh I forgot about Baz + Leo wanted to team up for Alexander the Great, sheesh I don’t see Leo as Alexander either.

  2. Paula

    I like that this has more energy than the 1974 version of Gatsby. I took a class in college “US between the World Wars” and this looks a lot more like what I think it was like (ironically enough for a Baz movie). Agree that Carey Mulligan will be a good Daisy.

    I’m not really sure that any movie can ever measure up to a book just in general because a movie can never measure up to your imagination. The best filmmakers can do is capture the spirit. Even the BBC Pride & Prejudice at six hours or whatever long made some changes from the book 😉

    1. Oh yeah for sure this takes a lot of liberty from the book which is expected but I’m afraid too much so. I mean 3D??! I won’t be surprised if Baz re-release Moulin Rouge in 3D in the future so those can-can dancers will look like they’re literally kicking us in the face, ahah. We’ll see how this turns out but the trailer worries me a bit.

    1. Ahah, you’re starting to think like a real producer Julian. Who cares about the quality so long as the movie makes money 😉

  3. Personally I much preferred R&J to Moulin Rouge. And Australia was completely forgettable. I’d love to see Baz hit the heights of R&J and DiCaprio is generally great in everything but I’m not 100% convinced by this trailer.

    1. DiCaprio great in everything eh? Well I won’t go that far. I think he’s talented but lately he seems to *act* with his furrowed brows too much. He also looks like he’s about to cry all the time, but maybe that makes him suitable playing star-crossed lovers 🙂

  4. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth and company:

    I’ve got ‘Inception’ and ‘The Aviator’ to take care of my Leonardo DiCaprio fixes for the foreseeable future.

    Have never been much of an F. Scott Fitzgerald fan to start with.

    ‘The Great Gatsby’ looks like a whole lot of anachronistic music, glitz and period piece glam wrapped around a very hollow, echoing center.

    1. You said it Jack! *Hollow, echoing center* is what I’m afraid we might find in this movie amidst all the hullabaloo. But then again Baz likes to give a lavish treatment to tragic, heartbreaking stories.

  5. as much as I love Baz, I just can’t stand most of the people in the cast.
    And the novel itself was rather boring, rich people who don’t know what to do with themselves…
    Wish he would finally stop working with Nicole and Leo and find new stars.

    1. I’m with you about him finding other *muses* besides Leo and Nicole. It’s nothing new though, directors seem to like working with people they’ve worked with before, and Leo is also Scorsese’s muse of late.

  6. I really liked the trailed and “Love is Blindness” in the background but I’m not as excited as most about the film. Though I will see it for sure just for Leo and Carey who looks luminuous here. Great point with them seeing each other mirroring the moment with aquarium from R+J!

    1. Yeah I don’t mind that song but the music in the beginning is a bit annoying to me. Somehow Leo just doesn’t age, and Carey looks a bit like Claire Danes somehow. Maybe Baz has that very scene in mind from R+J when he filmed this one? 🙂

  7. The 3D is being used to enhance the theatrical feel of it. Baz wanted to make the audience feel as if they were watching this on stage. Yes, it is a bit excessive, but I think it’s justified.

    I like the look of this trailer. I think the movie will be fantastic. The Great Gatsby is my favourite book ever and Baz is one of my favourite directors, so I’m hoping for some big things!

    1. I hope it’ll be justified Stevee, but I don’t know about the *stage* argument, I mean it’s a completely different medium and I don’t think Gatsby should be done in musical style, but that’s just me. Hope this lives up to your expectations! 🙂

  8. Loved Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, and I agree all of them were stylish and rich on elements. To see them again in Great Gatsby trailer brought back Moulin Rouge (agree with you again). Mulligan is a very talented (and lucky gal) to be in this movie, played with some of the most beautiful men in hollywood (previously with Fassbender in Shame, and Gosling in Drive). Hope the movie will be screen on time in Indo! Nice musings, Ruth

  9. I have a lot of fears for this movie. Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet are two of my favorite movies, and made me love literature and musicals but here…I’m not seeing a strong blend of those two elements. The modern music DID NOT fit although I’m wondering if that’s more the work of the people who make the trailers. The rap music seems to be a typical thing now in period film trailers (see the Gangster Squad trailer as an example). I’m more worried about Lurhman’s hyper style we saw in Rouge. It’s not working here with the fast movements and talking. Gatsby is a film about glitz but there’s also a dark underside as well (I’ve read the book four times for class so I know way too much). If anything I’m excited to see Edgarton in a villain role. I’m on the fence.

    1. Yeah, I’m on the fence too gurl. I feel that the rap music is too distracting and so I hope it’s only used in the trailer. You made me want to really read the book, I think I might do that as I’m going on a trip to Chicago, I’ll be sure to add that to my Kindle before I leave. Edgerton looks poised to be stealing some scenes in this one 🙂

      1. The book is good although I’m more a Hemingway fan myself. Yeah I think if anything this will launch Edgerton as an actor although I think Warrior should have done that already but that’s just me lol.

  10. I think the decision to push the 3D on this one will come unstuck with crowds – it’s not like this film will really benefit from the added dimension, will it?

    Still, it’s Aussie Baz once more, and that’s okay with me. I actually didn’t mind Australia, and of course am a huge Moulin Rouge fan (I have a signed DVD from one of the cast, the wonderful Caroline O’Connor!!) so I’m really looking forward to this. Even if the story does seem a somewhat obscure project for Baz to undertake….

    1. Hey, a guy who loves Moulin Rouge, awesome! I love that one too, Rodney, it’s one of my fave musicals. That’s awesome that you got a signed dvd from one of the cast, wow! I do hope this one will live up to MR as Baz is in desperate need of a hit right now too 🙂

  11. The thing that caught my attention is Amitabh Bachan…nice step up for that old man.
    I don’t watch Indian movies but it’s always nice to know when Asian movie star plays in Hollywood movies.

    I am still not sure whether I want to watch the movie or not…we’ll see it later

  12. It will a rental for me as well as I don’t usually do 3D films and see no relevance in having technology in this film. I prefer the previous version even if some call it a bit staid. It wasn’t meant to be a musical and Baz Luhrman should know that as he ruined Moulin Rouge was horrid as was the music on the most part contrived and ill researched. After all Coppola did the first version I am curious as to why they chose Luhrman to do this one. It remains to be seen whether this was a bad choice or not. I do agree with some of the casting not all of it as I could have chosen better. Maguire and DiCaprio would be out of my casting and in place Orlando Bloom and JJ Feild would be a better choice. As for the indian actor as I know his acting style even in Bollywood he is rubbish as I have unfortunately seen his acting before.

  13. Great post. I personally loved the trailer. I adore Baz’s anachronistic use of music and this preview is no exception. The film looks visually stunning but you are right, it doesn’t seem real, it’s sort of music-video-ish! I don’t think it’ll be a case of style over substance, though. I think there’s a lot of potential for great drama here and the cast is certainly talented and will bring their A-game, I’m sure. And about the 3D, I had seen the trailer a couple times before reading this post and I had never even noticed that! I don’t think it’s a good idea 😦 I’m pretty sick of 3D, actually.

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