Dave’s 5-Word Review:
Not that great, Old Sport
Anyone who hasn’t read a book that a movie was based off of shouldn’t be required to read it just to have a clearer understanding of what’s going on. Instead, a viewer should rather be compelled to read the book after seeing the movie adaptation. If one is compelled, the filmmakers usually know that they have done something right. However, some movies have the preconceived notion that a movie will do just fine if it looks cool. Unfortunately, the visuals in this scenario are the only element typically praised in a pool of other impractical components. One film that has similar issues is The Great Gatsby.
This film centers around the life of Nick (Toby Maguire), a Wall Street worker who befriends a man named Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio). Gatsby is a wealthy mysterious loner who hosts parties year round in hopes that his love from the past, Daisy (Carey Mulligan), will one day stumble past his doors, making her way into his arms once more. As it turns out, Daisy is Nick’s cousin, and Gatsby uses Nick as a matchmaker. One problem, Daisy is married. What you end up with is a love triangle story…clearly not brand new territory in the world of film.
It is incredibly easy to lose track on what is happening in this film. There’s one major explanation as to why; the visuals were just too overwhelming. Yes, the visuals look great a lot of the time. You are convinced that this is taking place in the past, there is a lot of color, and a lot of unique vision coming from the director’s chair, but it drowns out the story. It really shouldn’t be that difficult to follow, considering it is a simple love triangle plot. Instead, we get a lot of wordy monologues and clearly too much focus on the 3D angle of things.
Now, it is abundantly clear that the filmmakers were attempting to make the movie, at least somewhat, feel like a classic. If you remove all of the fancy visuals, you have the footwork of a classic. The simple plot, the word choice, the intricate selection of which scenes go where…a lot of it almost seemed perfect for a classic. Sometimes mixing classic and modern elements work for a movie, and it has for this director in the past (Moulin Rouge), but in this scenario, there was simply too much happening. The easy fix to this would simply be to cut down the runtime and focus closer on the story than how it looks.
In the long run, there may very well be audience members deciding to leave the theater early if they aren’t already tapping their feet, anxious to leave. It’s not that the film is boring, but the way in which it is put together almost gives of the feeling of boredom. It does have its positives, and even has promise to be a good movie, but somewhere down the line, it failed its objective.
I would suggest skipping this film unless you specifically just want to see it based off of the 3D element. The Great Gatsby excels in some of the visuals, so go ahead, and watch it for that. Otherwise, just stay away and you will be fine.
The Great Gatsby came to theaters on May 10! Check it out.