Writers:F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel), Baz Luhrmann (screenplay),
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.
“Whenever you feel like bringing one of the greatest works in the English language to the sliver-screen,” he told me, “Just remember, don’t make the Freaking thing in 3D.
In the 50s, when low-budget horror films turned to 3D it was a gimmick, and if a director wants to do a 3D remake of ‘The beast with a Million Eyes,” fine, in fact, for all I care, make it in 4D. Films like John Carter and Battleship need every trick available to distract the audience from the fact that the story is incoherent and the dialog is empty and stale. When the studio read the screenplay Philip G. Epstein wrote for Casablanca, they felt no need for gimmickry, they wanted the words to come to be heard and they assembled a cast with the skill and gravitas to carry the picture.
But let be clear, my immediate negative reaction to the film extends beyond the directors choice of film format. Let’s begin with why; what is arguably “The great American novel” was filmed in Australia, rather than in the Hampton’s and New York City? It is worth noting that Director Baz Luhrmann did not shoot his film Australia in Iowa. While I love Rock music, I don’t want to watch a film about Martin Luther King and hear the White Stripes playing while Dr. King delivers the “I have a Dream” speech.
This film “Represents everything for which I have an unaffected scorn,” It remakes films while thousands of quality screenplays sit on shelves, waiting for a “Green-light” that will never come. It depends on flash rather than substance, and treats the audience as if we are not bright enough to tell the difference. I’m going to wait see the film before any final determination, but I wish Luhrmann would have let The Great Gatsby alone, and just made Moulin Rouge 2.