The first trailer for director Baz Luhrmann's much-feared adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been released and, yikes, it appears we were right to worry.
F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel has been translated to film four times before (once with Mira Sorvino and Paul Rudd, LOL) so we suppose Luhrmann felt he needed to do a lot to differentiate his film, but what we see here is simply over-the-top. Though, Luhrmann basically trades in over-the-top ridiculousness as a rule, so we probably shouldn't be all that surprised that this trailer includes a U2 cover and a host of cheesy special effects. Nor should we be surprised by how tacky Gatsby's fabulous parties look — Luhrmann is not known for his refined or elegant taste, he's much more of a chintz man.
Still, we thought that maybe, given how lofty Fitzgerald's novel is in the American canon, and how quietly lovely his writing is, that maybe Luhrmann would, with hat in hand respect, treat the story with a little more gentility than he did with, say, Moulin Rouge. (Which isn't exactly a bad movie, but it's certainly garish.) But nope, he's gone nearly full bore on the Luhrmann scale here, or at least as far as one can go and still tell a story that's very much grounded in realism.
The style stuff aside (which is a big, heavy thing to push aside), we're just not crazy about the casting here. Isla Fisher is fine as Myrtle, and we're willing to accept Joel Edgerton as Tom (but what have they done to his face?). But Carey Mulligan, as talented an actress as she may be, is too dewy or wispy for her role. Daisy is sad and frivolous, sure, but she's also got an edge to her that Mulligan has never really had. And, perhaps most importantly, Leonardo DiCaprio is too boyish and sun-kissed to play dark and elusive Gatsby. Sure we only see a handful of brief clips in this trailer, but we already don't believe him. It looks like dress-up, which renders the whole thing kinda silly. We just don't feel good about this group, which feels both too flashy and not flashy enough.
Oh, and the last thing: Why on earth is this being presented in 3D? Really, why?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.