greatgatsbyThere are things to love about this one but sadly it is plagued with creative decisions that will leave many shaking their head in frustration.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby finally hits theaters after a delayed release. Initially intended for Christmas of 2012 this remake of the 1974 classic has a strong leading man and a few supporting actors who get the job done, though in forgettable fashion. There are things to love about this one but sadly it is plagued with creative decisions that will leave many shaking their head in frustration.

Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald the story centers around Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) an eccentric millionaire who befriends Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a quiet Midwesterner. Carraway is soon sucked into the flamboyant life of Gatsby and his endless parties and acquaintances. There is a mystery surrounding Gatsby and no one seems to really know who he is or where he came from. The rumors abound and soon Nick begins to learn more of Gatsby's obsessions and personal demons.

They story is well known both from the novel and the 1974 film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Those who appreciate the prose and understand Gatsby will enjoy this one. Even those that have no earlier connection will soon be drawn to the character due mainly to DiCaprio's performance. Gatsby is very flawed but we still feel drawn to him and his passions. He is in love with a married woman named Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and will do anything to be with her. It is this determination that makes this as much a love story as any out there. And again, Leonardo gives an award worthy performance.

The book and film is set in the 20's which is all a film maker would need to create a world of music, color and revelry. But sadly the director (Baz Luhrmann) felt the need to turn the movie into a kaleidoscope of modern music, unneeded extravagance, and delivers something that at times seems cartoonish. These elements were so distracting and almost an offense to Fitzgerald's work. Lurmann also directed Moulin Rouge! and the 1996 version of Romeo + Juliet. Though these were cutting edge films for the time, that graphic novel approach was unwarranted here and a detriment to the outcome of the picture. It detracted more than it added.

The Great Gatsbis rated PG-13 for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language and has a running time of 2 hours and 23 minutes. It never really pushes the envelope for the rating but still it is suited for those 16 and over mainly due to the adult themes. I doubt anyone under 16 would want to sit through this film but if you have to drag along an offspring make sure they are a little older to handle the mature content. I give it 3.5 out of 5 fast cars. Superb acting from Leo but a visual monstrosity. And please, do not bother with the 3D. It just makes it worse.

Matt Mungle

Review copyright 2013 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.



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