The Great Gatsby Review: Does Visual Masterpiece Live Up to Expectations?

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The dazzling commercials for this sure-to-be box office smash proclaim that it's going to be the summer of Gatsby. But does it live up to enormous expectations?

While there's sure to be a division of opinions between literary purists, Luhrmann fans, and regular ol' moviegoers, there is simply no doubt that this film is a piece of work.

As for this critic, I'm staunchly on the side that loved this interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous novel The Great Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby Movie Photo

Director Baz Luhrmann is known for his distinct, somewhat over-the-top, storytelling style.

His past cinematic achievements include William Shakespeare's: Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Both of those films are stories that have been told before, but Luhrmann has a way of re-imagining the stories and adding his own eccentric and decadent spin on things.

This is exactly what he did for The Great Gatsby​.

For all of the book fans out there, fear not as the most important prose from the book is included in the film. However there are times when the words are spinning out at you in 3D fashion and dancing over scenes.

The story does not stray too often from the novel which is something that should keep longtime The Great Gatsby fans satisfied.

As for the characters, I found that casting best friends in the role of Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby was brilliant. Tobey Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio have a longstanding relationship that probably helped them sink into their roles easily.

In my opinion, the casting was simply perfect. Maybe Isla Fisher is a little too hot to play Myrtle the mistress, but she does a job well done.

The Great Gatsby Movie Pic

Any hardcore book fans know that Daisy really has dark hair, but Carey Mulligan nails the role of Daisy's dainty, naive, charming but fickle debutante.

DiCaprio has the glamour and allure of an old-Hollywood movie star, making him the perfect choice for Jay Gatsby. His star power allows him to pull off the excess and lavish character that is the infamous Gatsby.

Without giving too much away, the film does add some elements that are lacking from the novel. For instance, there was more substance in the love scenes between Daisy and Gatsby. You visually understand their affair and his longing, whether it be the iconic green light or the tabs he's kept on her over the years.

Luhrmann took a tale of the American Dream of happiness and wealth and put a modern day touch on it that surely would've suited a man like Jay Gatsby, and probably F. Scott Fitzgerald himself.

The soundtrack includes world famous acts like Jay-Z and Fergie, but it's Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" that plays throughout most of the movie and puts you in touch with the story.

If moviegoers are unimpressed by all else, there is absolutely no doubt that the film is visually stunning. Aside from the 3D factor, which surprisingly works, the production of the party scenes and landscapes are vivid and visually enchanting.

The costume design done by Luhrmann's wife Catherine Martin is impeccable, flawless, and likely to win an Oscar for it's portrayal of the Art Deco period.

All in all, it is worth the trip to the theater and the extra few bucks for 3D to see this new take on the literary classic The Great Gatsby. Who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to throw your own version of the West Egg's most notorious parties this summer? 

RATING: 4/5 Stars

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