Warner Bros has released the first trailer for Baz Luhrman’s made-in-Australia, 3D remake of “The Great Gatsby.” Your friendly, neighborhood Fanboys Examiner doesn’t believe in making you wait for these things, and you can watch it here by clicking the lower box to the left.
As much as we usually try to refrain from pre-judging movies based on trailers, it looks like a really expensive rock video. Not that there’s anything wrong with really expensive rock videos per se, this doesn’t exactly scream “spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald.” Some scenes are uncomfortably reminiscent of the generally reviled, 1974 Robert Redford version, which despite an impressive cast (Redford was miscast, however) and a screenplay by Francis Ford Coppola, had the breath-taking momentum of a shuffleboard tournament on a Carnival cruise.
“The Great Gatsby” was first filmed in 1926, with Warner Baxter in the title role, and Neil Hamilton, later Commissioner Gordon on the “Batman” TV show, as Nick Carraway. Alan Ladd played Gatstby as a more obvious gangster in a 1949 remake, with Betty Field as Daisy Buchanan and Macdonald Carey of “Days of Our Lives” fame as Nick Carraway. After the Redford version, “The Great Gatsby” was filmed again, this time for television with Brit actor Toby Stephens as Gatsby, Mira Sorvino as Daisy and Paul Rudd as Nick.
Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t seem like a bad choice for Gatsby, although he does little in the trailer other than look in period costumes and throw shirts. Carey Mulligan (“Never Let Me Go”) is admirable casting as Daisy Buchanan although she seems oddly languid here. Tobey Maguire seems an innocuous choice for narrator Nick Carraway. Joel Edgerton (“Warrior”) plays Daisy’s brutish husband Tom.
As to the direction, Luhrman is Luhrman and you should expect, and will get, grotestque facial close-ups, swirling cameras and anachronistic modern music with period settings. You either like this or you don’t. Fans of “Romeo + Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge” will be excited. Everyone else already clicked over to the latest laughing baby viral video.
The question I’ve been getting asked since this project was announced was why are they doing “The Great Gatsby” in 3D. It was in fact shot with Red Epic cameras, as were “The Hobbit” and “Prometheus.” You have to assume it’s to get an immersive, period environmental experience. Whether audiences want to pony up the extra money for 3D and not have stuff fly at the camera is an open question.
The answer will wait until December 25th when Luhrman’s Christmas present to the world opens.