Real Parents Review: The Great Gatsby



I attended a sneak preview of this movie last night and I was actually very disappointed.  I think this movie will appeal to the Moms much more than the Dads. But, I was really looking forward to this movie, and I was expecting much more from a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire. 


Having
read the book back in high school, I was very familiar with the
basic plot, but had forgotten many details. .  I intentionally did
not want to go back and refresh my recollection for the movie so that I
could experience the story anew. 


 The
story itself is obviously one of the great classic of our times, which
almost everyone will read at one point or another, but in my opinion, this movie
version did not do the story any justice.  

While
the visuals for this movie (and sets and costumes) are outstanding,
there is no reason for it to be in 3D. The mansions that Gatsby and
Buchanan live in are right out of the 1920s, complete with ornate
decorations and kingly room set ups.   

The sets and designs were fabulous, but the storytelling didn’t match up with the grandiosity of those houses.  

The
scenes from the parties that Gatsby throws are everything you would
expect to see in a giant Vegas casino.  Bands, dancing, drinks, hundreds
of people enjoying themselves……all to the tunes of Jay-Z.  What?
 There was no rap music in the 20s you say? 

 The
story is set in the roaring 20’s in NYC – a time of big bands, yet in
various points throughout the movie we are subjected to heavy JayZ and
Beyonce songs. I’m a fan of Jay-Z from way back, but I am also a big
jazz fan and this was a missed opportunity to introduce a whole new
generation to big bands and the music of the 20s.  Having Jay-Z provide
multiple songs to the movie was distracting and took me completely out
of the story since the songs were so out of context with what we were
seeing visually.  They did such an amazing job of physically recreating
everything about that period of time, but then destroyed the entire
mystique with a really poor choice of songs for the soundtrack.  I’m not
sure I’ve ever had songs in a movie distract me as much as these did.
 This one choice dragged you from a gala blowout party from the Roaring
20s and pulled you right back into this century.  Very poor choice.

Leonardo
DiCaprio gave a good performance but he lacked big supporting performances
opposite of him, especially by Tobey Maguire who I thought was all over
the place.  Tobey kept making the same wide-eyed dopey face we saw in
Spiderman and Seabiscuit and vacillated from cowering friend to over the
top bullying (especially in the scene where Gatsby first meets Daisy).
Carey Mulligan, who played Daisy Buchanan, was the real star of this
movie for me.  I felt her pain in the beginning as she struggled to keep
her marriage together and later her love for Gatsby, after the two
finally meet again after 5 years apart.  She doesn’t overdo it on either
end and her scenes really drive the movie. You can’t wait to see her back
on the screen after her scenes are finished.
I
think my date for this movie enjoyed it much more than I did. This
movie will appeal and resonante better to the females in the theater than it did
for me.  This movie probably falls into the “chick flick”
category which means it will probably do very well both in the theaters
as well as afterwards in DVD sales, but its not going to show up on many
people’s “best of” lists for 2013. If you can ignore the out of context
music and focus on the visuals, you will enjoy it more than I did.  But, you might want to lower your
expectations just a little from the ridiculously amazing trailer that got me
interested in seeing this originally.

As a parent I was glad I did not take my kids along to this movie.  There is no sex, minimal violence (people fighting with each other) and very little bad language.  So, you would be safe bringing your kids along to this movie, but I think your kids would be very bored and they would not enjoy it at all.  The kids might actually enjoy the JayZ songs more than I did. Leave me a comment if your kids enjoy it!  I would love to hear what they think about it.


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