Filmmakers have yearned in vain to make a faithful adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby that honors its source material in much the same way that the fictional Gatsby yearns in vain for his lost love Daisy. Baz Luhrmann(Moulin Rouge) has created a 3-D confection of eye-candy that ambitiously blends modern musical artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, and Lana Del Rey with the Jazz Age tunes of Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Time will tell if the anachronistic modern music placed in the 1920s is a daring and successful artistic choice, or if it dates the film in our era in which Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby was produced.
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Run Time: 2 Hrs. 22 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, DVD, UltraVioletkeep case
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Release Date: 08/27/2013
The story of The Great Gatsby is seen through the eyes of its narrator, Nick Carraway(Tobey Maguire). Nick is a war veteran circa 1922 looking for meaning in his life as he takes a menial job and finds modest lodgings on Long Island across the bay from his cousin Daisy(Carey Mulligan). Daisy is married to Tom(Joel Edgerton), an aging athlete who takes Daisy for granted and has a mistress on the side. Nick finds that his modest rental property is next door to the fabulous estate of the mysterious Jay Gatsby(Leonardo Dicaprio). Nick eventually meets Gatsby and learns that his cousin Daisy is the lost love of Gatsby's life. The extravagance and decadence of the Jazz Age run thematically through this drama as matters unravel for the participants with tragic consequences for all.
The Production Rating: 3.5/5
Author F. Scott Fitzgerald passed away in 1940 believing that The Great Gatsby was a critical and commercial failure. The novel was first published in 1925 to modest numbers, and most of its sales have occurred after Fitzgerald's death as The Great Gatsby has come to be considered one of the great American novels and a time capsule representation of the Roaring 20s.
Film audiences familiar with Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge! (2001) will be comfortable with the fast cuts and constantly moving camera that assists perspective in the 3-D presentation of this film. The cast of the film is first-rate, and the sets and costumes are marvels of design. The anachronistic modern music blends well with the more era-appropriate compositions by Gershwin and Porter.
The film is presented on Blu-ray in 3-D in 1080p in a 2.4:1 aspect ratio with the AVC codec. The 3-D effects are used subtly with the camera often approaching or retreating to demonstrate the perspective of multiple levels in the stereo window. Real pop-out moments are minimal, which may be a positive or negative according to your preference. Cross-talk is minimal to non-existent except briefly in a couple of scenes.
Video Rating: 4/5 3D Rating: 3.5/5
The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks are fairly immersive to provide a rich aural experience. As in other Baz Luhrmann films, there is almost constant background music to set tone, and the 5.1 has no perceptible flaws.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5
The 3-D disc includes only the film with the special features included separately on the 2-D Blu-ray disc and the DVD.
Special Features Rating: 4/5
The special features, all in HD, include all of the following:
The Greatness of Gatsby(9:14): Director Luhrmann and screenwriter Craig Pearce talk about creating their unique adapation.
"Within and Without" with Tobey Maguire(8:41): The actor playing the film's narrator offers his own video narration while filming his own behind the scenes footage.
The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby(12:46): Director Luhrmann, executive music supervisor Anton Monsted, and others talk about the classical and contemporary selections for the soundtrack.
The Jazz Age(15:43): Luhrmann introduces some brief clips from Rick Burns' documentary New York.
Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the '20s(16:22): Costume designer Catherine Martin talks about wardrobe selections for the film.
Fitzgerald's Visual Poetry(6:55): Luhrmann talks about his stylistic choices in reinterpreting Fitzgerald's novella.
Gatsby Revealed: This consist of several connected behind the scenes featurettes entitled "Gatsby's Party"(7:12), "Disconcerting Ride"(4:53), "Daisy and Gatsby Meet"(7:49), "The Plaza"(4:26), and "Pool Scene"(5:49).
Deleted Scenes(14:24): Include an alternate ending that may be played individually or with a "play all" option, and with an introduction by director Luhrmann.
Trailer(1:05): Original trailer for the first film adaptation of The Great Gatsby(1926), a Paramount film.
Also included is a redemption code for Ultraviolet for those consumers who want to store their digital copy in the "cloud."
Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby is certainly the liveliest adaptation of the great American novel to date. The introduction of anachronistic music in the soundtrack to create a modern tone succeeds fairly well, and it remains to be seen whether this will make the film dated in the future, or timeless. The 3-D effects are used well but subtly with few significant "pop-out" moments, but coupled with the excellent audio, create an immersive effect for the film. If you have to see just one film this year adapted from a great American novel, then Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby is the one.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewed By: Timothy E
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