New ‘Great Gatsby’ Trailer: Looks Terrible!

Rather than waste my time by writing some fancy build-up to what the premise of this post is, I will just come right out and say it…this trailer sucks. I speak as an enthusiastic devotee of the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel and a fan of Jack Clayton’s 1974 screen version starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. The novel has always been one of my all-time favorites. Jay Gatsby always struck me as a remarkable tragic hero and perhaps no book epitomizes the decadence of the Roaring 20’s better than The Great Gatsby. The earlier film version (adapted for the screen by Francis Ford Coppola) captured this quite well – the jazz, the costumes (Theoni V. Aldredge won an Oscar for them), the décor…the decaying morals seep through the screen as we look on Nick Carraway and his friends in 1922 New York and the beauty and grandeur of Long Island’s North Shore.

So is it time to re-tool and reinvent this classic story? Perhaps. It was remade in 2000, but that was for television (and not so great). Is it a good idea to bring this magnificent story to a younger audience who are reading the SparkNotes to pass their 11th grade tests? For sure. But is Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) the right man to helm this project? Going by the trailer just released by Warner Brothers, I remain extremely skeptical and yes, very worried.

I am sure that the production design – the costumes, art direction, and such will be impeccable. Luhrmann’s films always have a grand and majestic look about them. Vulnerable and wide-eyed, Tobey Maguire looks like the right fit to play our humble narrator and protagonist, Nick Carraway. Joel Edgarton is a terrific acting force and I am sure, as Daisy’s husband Tom Buchanan, he will be dynamic once again. Carey Mulligan, while no beauty (as the character should be), is a tremendous talent, and I am sure will pull off the flighty Daisy just fine. My problem here is the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio in the iconic role of Jay Gatsby. I’m not a DiCaprio hater at all…in fact I think he’s a pretty strong actor. But here? As Gatsby? I’m sorry…but no. Redford owned the screen when he played him. He was perfect for the part — dashing, soft-spoken, with just enough danger thrown in. Leo to me looks too juvenile and not yet ready to step in these shoes. If Gatsby had a son, he’d be great for it. But that isn’t the case here.

My other problems with this hideous trailer? Well, what is with the freaking music? For a novel that is a symbol for 1920’s high-life, are we really playing Kanye West and Jay-Z?! It looks like it will be a movie that will so obviously pander to a younger audience, rather than do justice to Fitzgerald’s monumental work. Guy Ritchie mauled and mangled the brilliant fiction of Sherlock Holmes so as to appeal to a young crowd. Did it work? Well, the films hit box office gold and I suppose when all is said and done, that’s the bottom line in Hollywood. But as a film, I found the first movie to be so insulting and appalling that I never bothered seeing the second. That is what I am afraid of here — Luhrmann making that same mistake.

The “look” of the film seems very impressive indeed. My gut feeling however is that we will be watching a lot of glitz and a lot of style – with very little substance. My expectations are low indeed. Give it a look right here – what do you think about it?

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19 Responses to New ‘Great Gatsby’ Trailer: Looks Terrible!

  1. sharpasnails says:

    I wholeheartedly disagree- I think this movie looks visually stunning, and there are no signs of bad writing or acting. There would be no point to producing an exact replica of the book or past movies because they’ve been done before, why would anyone want another? That wouldn’t make sense. I don’t see the issue with modern music either, go ahead and write off Jay-Z and Kanye West if you must, but Jack White is an undoubtedly talented musician and his music fits in the trailer perfectly. Film is art and I’d rather watch a beautifully produced, unique movie with a fresh take on an old story than the same movie for the third time. Wouldn’t you rather see a beautiful, new, exciting painting than a reproduction of one you’ve already seen? This article and the comments are rudely condescending to modern artists when it’s obvious that these people are equally responsible for holding back our artistic culture. Your blatant disregard for anything that stretches your idea of the artistic norm is truly saddening.

  2. filmdrivel says:

    Agree with you, the trailer is terrible, hope it’s not going to be a massive void of a film. But Carey Mulligan ‘no beauty’…can’t agree with you on that one!

  3. I wholeheartedly agree. Never been a fan of Baz, and this is trailer (and seemingly disastrous movie) is another reason why. The only reason I’m anticipating to see it is so that Baz can prove me wrong and actually make a good film. But doubts are creeping in…

  4. Rochelle says:

    Thank god someone has some sense. I don’t know what’s wrong with my mindless, culture less generation, they just grew up only listening to crappy hip hop and pop music and think that’s what the world is all about. The idea of inserting auto tuned garbage into The Great Gatsby like it’s some thudding reality/MTV club culture is embarrassing….Yes that was my initial response to that trailer; embarrassment. I couldn’t quite articulate my disgust at first, but it’s most definitely embarrassment now that I think of it. Here we’ve taken a classic, iconic commentary on the post WW1 society, The Jazz Age culture, and turned it into mindless pop culture nonsense. As boring as the Alan Ladd or Robert Redford Version may appear to anyone….they at least didn’t reduce The Great Gatsby to that.

    I didn’t particularly agree with your opinions of the cast, I actually think the only person who could bring any sense of maturity and professionalism to this rubbish is Leonardo DiCaprio. Tobey McGuire has become an over the top, cartoonish caricature of the “vulnerable, humble, wide eyed” protagonist. He’s certainly no Sam Waterson. Even worse is Carey Mulligan, whom Hollywood has all of a sudden fallen in love with. I mean what is her appeal? She has the charisma of a brick wall, another stereotypical blank female actress to use as a plot device in every Hollywood film she’s given. Will women ever be taken seriously in Hollywood?

    • Thank you for the very thorough and thoughtful comments Rochelle. We agree on the execution of the film, for sure — at least judging from the trailer. I think I am in the minority on Leo. Most people I speak with agree with you, but I am having difficulty swallowing it. Perhaps I just loved Redford in the role so much, I’m not sure. Mulligan is fine. Mia Farrow is not so great and I didn’t think much of her in the original. Mulligan, in my opinion, is a very strong actress, though I don’t think she is very beautiful. Thanks again. Let’s see how this one turns out. I won’t hold my breath.

  5. Nicolas says:

    This looks like the best example of how our culture and society is on a rapid decline… The film looks so awful I can’t even begin to point out how much it symbolizes the stupidity and emptiness of modern culture and audiences willingness to swallow whatever the media shoves at them. This film looks like it was made by and for vapid air head self absorbed tweens. After seeing this trailer, I seriously want to slaughter each and every scumbag who worked on this piece of garbage, If our so called culture has come to this, there is absolutely no hope for the arts or humanity.

    • Nicolas – Harsh words here, but I can’t disagree. Our “culture and society” IS INDEED on the decline…based on music and tv that most of America eats up. This is another example. Luhrmann is a very stylized and accomplished director..but I can’t help but feel that he is the wrong man for this job. We agree that the film, based on just this silly trailer, does look “awful.” Thanks for chiming in!

  6. Mike says:

    Looks like total garbage. DiCaprio looks like a creep, the nobody that plays Daisy looks like a sophomore, and it looks like one long headache- loud and obnoxious, dumbed down for today’s moron generation. The romantic element is gone, any elegance or softness is gone. I’m sure it will have apps, to match it’s 3-D idiocy. You couldn’t pay me to watch this abomination. This world is in the toilet with this cheesy technology.

    • Mike – I am not sure how you feel about this trailer based on these comments. 🙂 I agree that DiCaprio looks totally miscast here and that will ultimately hurt the film. You are spot on with your “dumbed down” comment, which is what Hollywood tends to do with classic works…that is what a lot of America wants, sad to say…just look at all the crap on TV that they watch! We are a country that made a celebrity out of Snooki – so I am not surprised that this updated Gatsby looks as it does. Thanks for sharing…

  7. Paul says:

    I can’t believe this trailer makes this movie look so bad. I was watching some old 1940’s trailers with my kids on DVD, and I was surprised how each one told what the story was about instead of flashing lights, blaring music, and trying to convince me that spending money to see their movie is a good idea. I also like Leo, but Redford will always be the best for this role. Why can’t we leave well enough alone. I understand the original wasn’t the greatest movie ever, but nobody would remake Gone With The Wind, or Casablanca would they? At least I hope not.

    • don’t be so sure, Paul. I can see Hollywood totally messing with those classics – because they produce so few original films. Redford was the best – you are right…especially for Jay Gatsby. Thank you for commenting. I appreciated reading your thoughts here.

  8. Pingback: Why I’m afraid to watch The Great Gatsby | Bibliofanatique

  9. drush76 says:

    I came to this conclusion because: a) I’ve seen the other two versions, which I didn’t like; and b) I’ve seen this trailer, which I found over-the-top, but more entertaining.

    And yes, I did enjoy the Sherlock Holmes movies made by Guy Ritchie. I couldn’t care less what he had turned them into. I’m not that much of a literary Holmes fan.

    • I can’t judge a movie or say it is better or worse than others — until I actually see the film…not 2 minutes of the best footage of the film. To say it is better or worse based on a trailer — to me — would be irresponsible of me.

  10. drush76 says:

    I don’t care how “terrible” the trailer for this latest version of “THE GREAT GATSBY” was. At least it was a hell of a lot more entertaining than the 1974 and 2000 adaptations of the novel.

    • Not sure how you came to this conclusion so quickly. The film doesn’t come out for another 7 months. I will assume you also enjoyed Sherlock Holmes and what Guy Ritchie turned it into…

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