The Great Gatsby, which will finally be released on May 10th, shows a lot of promise. You have Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been on top of his game the past few years, in the lead role. There’s also support from Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, and Joel Edgerton. Is it an all-star cast? I’d argue not, but it’s a solid cast with a more than capable director.
However, what really worries me about the film is the delay of the release date. Originally slated to open on Christmas Day of 2012, Warner Bros. decided to push it back until May, deciding that the 3-D and visual effects of the movie would make it a perfect blockbuster. However, a December release date would have made the movie eligible for the 2013 Oscars. Usually, when movies believe they have a chance at snagging some trophies, they pull the release date up. Django, Les Mis, Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook were all released between October and Christmas last year. Does this mean Warner Bros didn’t think The Great Gatsby could compete with them? Or do they simply desire money more than awards?
It is hard to say, especially since Baz Luhrmann knows what he’s doing. His Red Curtain series, consisting of Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!, has been very well received worldwide, celebrated for its imagination and charm. Australia, though not as welcomed as his other films, undoubtedly shows Luhrmann’s talent in portraying visual beauty.
In fact, it is one of Luhrmann’s movies that argues against my earlier point. Moulin Rouge!, released in May of 2001, garnered eight Oscar nominations, including Best Actress and Best Picture, eventually winning Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction – Set Direction. Out of all of Lurhmann’s films, The Great Gatsby is probably closest to Moulin Rouge!. Lavish set designs, extravagant parties, and the visual remaking of a classic city all come into play in these two movies. Will The Great Gatsby take a page out of Moulin Rouge!’s book and rally behind its impeccable set designs to make it big?
It’s hard to say, really. One thing it has going for it is the soundtrack, featuring new songs or new versions of popular songs by Sia, Lana Del Rey, The xx, Beyonce, Gotye, Jack White, Jay-Z, Florence + The Machine, and Emeli Sande, amongst others. Moulin Rouge! was known for its wonderful revamping of classic – and newer – songs, suited perfectly for the tone and atmosphere of the movie. I have no doubt that Baz Luhrmann can do it again.
If The Great Gatsby is anything close to his classic Red Curtain series, then I’m going to be the first one in line. And honestly, you should be right behind me.