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The Great Gatsby 3D(2013)
An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's highly acclamed novel set during the Roaring Twenties in 1922. Midwesterner Nick Carraway is lured into the lavish world of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby, on Long Island. Soon enough, however, Carraway will see through the cracks of Gatsby's nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await.
For more about The Great Gatsby 3D and the The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray release, see the The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on August 20, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writers: Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki
» See full cast & crew
The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray Review
Now with added depth and dimensionality!
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, August 20, 2013
There's no shortness of irony swirling around Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, a slick but shallow retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name. From Strictly Ballroom to Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! to Australia, the famously ritzy, operatic visionary is known for elevating, even celebrating style over substance. Subtlety be damned. And yet his command of rhythm -- visual, musical or narrative -- is often exhilarating, divisive and uneven as each film has been. Here, though, Luhrmann crafts a debilitatingly decadent drama crippled by filmmaking excess... based on a cautionary tale about the dangers of decadence and excess. Fitzgerald's novel is much more, mind you; something that can't be said of Luhrmann and co-writer Craig Pearce's loud, gaudy adaptation, which doesn't offer much of any cause or consequence for ninety grotesque minutes. Until, that is, it finally discovers a part of itself in its dying third act breaths.
Summer, 1922. Veteran and Yale graduate Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) moves into a small house on Long Island. There he learns his reclusive neighbor is none other than mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), seldom seen entrepreneur who hosts an endless string of lavish parties; headline-making soirées that attract everyone from Hollywood power players to sports stars, businessmen, gangsters and an assortment of other colorful characters. Gatsby, though, takes a particular interest in Nick, stepping out of the shadows of his mansion to ask a single favor of his new neighbor. Nick, you see, is cousin to a wealthy woman named Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), who lives across the lake with her hot-tempered husband Tom (Joel Edgerton). And Gatsby, as it turns out, has been in love with Daisy for a very long time. But when Gatsby asks Nick to arrange a secret rendezvous for the would-be lovers, it sets off a series of events that involve disastrous decisions and (not so) shocking revelations.
Fitzgerald was no stranger to wealth, prosperity or the social extravagance of the 1920s. And yet his "Gatsby" is as much an indictment of the era and its indulgences as it is a dissection of the manner in which class and culture structures begin -- and continue -- to crumble wherever money, art and celebrity collide. The novel, though largely dismissed in Fitzgerald's lifetime, remains a scathing commentary on the fabled American Dream, which, to this day, continues to make promises that can't possibly be kept. It's an impossible ideal at best, a shared delusion at worst, arguably making Fitzgerald's "Gatsby" as relevant in 2013 as it was in 1925.
So how is it that Luhrmann's Gatsby rings so hollow? How is it that an adaptation arriving in the midst of another boom-crisis-boom-crisis economic cycle has so painfully little to say to a modern audience? Why does The Great Gatsby grin and grimace from start to finish as if its filmmakers didn't understand the point of Fitzgerald's book in the least? Here, Nick and his money-grubbing compatriots are superficial, altogether alienating caricatures. Every last one of them and everyone in between. Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, George (Jason Clarke), Myrtle (Isla Fisher), Jordan (Elizabeth Debicki)... brash, one-dimensional exclamation points whose wide eyes, grand gestures, laughably exaggerated performances and simultaneously stiff period delivery are baffling. Who Framed Roger Rabbit was less cartoony than Gatsby. No hyperbole necessary. And for the love of God, don't try taking a drink every time DiCaprio utters the words "old sport." Unless you're looking for a surefire way to die of alcohol poisoning.
More troubling is Luhrmann and Pearce's hyperactive vision and sledgehammer script, which utterly fail to tie decadence to decay, connect the '20s to the 21st century (the film's modern music is a transparent trick that leads nowhere), or convey the intricacies of a fascinating period in American history rife with opportunity and ruthlessness, opulence and cruelty. The director's Roaring '20s are more rowdy than roaring, and lack texture and truth; his actors proceed as if they've literally been snorting copious amounts of cocaine between takes, and suffer the limitations such feverish intensity and spastic energy bring. Even if you've never cracked a copy of "The Great Gatsby" -- fewer and fewer have -- it's all too obvious there's a lot of noise to the film but nothing that might make it quintessential or meaningful. Or, quite frankly, entertaining at all.
If there's any respite from the dizzying recklessness that dominates the film it's Luhrmann and Pearce's third act, which offers a glimpse into the Gatsby that could have been. When Tom begins to poke and prod Gatsby -- in view of Daisy, Nick and Jordan no less -- Edgerton and DiCaprio step onto the stage of an entirely different movie. One that's still grossly theatrical, but far more compelling. As tables turn, tensions rise and houses of cards tumble, Tom, Gatsby and Daisy become considerably more interesting (despite their prevailing narcissism), while Edgerton, DiCaprio and Mulligan's performances suddenly become considerably more bearable (despite their prevailing hysterics). It's too little, too late, sadly, but the dark turn suits the film better than the flights of frenzy that render the first two acts a waste of Luhrmann's talents and Fitzgerald's subversive novel. Hollywood has yet to do right by "Gatsby." I'm beginning to wonder if it ever will.
The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray, Video Quality
Warner's 1080p/MVC-encoded 3D video presentation is as deep, dazzling and extravagant as its cinematography, with bountiful colors, exacting detail and some much needed dimensionality courtesy of an immersive 3D experience. Simon Duggan's palette is brassy and brazen, primaries are flashy and shameless, black levels are filthy rich, and contrast is a brightly lit party in and of itself; all of which is precisely as it's intended to be. (And made a touch more filmic by the slight dimness of the 3D image.) Skintones are overly lit and prone to pink hues, and sometimes take on a sickly, flushed appearance (Gatsby's initial reunion with Daisy at Nick's house is particularly problematic). But similarly harsh lighting and oversaturation frequented the film's theatrical presentation, making this a matter of intention rather than an issue with the encode. Thankfully, little else gives pause. 3D showcase scenes are a bit gimmicky, but sweeping camera shots, convincingly three-dimensional closeups, and other memorable sequences extend Luhrmann's world inward rather than outward, which makes for a more pleasing 3D experience. The image also isn't prone to aliasing or crosstalk, although displays that struggle with ghosting will have particular challenges anytime Nick attends a crowded party or music club. Best of all, edges are razor sharp, refined, and free of ringing; textures are crisp, clean and exceedingly well-resolved; delineation is terrific; and significant artifacting, banding and other such anomalies are nowhere to be found. Brief bursts of noise (most often spotted in the night skies, or when CG or green screening is involved) are really the only distractions to be had, fleeting and minor as each one is.
The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Whether Craig Armstrong's blend-of-the-centuries fusion score or the film's eclectic hip hop soundtrack works for or against The Great Gatsby is debatable. Whether it works for or against Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is not. With each beat, blare and snare roll, Luhrmann and Armstrong's musical canvas is full of punch, power and presence, with just enough playfulness and flare to make its command of the soundstage well deserved. LFE output is bold and booming, kicking into high gear with every driving downbeat, throaty growl of an engine, or stylistic flourish that calls for low-end oomph. The rear speakers have a blast all their own, with Gatsby's wild parties, the hustle and bustle of New York City, the roar of an underground jazz club, the chaos of a car veering across the road... the soundfield grabs hold of each one and wraps it around the listener, creating a fully enveloping, fully immersive experience as deceptively unruly as Luhrmann's hyper-hypnotic visuals. (The only downside being a handful of scenes that are too front-heavy to compete with the rest of the film's sonics.) Moreover, dialogue is intelligible and precisely prioritized, although some absolutely horrible ADR plagues scenes like Gatsby and Nick's first drive together.
The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
3D Blu-ray/BD/DVD/UltraViolet Combo Pack Contents (Subject to Change): The initial 3D combo pack release of The Great Gatsby features a slipcover (with the original pressing), two BD-50 discs (one for the film's 3D presentation, the other for the 2D presentation and special features), a standard DVD copy of the film, and an UltraViolet digital copy (Flixster download via redemption code, expires 8/27/2015). Please note: the Gatsby UltraViolet digital copy is not iTunes compatible.
The Great Gatsby 3D Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Baz, Baz, Baz. I'm a fan, old sport, I am. Moulin Rouge! still gets me every time. Every. Time. But The Great Gatsby is too much flash and way too much fizzle. It isn't a matter of style over substance either. It's a matter of style without substance. The film is too detached from Fitzgerald's novel, too far removed from reality, and too disconnected from the human or historic elements that might offer filmfans a foothold or anchor point. Instead, DiCaprio and company are amped up to the point of irritation, the script is cranked up to deafening levels, and the splashy visuals and blaring music undermine everything pulsing beneath the surface. Which, I gotta say, isn't very much. The same can't be said of Warner's Blu-ray release, though. With an excellent video transfer, convincing 3D experience, enthralling DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track and a decent selection of behind-the-scenes bonus content, The Great Gatsby excels in high definition and 3D. It's just a shame the film only excels in excess. I was hoping for so much more.
The Great Gatsby: Other Editions
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• This Week on Blu-ray: August 27-September 3 - August 25, 2013
For the week of August 27th, Paramount Pictures is releasing Pain and Gain, Michael Bay's look at the American Dream. Other titles include Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby adaptation, the third season of The Walking Dead, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg's Kon-Tiki, ...
• The Great Gatsby 3D & 2D Blu-rays - July 3, 2013
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is bringing director Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby to Blu-ray via 3D and 2D BD/DVD/UltraViolet combo packs. The stylized adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel of the same name stars Leonardo Dicaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey ...
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