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The Milton Measure

The Great Gatsby Dazzles Audiences

by on Friday, June 7th, 2013

The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann’s visually stunning take on the beloved Fitzgerald novel, arrived in theaters on May 10, 2013. This blockbuster, which has already made over one hundred million dollars in the box office in the United States alone, has a star-studded cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher. Luhrmann’s remake pairs the original plot of the timeless love story with over-the-top costumes and a modern soundtrack.

Flapper dresses? Check. Feathered headpieces? Check. Long chunky necklaces? Check. As expected, the clothes stayed true to the extravagant and flamboyant styles of the 1920s. The film’s costume director, Catherine Martin, enlisted the help of Prada, Brooks Brothers, and Tiffany and Company for the movie’s wardrobe. In conceptualizing the wardrobe, Prada and Baz Luhrmann aimed for Daisy Buchanan’s style to “show her as the most beautiful and rich woman in the world.” Taking this objective into account, Catherine also put focus on the historical aspect of the film when designing the fabulous costumes. Take one of Gatsby’s ties, for example. She refused to put DiCaprio in a tie made of synthetic fabric because synthetics, in fact, did not exist until the 1940’s. Her fastidious decision to the material of the tie, something that most likely would have gone unnoticed, illustrates the film’s attention to detail and respect for the historical context of the classic novel.

Not all audience members, however, appreciated the glitz of the costuming. Many fans of the book maintain that the modern cinematography, soundtrack, and costumes dilute the theme and power of the original work. “I thought the costumes were a distraction from the plot,” said Tucker Hamlin (I). “They overshadowed the storyline of the movie.” Shira Golub (II) agreed, saying, “the extravagance of the costumes and scenery made it difficult for me to fully appreciate the authenticity of the plot.”

Most viewers agree that Baz Luhrmann’s movie plot stuck relatively faithfully to the plot of the novel, with a few details missing here or there. Ms. Polk, who offered her American Literature class of juniors the opportunity to see the movie, said that while “the overall plot was the same,” she prefers the book because she “loves the language” of it. That being said, she did admit that “the movie captured the cruelty and sadness of the book well, and the actors gave great performances.” Catherine Zhu (II), a member of Ms. Polk’s class, agreed with her teacher, saying that “Carey Mulligan was absolutely phenomenal.”

The Great Gatsby, Baz Luhrmann’s visually stunning take on the beloved Fitzgerald novel, arrived in theaters on May 10, 2013. This blockbuster, which has already made over one hundred million dollars in the box office in the United States alone, has a star-studded cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Isla Fisher. Luhrmann’s remake pairs the original plot of the timeless love story with over-the-top costumes and a modern soundtrack.

Flapper dresses? Check. Feathered headpieces? Check. Long chunky necklaces? Check. As expected, the clothes stayed true to the extravagant and flamboyant styles of the 1920s. The film’s costume director, Catherine Martin, enlisted the help of Prada, Brooks Brothers, and Tiffany and Company for the movie’s wardrobe. In conceptualizing the wardrobe, Prada and Baz Luhrmann aimed for Daisy Buchanan’s style to “show her as the most beautiful and rich woman in the world.” Taking this objective into account, Catherine also put focus on the historical aspect of the film when designing the fabulous costumes. Take one of Gatsby’s ties, for example. She refused to put DiCaprio in a tie made of synthetic fabric because synthetics, in fact, did not exist until the 1940’s. Her fastidious decision to the material of the tie, something that most likely would have gone unnoticed, illustrates the film’s attention to detail and respect for the historical context of the classic novel.

Not all audience members, however, appreciated the glitz of the costuming. Many fans of the book maintain that the modern cinematography, soundtrack, and costumes dilute the theme and power of the original work. “I thought the costumes were a distraction from the plot,” said Tucker Hamlin (I). “They overshadowed the storyline of the movie.” Shira Golub (II) agreed, saying, “the extravagance of the costumes and scenery made it difficult for me to fully appreciate the authenticity of the plot.”

Most viewers agree that Baz Luhrmann’s movie plot stuck relatively faithfully to the plot of the novel, with a few details missing here or there. Ms. Polk, who offered her American Literature class of juniors the opportunity to see the movie, said that while “the overall plot was the same,” she prefers the book because she “loves the language” of it. That being said, she did admit that “the movie captured the cruelty and sadness of the book well, and the actors gave great performances.” Catherine Zhu (II), a member of Ms. Polk’s class, agreed with her teacher, saying that “Carey Mulligan was absolutely phenomenal.”

As for the stupendous soundtrack, Beyonce, Fergie, Jay-Z, Lana del Rey, will.i.am, Kanye West, and Florence + The Machine are just a few big names to appear on the track list. One of the most memorable tunes is Emile Sande and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra’s remake of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” adding a trombone that throws the audience right back into the 20’s. It is hard to tell that this swinging, upbeat piece is merely a cover of the pop sensation’s 2003 hit single. Mary Ellis (II), who attended the movie with her English class, said that the soundtrack was “unexpected, but it worked.” Luhrmann said, of the modern soundtrack, “we’ve got to get the audience to feel how it must have felt to hear jazz for the first time at a party. You need to feel how scintillating, extraordinary, new and dynamic these things were; there needs to be a frisson of the new for people to actually understand what it was really like to be there in the Twenties.”

Luhrmann’s brilliant work, subverting the classic ‘20s imagery of the novel, just goes to show how timeless this love story truly is. Generations of readers have enjoyed The Great Gatsby since it was published in 1925, and, evidenced by the success of the movie, the same high regard for the story clearly lives on today. As for the stupendous soundtrack, Beyonce, Fergie, Jay-Z, Lana del Rey, will.i.am, Kanye West, and Florence + The Machine are just a few big names to appear on the track list. One of the most memorable tunes is Emile Sande and the Bryan Ferry Orchestra’s remake of Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love,” adding a trombone that throws the audience right back into the 20’s. It is hard to tell that this swinging, upbeat piece is merely a cover of the pop sensation’s 2003 hit single. Mary Ellis (II), who attended the movie with her English class, said that the soundtrack was “unexpected, but it worked.” Luhrmann said, of the modern soundtrack, “we’ve got to get the audience to feel how it must have felt to hear jazz for the first time at a party. You need to feel how scintillating, extraordinary, new and dynamic these things were; there needs to be a frisson of the new for people to actually understand what it was really like to be there in the Twenties.”

Luhrmann’s brilliant work, subverting the classic ‘20s imagery of the novel, just goes to show how timeless this love story truly is. Generations of readers have enjoyed The Great Gatsby since it was published in 1925, and, evidenced by the success of the movie, the same high regard for the story clearly lives on today.

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Posted by on Jun 7 2013. Filed under Arts & Entertainment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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