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It's rare that an end of the year awards contender debuts its first full trailer in May, but Warner Bros. appears to have something special in mind with "The Great Gatsby."
When the preview first debuted online Tuesday, the reaction was - to put it kindly - mixed with many fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel wondering what sort of "Gatsby" they'd be viewing on Dec. 25. Of course, if they'd seen any of Luhrmann's previous films they should have realized subtle and restrained are not his calling cards. Moreover, the fact the film is going to also be released in 3D should have been a red flag that this isn't an Eastwood, Spielberg, Mendes or Hooper "Gatsby," it's going to be whatever Luhrmann wants it to be. And that appears to be big, bold and decadent.
No one should be surprised the Aussie filmmaker continues his singularly operatic style first truly displayed in "Romeo and Juliet" to his most recent forgettable homeland epic, "Australia," just four years ago. However, like "Romeo," "Gatsby" is a well known and established property. Many in the media pundits and literary figures have established conventions of how and what it should look like. The longer Warner Bros. has to sell the moviegoing public on Luhrmann's "Gatsby" world, the better chance they have to overcome any initial hesitation from the desired ticket buying demographic (and oh so negative press). Because, let's be clear, you don't make a 3D DiCaprio movie for awards, you make it to turn a worldwide profit. Any awards season or critical accolades? That's bonus. And to be quite frank, Luhrmann is one filmmaker who can't afford another bomb if he wants to continue his extravagant shooting style. That's not meant as a dig at the talented Lurmann, but the honest truth of his standing in the industry.
All that being said, Luhrmann's greatest strength is his wonderful eye and sense of scale. He's clearly created his own version of 1920's New York and Long Island and an almost dream-like world for Jay Gatsby and his new friends to play in. You can experience a tease of that world in the trailer embedded above or in a gallery of some of its most opulent images below.
What do you think of Luhrmann's "Gatsby" vision? Are you adjusting yet?
"The Great Gatsby" opens nationwide and in 3D on Christmas day.