For everyone who love classical stories
from many centuries until millenium
with some great story-teller around the world
these is just some compilation of epic-stories
that I've read and loved so many times
... an everlasting stories and memories ...


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Books Into Movies [ 1 ] : "THE GREAT GATSBY"


Who is Gatsby ? Everyone seems know or hear about him, but nobody knows who is Gatsby beyond his huge ‘castle’ with crazy and talk-about parties who always be there each week for everyone else to do anything beyond imagination.

I’ve been reading the book (translation edition) several months ago specially after watching the movies adaptation (1974) who interesting but yet the result is more confusing and unaswers question. Then this month, after watching the newest movie adaptation (2012) and re-reading the book (I also compare it with the original version because of some incosistent in the translation), and as always when I read classic or contemporer, I finally got some answers on several topics, but then also open-up some question, mostly my though regarding the story and its characters.

Now let me put some of those topics in this post, and this review is based on two movies adaptation I already watch and the book who I already reading and post the review in HERE.

The Great Gatsby is the story about a man who trying to establish his status on high-society, people of New York City, in Manhattan, at the beginning of 20th century when new-young-rich-people are born because of the profit on stock-market. The era and new generation makes a huge separation between upper-class and middle-class. The richer are become rich or collapse, and the poor people become more poorer.

When I read the book, there is so many issue are ‘hidden’ under the writing, just like the author puts his thought (political and social-culture issue) on each paragraph, written beautifully  with word that need to be ‘re-read’ again and again to understand the meaning. The biggest issue I got from the story at first is about ‘hope’ beyond the glamourest life style of rich people, and this is open with the introduction of Nick Carraway’s character – a young, naive, good man who have high-hopes and dreams when he move to West Egg and visited East Egg. What really interesting again, its how the author puts Carraway’s character not only as the narrator for the whole story, he also acting as him-self, plays the battle between the good and the evil part inside his conscience.

Then which part Gatsby character’s take part ? I think he plays as the ‘barometer’ in the center of the circle, the circle that also built the complexity of the relationship between Tom and Daisy Buchanan, with Nick Carraway outside the circle. And when the story continue not only hope who brings Nick drown inside the circle, but he also attach with Gatsby as the center, that’s makes him stays long enough between crazy life and spider-web build by Tom and Daisy. The whole story seems really simple but looking inside and trying to understand the mind of the author when he wrote the story – suddenly each characters are more complex than the bigger picture. If you highlight on each of them, not only Gatsby, you will find several question regarding their act ...at least that what I feel.

To make easier, I will put a list on several question that pop-up in my mind, here it is :
  • Why Nick Carraway ‘escape’ from his old-life and trying to build the new life in New York ? (aside to build a new dreams, is there personal reason?)
  • Did Gatsby’s character describe as an optimist person or just a dreamer ? (I get two reaction, first he is a positive and motivated person, and the second part he just stays on the past dream, cannot or refuse to move-on)
  • Did Daisy just plain-sweet-naive girl / woman or selfish person who cannot love anyone ?
  • Why Daisy cannot choose between Gatsby or Tom ? (or she just again plain as selfish person?)
  • Did Tom ever love Myrtle ?
  • Between Gatsby and Tom and Nick, which one is the more truthfull person at least for him-self ? (You know, for this I will choose Tom, aside his arogant-selfish person, he never quite pretending to be someone else, he act, spoken and yelling whatever inside his mind and his heart, no matter how disguiseted the issue)
  • Did the car-accident really an accident ? (Seems there are issue that Daisy knew who is Myrtle and when she saw her on the road, she just hit the gas instead the brake ...)

Now let’s talk about the movie adaptation. Between 1974 and 2013 production, there’s part that I really like and there’s I did not quite agree with the interpretation. In 1974 edition, Robert Redford who plays Gatsby, always be my favorite actor ever since I watch Out of Africa (with Meryll Streep)and The Way We Were (with Barbra Streisand) but his role on Gatsby are not quite strong enough specially the emotional aspect regarding his deep feeling and rather a little-bit obsession on Daisy. The most shown is the antagonis characters, Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson who plays by Bruce Dern and Karen Black. If I can give some complement is the story ‘almost’ stick to the original without changing to much, but it also did not added something special on it. When I read that the original screenplays is written by the famous Francis Ford Coppola (with the collaboration by the author of Moby-Dick Herman Melville for all beautiful quotes and phrase), but evidently did not used on the movie by the director, I rellay curious how far the movie will made by those scripts...

For 2013 adaptation, well you’ll know it’s Baz Luhrmann’s works, his signature all over the film, reminds me a lot like ‘Moulin Rouge’ – and is the one things gave such beautiful-glamourous scenery to audience. It shows how big and how crazy the parties at Gatsby’s castle (when I look at the views, can help it remind me like entering a Disneyland ... with adult themes rather cartoon characters). And with the parade of beautiful women, specially Daisy Buchanan who plays by Carey Mulligan, I believe everyone would fallin’-in-love with this girls (so sweet and seems so vulnerable), then like fairy-tale hear comes the shining-knight plays by Leonardo DiCaprio to save the trouble-princess from evil-rude-selfish-arogant landlord (well, I think it will suited as Tom Buchanan’s description, don’t you think ?). If the 1974 adaptation are well-plays as a drama-story, who ended with tragedy, then the newest adaptation also provide with ‘spectacular-dreams’ gave higher-promises to a better life, we will taking journey inside Nick Carraway’s eyes and his mind.

Speaking on this subject, I think Tobey Maguire plays a lot better character on this story. His expression, his body-language, even his looks can tell a story. I even think his part are taking over Gatsby’s character, after the movie finished, is not the memorable and tragic episode on Gatsby I remember really well, but the expression on Nick Carraway when he realize how far the journey of a man life are taken by the person named Gatsby. At this point, I believe that Gatsby are live because of Nick, without his writing, there’s nobody knew and remembering who is Gatsby ...and Nick who act as the narrator and writer, such as the author (I mean Fitzgerald) are also re-live inside the story. 

And in both movies, there is significant plots that did not appears who for me, contain important detail on revealing who is Gatsby, the conversation between Nick and Meyer Wolfsheim then Nick with Gatsby’s father. This is only reveal in the book, so I suggest anyone who want to watch the movie, please read the book first, there are several ‘minor-detail’ but quite essential to the story, without knowing that, this story just another about mysterious person who end-up tragicly, but the message its self, about the value of life and passion to pursue it are deleted in the movies. P.S. Meyer Wolsheim original character are Jewish, so I really surprise it plays by Amitabh Batchchan...that looks so ridiculous. But the scenery when camera captured the ‘panorama’ from ‘valley-of-ashes’ into the bridge as the main-route to New York City, the picture puts side by side, changing from black-and-white into colourful and full of lights, that’s so beautiful and breath-taking.

[ more about this topics, you can also check on my review in here : The Great Gatsby (Books Review) | The Great Gatsby (My Thought on Character) | The Great Gatsby (Movies Adaptation) ]

THE GREAT GATSBY ( 1974 ) | My Rating : 3 of 5
  • Robert Redford as Jay Gatsby
  • Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan
  • Bruce Dern as Tom Buchanan
  • Sam Waterson as Nick Carraway
  • Karen Black as Myrtle Wilson
  • Scott Wilson as George Wilson
  • Lois Chiles as Jordan Baker
  • Patsy Kensit as Pammy Buchanan
  • Directed by : Jay Clayton
  • Screenplay by : Francis Ford Coppola and Herman Melville
  • Award : Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Theoni V. Aldredge), Academy Award for Best Music (Nelson Riddle), BAFTA Awards for Best Art Direction (John Box), BAFTA Award for  Best Cinematography (Douglas Slocombe) , BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design (Theoni V. Aldredge who works with Ralph Lauren and Barbara Matera), Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress (Karen Black), Nomination on Best Supporting Actor (Bruce Dern and Sam Waterson), Nomination for Most Promising Newcomer (Sam Waterson) 

THE GREAT GATSBY ( 2013 ) | My Rating : 3,5 of 5
  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby
  • Carrey Muligan as Daisy Buchanan
  • Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan
  • Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway
  • Isla Fisher as Myrtle Wilson
  • Jason Clarke as George Wilson
  • Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker
  • Amitabh Batchchan as Meyer Wolfsheim
  • Directed by : Baz Luhrmann
  • Screenplay by : Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce

This Post are also include in :
1st Review on Books Into Movies Monthly Meme
1st Review on Classical Books on Movies Adaptations

Best Regards, 

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