In 1974, the inaugural issue of People magazine was released, featuring Mia Farrow as Daisy Buchanan from Gatsby, “The year’s next big movie.” That film, what we would argue is the quintessential, and most beautiful/tragic Gatsby, also featured Robert Redford, with the screenplay written by Francis Ford Coppola from the novel (obviously) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Before and since there have been any number of Gatsby remakes, including a TV version in 2000 with Mira Sorvino and Paul Rudd, and a 1926 version with Warner Baxter. In our remake-obsessed world, it’s not like the latest attempt to update Gatsby is all that shocking.
What’s shocking, or perhaps just surprising andor mildly disturbing, is that Baz Luhrmann — he of Romeo + Juliet “updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona,” with Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio, and most, recently, Nicole Kidman’s “epic” Australia — has hinted that his version of Gatsby might end up as a 3-D flick.
Via The Guardian:
The L.A. Times reported backstage comments from Luhrmann, citing his excitement about using the format for the film, which is rumoured to star Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire. Until now, 3-D has predominantly been the preserve of action movies and children’s stories.
But is 3-D still remotely relevant? Do we suddenly need the bells and whistles of what is at this point rather a “vintage” gimmick to entertain us in films? Apparently, the 3-D “trend” is not limited to Luhrmann…
Martin Scorsese has announced that he will film Hugo Cabret, his adaptation of Brian Selznick’s best-selling children’s historical fiction book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, in 3-D.
Even if you can get on board with 3-Ding a movie in 2011, there’s the trouble with the content of Gatsby, neither horror nor children’s story nor action. What gets the 3-D treatment: the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg?
Other Fitzgerald aficionados were more direct: “Baz Luhrmann, I will punch you in the face so hard, I swear your great-grandchildren will still feel the pain”; “Why not Arse-O-Vision too?” – or more reverently referential: “Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby Might Be 3D … The green light burns in your lap ‘Sophisticated – God, I’m sophisticated’.”
Frankly, our main beef with the idea of a 3-D Gatsby is not that it kills the class or grace of the Mia Farrow version of the film (putting Mira Sorvino in the main role of a TV version in 2000 kind of did that already) but that 3-D is painfully inadequate for capturing lines like this:
Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.
Then again, in our opinion, few things are as good as the book in the first place. Forgo the funny glasses and just read it again.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 10, 2011