“The Great Gatsby” follows would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin, Daisy, and her philandering, blue-blooded husband, Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super-rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.
I don’t want to spend too much time on this section of the review, since we already had a great review of the film when it initially released this Summer, but I feel I should mention something. Since the film’s first trailer, I’ve made it well known my disdain for the film’s source material, and exactly how I felt the movie would turn out. Suffice it to say, this wasn’t high on my list of must-see movies this year.
After watching the film, I’ve altered that opinion somewhat. Luhrmann’s adaptation of the book is perhaps the best possible way in which to present this story…but it’s still a story I don’t care about. While it’s incredibly well done, and features an amazing visual flare (along with a soundtrack that shouldn’t work but totally does) that will dazzle you from start to finish, I’ve just never cared for this story. It’s not the film’s fault, but lies inherently in the source material.
Seeing as how this is widely considered classic literature, it’s important to not take my opinion as the be all and end all. This story has resonated strongly with people for several decades and if you count yourself among them, then this film is going to absolutely delight you. It’s a fantastic adaptation and truly brings the story to life in a great way, so if you love the story, you’ll love the movie and the opposite is true as well. At the very least it provides a lot of great visual touches that pique my interest from an artistic standpoint.
Picture and Sound
I mentioned it a couple times already, but The Great Gatsby is visually impressive. It throws a myriad of colors your direction with great cinematography to boot. As such, it’s transfer onto the blu-ray format is just drop dead gorgeous. The colors pop nicely and stand out in grand detail, while the darker tones and blacks feel sufficiently deep without gray. In all the film has made a great transition for the big screen onto the home entertainment format.
Not to try and muddle things here, but watching this blu-ray felt much like when I watched Life of Pi on blu-ray. They’re both bright and visually ‘loud’, but nothing feels as though it was lost in translation when making the compression switch. Honestly, while I might not care for the story, I can see myself popping this film in the player again just for how pretty it looks!
The sound quality is similarly impressive. The many musical cues and moments in the film feel vibrant and full of life, but manages to never feel like it’s eclipsing the dialog. It’s a tough balance to pull off sometimes, especially considering all that’s going on in any given scene with this movie, but it’s handled nicely.
The Bonus Features
Fortunately this blu-ray/DVD pack comes with a wide array of special features:
· The Greatness of Gatsby
· “Within and Without” With Tobey Maguire
· The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby
· The Jazz Age
· Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the ’20s
· Fitzgerald’s Visual Poetry
· Gatsby Revealed
· Deleted Scenes
Each of them are pretty entertaining, and if this period of time holds any interest for you, then you’ll be plenty happy with them. Frankly, considering how slim blu-ray releases seem to be as of late, I was genuinely excited to see so much being offered. Much like with the film, however, if the time period or story isn’t interesting to you, then the special features might not hold your interest. Even so, there’s a hefty offering here with plenty of thought seemingly put into them.
The decision to buy the blu-ray ultimately comes down to how you feel about the film’s story. If you’re a fan of the Fitzgerald book, then this blu-ray is a no brainer of a purchase. It’s by far the best interpretation and vision of this story. Visually it’s impressive and doesn’t fail to stun on the blu-ray. If you haven’t seen the film already or read the book, then I suggest picking this movie up just for the spectacle it presents.
The Great Gatsby is available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and HD Digital Download on August 27, 2013.