The Success or Failure of Baz Luhrmann’s Movie, The Great Gatsby
Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby attempts to recreate the novel, but fails miserably. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is very different in meaning from Luhrmann’s filmic adaptation. The film, unlike the novel, makes Gatsby seem like a fool in love, and fails to show the idealism behind Gatsby’s dream. Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby attempts to recreate F. Scott Fitzgerald’s themes, but ends up failing miserably. The film tried to juggle too many themes at once, rather than focusing a couple crucial ones throughout the movie.
The film was unable to convey the failure of the “American Dream” that Fitzgerald so aptly analyzed throughout his novel. Fitzgerald, unlike Luhrmann, was able to make the reader see that Gatsby’s vision (all of his wealth and grandeur had a purpose: to win over Daisy), which parallels the “American Dream” that many people strive for. The impossibility of this dream is keyed in on through the dialogue between Nick and Gatsby during Luhrmann’s film, but it does not even come close to achieving the same effect that Fitzgerald did in his novel.
Luhrmann focuses on how Gatsby’s hope and determination to repeat the past in this one scene, but fails to tie this in throughout the movie. This important theme is forgotten by the end of the film because of how gaudily the film is stylized. The film may have accurately portrayed the imagery of the extravagant parties that Fitzgerald vividly described, but the glitzy diversions detract from the central themes. The disjointedness of the film, as a result of these distractions, cause the viewer to forget the content of the film.
Luhrmann’s attention to the visual and musical aspects of the film prevented the film from exploring the themes that Fitzgerald was able to do by ensuring that the imagery served a greater purpose (not just to become a box office success in Luhrmann’s case). Also, the changes to Nick’s character are significant as it shifts the focus from Gatsby to Nick. Fitzgerald purposefully leaves Nick’s life ambiguous, but Luhrmann attempts to give Nick’s departure from the East an edge by turning him into a drunkard. By doing this, Luhrmann emphasizes the excesses of the time, and ends up