I’m a fan of classier times, so naturally I’m drawn to older movies…and movies that look like older movies. After a fun Alpha Phi Omega “Roaring Twenties” school dance where they handed out free flasks, I was excited to see the new The Great Gatsby 2013 film. Alas, I was relatively disappointed.
To be honest, I don’t remember the story very much. It’s been several years since I read the book in high school (and I’m in college now), and I can’t say the story particularly stuck. But it’s set in 1922 – so I was looking forward to some classy outfits, cars, and illegal bars (Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933). Instead, I was appalled by the use of modern music to appeal to today’s crowd and letdown by the dramatic and excessive special effects to illustrate New York City and the glam surrounding Jay Gatsby’s parties. Oh, and I felt like the movie was three movies long. I remember checking my watch at some point, wishing it would just end already. That’s never fun.
I think the thing the irked me the most was the use of rap music in several of the scenes. Yes, rap music. And, another problem I had (as bad as it sounds), was the number of blacks depicted in the film as dancers, lovers, and overall wealthy people. Maybe I don’t know enough about black history in NYC in the 1920s, but I was previously convinced that this would never have happened. I was also taken aback in one scene where wealthy black people are being passed in a car with open alcohol and rap music is played loudly in the background. Does no one find that unusual, strange, out-of-place,… or even slightly racist? Sure, rap might be associated with the black community and maybe it originated from the Bronx…but not until the 1970s. Fifty years too soon much??
All in all, I think the movie was alright…but the thing is it was mostly just pretty. I’m sure the director intended to emphasize glam in the world of Gatsby, but I feel like the props and special effects distorted the reality of the era and took too much focus off of the movie itself. Oh, and I felt like Leonardo DiCaprio looks too old to play Gatsby…but maybe that’s just me.
I’m not saying don’t see…I guess just be prepared to be let down if you were as hyped as I was to see some real 1920s film.
If I did a party again, I’d have some fancy champagne! Check this out: