I GOT IT WORKING!! If you’re following over at Still Insists, you may remember I mentioned how I shot a video review of the film, but it was showing up weird on YouTube, so I hadn’t posted it yet. I finally figured out what was wrong and it looks like it’s supposed to now.
I had some trouble with the editing (be gentle: this is my first time ever trying to record and edit video) so the end is cut off a little short, but the beginning starts out well, I think, compared to what I originally recorded. I didn’t edit anything in the middle.
The video is a little long–I’m long-winded, you should know this by now, and without the video editing skills I would need to really refine this, it runs about 7:30 minutes. So, sit through it if you like. I hope you don’t hate my voice or my hilarious facial expressions 😉 Fair warning: I probably say “you know” and “um” a little too much, but again, this is mostly unedited.
BTW, this video is unlisted, so you can’t search it in YouTube. Only if you have the link, found below, will you be able to watch it (random Yoda speak moment, sorry–writing this way past my bedtime). So, you’ll have to stick with me on Always Happy to Entertain You in case I decide to film myself ever again to get more links. I also turned off embedding because I don’t really want my face all over the internet even more than it already is if I can help it.
Check it out, and let me know what you think. Again, please be gentle. If everyone really dislikes it, I will probably just stick to written reviews.
SPEAKING OF WHICH: If you’d rather read a traditional review, here’s the transcript, cleaned up a bit:
Going into this movie, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was not a fan of the director after having seen the Romeo and Juliet movie, but they had assembled a fantastic cast. How can you go wrong with Leo and Carey Mulligan, right? And, it looked really incredible too, reminiscent of Avatar, with the visual effects, but I have to say, they got a little bit carried away with it all.
First off, I have to get them props: the acting was superb. Truly the saving grace the entire film. Leo as Jay Gatsby was a perfect choice.The guy is a genius to begin with, and he hasn’t made a bad movie since The Beach, so that’s a good place to start. He has this presence and intelligence to him, which makes him the perfect person to play the sort of idealized character Gatsby is, idealized in the eyes of the narrator, Nick Carraway, at least.
The only complaint I have to the performance was they seriously went overboard with the “old sport” bit. I know that was in the book, and to be honest, I haven’t read the book since 10th grade, but still, there could have been some more takes or editing done to get rid of some of that. I don’t think it was in the book nearly as much as it was in the movie. It was like every other line, in some scenes. Not kidding. Minor complaint, it didn’t really detract from the movie or Leo’s performance much, but still, a little annoying.
Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan was a perfect choice. She’s a pretty selective actress as to the roles she takes, and I haven’t seen a bad movie of hers yet, so I thought this was going to be good. She’s ideal as the fancy-free, twenties, flapper character, who’s also sort of delicate and sensitive. She plays this character often, so it’s no surprise she’s able to pull it off again in this film.
Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway, Daisy’s cousin, makes sense because he and Leonardo DiCaprio actually go back a long ways–they’re friend in real life as well. It’s not difficult to buy into them being friends in the movie, and it’s easy to see Carraway looking up to Gatsby, idolizing him. It was a little weird for me seeing Spiderman as this sort of scrawny guy in a business suit. He was so bulked up for those films, and now to see him slimmed down, in a 1920s setting and combing his hair all perfect was a change of pace.
The movie is done in sort of a flashback, with Carraway in a mental institution or rehab center, remembering the summer he spent with Jay Gatsby and Daisy, and how everything went so wrong. Carraway is disheveled, unshaven, hair unkempt, possibly paying homage to the “crazy writer” kind of look. It was a bit of a shock to see him looking so dramatically different.
The glitz and glam of the previews do not lie: the movie is very visual, very colorful, and very beautiful, in fact, beautifully shot in many scenes of the movie, but again, I do feel like they got carried away with how it looked rather than how it played. The wide sweeping shots and the big parties, it was a little over the top, and those shots lasted longer than I felt was necessary, showing off the grandeur and decadence of the “roaring 20s” and an era of excess in American history. It’s sort of understandable, but I still think they could have done less and had the same effect.
Another thing, they used modern music in some scenes, which I didn’t care for. It wasn’t surprising, considering the director is the guy who did a modern version of Romeo and Juliet, but it just didn’t work for me. The rest of the film is so true to the period, with the costumes and the look, and even the CGI reconstructed architecture of the New York City skyline as it would have appeared at that time, and then you throw in this modern music and it throws everything off a bit. If they had done a remix of one of those old jazzy 20s era songs, I might have been able to buy that, but the modern music threw me.
Sidenote: it was really hilarious to me how all the men had EXACTLY the same haircut. It was parted off to the left and swept over to the right, and it was constantly falling in their face, and they all kept pushing it out of their faces to give the big speech or have the big emotional moment, had to look presentable, you know. It was just funny to me because usually it’s the women who are fussing over their hair, and in this movie it was the men, for a change.
It took me awhile to get up the nerve to write about this movie, and create the video review for it, because when I left the theater, I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it. I took a few days to process it and think about it before writing about it and putting together the video (though it took me a lot longer to figure out the technical stuff with the video!).
I think that I, like a lot of the people who were in the theater with me on the day I saw the movie, was disappointed. Glad when it was finally over, because it was REALLY long, like two and a half hours. A few people even left early, which surprised me a bit (only by a few minutes). I don’t blame them for leaving early – it really was a long movie and it really wasn’t as awesome as everyone probably expected it to be – but I’ve never left a movie that I paid for, on principle, and I’ve only seen one movie in theaters that I actually wanted to walk out of. This was not that movie.
It was good, aesthetically, and the acting was incredible. It’s worth seeing, but I wouldn’t rush out to see it. I was much more looking forward to seeing Star Trek Into Darkness, which came out the following weekend. It’s not quite the same “caliber” of film and art as Gatsby, but as you can read in my review of it, it was a LOT of fun.
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