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The Eagle's Tale

The online newspaper of Canyon High School

The Eagle's Tale

The online newspaper of Canyon High School

The Eagle's Tale

‘The Great Gatsby’ reinvents the Roaring Twenties

(Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/MCT)
Tobey Maguire, from left, as Nick Carraway, Leonardo DiCaprio, as Jay Gatsby, Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan and Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan in Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures drama, "The Great Gatsby," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. (Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures/MCT)

A palace teeming with more pomp and circumstance than all the parades and carnivals combined. Fireworks and flare, confetti and congas, trumpets and trombones, strippers and senators. However, just a few miles away is a valley filled with the ashen loss of hope. The poor, the broke, the hopeless, the dying. The Eyes of God watch the entire story unfold. A murder, a party, an affair. A palace, a city, a valley.  Daisy, Nick, and the Great Gatsby.

“The Great Gatsby” is a movie based on the 1925 novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The plot of this film surrounds Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), an average man who moves to New York to learn the bonds business. He lives in the “new money” side of West Egg in a cottage directly next to the castle that belongs to Jay Gatsby (Leonardo Dicaprio). His cousin, Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), lives with her husband and Nick’s old college friend, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), right across the bay. Nick tries to learn the bonds business while being fascinated about the lavish lifestyle and secrets of Jay Gatsby and his fortune, the affairs of Tom Buchanan, and the hardships and rewards of New Yorker life of the Roaring Twenties.

This book to movie rendition is directed by Baz Lurhmann who is known for dramas and musicals such as “Moulin Rouge!” and “Romeo + Juliet.”  The movie does a pretty great job of sticking to the book’s original plot except for two noticeable differences. In this film, the audience watches Maguire explain his problems to a therapist in what seems like a mental institute, which is very far from the book. The book begins with Nick just explaining to the reader what happened that summer. The other difference is the ending. In the movie, a couple knots are left untied while the book sums up everything.

Alternately, another rendition of this movie by the same name was made in 1974 and directed by Jack Clayton. The newer version of this movie trumps the older by far. The acting, camera work, and music are all much more exquisite and dramatic than before. However, the older version is an almost perfect parallel to the book, while the newer version is slightly off course.

Tobey Maguire at first is unsettling. The ex-Spiderman is standing in a mental institute in front of a therapist.  Nick talking to a therapist is an odd shock of difference between the book and movie. However, Maguire does an excellent job playing Nick, a somewhat socially awkward guy that seems to just be going with wind at a stressful job in New York. Maguire really pulled himself away from his Spiderman stereotype in this film.

Leonaro DiCaprio was a quite astounding and believable Gatsby. This regal and rich character always had hope in his eyes and a sly walk in his step. DiCaprio played the mysterious character as if he had his own secret to hide although at parts he made me a little uncomfortable, like an odd stalker watching from afar. DiCaprio was a modern day Robert Redford.

For a movie that needed little to no CGI to get the job done, there was an astounding amount of computer generated scenery. Spectacular camera shots from the sparkling tops of city streets to the boisterous blue of the ocean bay fill the seemingly majestic screen. However, at times the CGI and camera work combine to a jumpy and fast pace “Scott Pilgrim” rundown. It was out of place at a blur of a dinner, but was astounding at Gatsby’s parties.

The score for this movie is something that stands on its own. The music is an interesting mash-up of Roaring Twenties era background music and Pop/R&B party music. The diversity of genres captures the excitement of the parties for a perfect contrast. Song after song, old and modern music are mixed together into a grand masterpiece.

The acting was overdone in some scenes, which, once again, makes sense. This is a Roaring Twenties era film and many were overdramatic in that time. The actors were really playing their parts. Some may see it as overly dramatic, but that really is what the era was about. However, having every extra dressed as a flamboyant flipper just walking the glowing streets of New York was a little too much.  Overall, the movie was well done and an improvement upon the past. I encourage drama lovers and anyone that has read this book to go witness this party of a film.

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About the Contributor
Josh Collins, Associate Editor
This one time, in Australia… Hello everyone! My name is Josh Collins, and I am an associate editor. I am a senior at Canyon High and am involved with several clubs and organizations. I am the president of Key Club, the president of National Honors Society, and am involved heavily with the American Sign Language Honor Society. I am also in the PRO program as well as the CHS End It movement. This summer I took a trip to Australia to attend a week long program at the University of Melbourne for the Young Leaders Winter Program. It was the best trip of my life, it opened my eyes to many cultural differences, and I loved every second. I also worked this summer at Ceta Canyon Methodist Church and Retreat Center. It was my second year working there and was an amazing experience. If I’m not at home napping, I am probably at Sonic or the movies. I love sushi, music, the ocean and writing! I especially love writing entertainment review and features. For college, my dream is to return to the University of Melbourne.

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