Great Gatsby, The (2013) (Blu-ray)
Featurette-The Jazz Age
Theatrical Trailer-1926 version
|Year Of Production||2013|
|Running Time||142:05 (Case: 141)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Baz Luhrmann|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Great Gatsby is one of the great American novels, written in 1925 by F Scott Fitzgerald. It has been made into movies before, one shortly after the novel's release in 1926. Probably the best known adaptation to date has been the one starring Robert Redford from 1974, although there was a more recent TV movie in 2000 starring Mira Sorvino and Toby Stephens. In truth, this is a difficult novel to make into a movie as it tells the story from an internal perspective, that of one of the main characters, Nick Carraway. When I heard a few years ago that Baz Luhrmann was going to make an adaptation of the story, I was very pleased as I felt that Baz's style would suit the story of opulence, excess, obsession and melancholy from the Roaring Twenties. I have enjoyed reading the novel on more than one occasion and I hoped that the combination of the marvellous story and the wonderful filmmaking that Luhrmann is capable of would result in a wonderful end product. I was not disappointed. This is a marvellous adaptation of the novel, focusing on the feel and imagery of the story while also necessarily reducing the plot points to focus on the relationship between Gatsby and Carraway.
The story follows a young stock trader, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) who moves into a small cottage in West Egg, a town on New York's Long Island. The cottage is right next to the opulent castle-style house of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a mysterious self-made millionaire. Across the bay from Gatsby's mansion is the mansion of Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) and his wife Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Buchanan comes from old money, has been to all the right schools and acts like he owns the world. Nick is Daisy's cousin and he knew Tom at university. The film starts with Nick visiting his cousin at her home and meeting beautiful young golfer, Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki). They inform him that he is living next to the secretive millionaire, Jay Gatsby and he soon receives a invitation to the next party at Gatsby's. Gatsby's parties are famous for their extravagance and they attract the cream of New York society, both old and new money. He is soon drawn into Gatsby's world as they meet in person and Gatsby invites Nick to join him for lunch. Nick does not realise that Gatsby knows Daisy well and has been in love with her since they had a fling before she was married. As Nick and Gatsby's relationship continues, Gatsby reveals his true intentions by asking Nick for a favour, that he invite Daisy to tea and that Gatsby will just 'happen' to visit. Meanwhile, Tom is carrying on a affair with the wife of a service station owner in The Valley of Ashes, a poor area situated between West Egg and New York City. Just in case some readers don't know the story I won't elaborate further but suffice it to say that things do not necessarily proceed smoothly.
This is a marvellous production, with fantastic acting, cinematography, costumes, music and more. The style of the production is rooted in the 1920s, although also adds a variety of modern touches to the costumes, sets and the (much-maligned) music. I thought the music was excellent and did not have an issue with the occasional use of hip hop mixed in with the traditional jazz of the period. According to the extras, Luhrmann saw hip hop today as the equivalent of jazz in the 1920s and it was not overdone adding to the feel of the big party scenes. The underscore by Craig Armstrong is marvellous, dramatic, melancholy and exciting by turns. There is also other wonderfully used music such as the song by Lana Del Rey, Young and Beautiful which is used to wonderful effect at a variety of points in the movie. There are also some other great musical choices throughout including Florence & the Machine, the Brian Ferry Jazz Orchestra and Gotye.
The music is by no means the only impressive part of this film as Fitzgerald's imagery comes to life in the production design, including the use of onscreen text, both cursive and typing, the image of the green light on Daisy's dock, the wonderful party sequence which is reminiscent of previous Luhrmann films especially Moulin Rouge, the eyes of the oculist over the Valley of Ashes and the wonderful early scene as Nick enters the room to meet Daisy and Jordan with the beautiful flowing curtains. The costumes are also marvellous which were collaborations between Catherine Martin, Luhrmann's wife, Prada and Brooks Brothers. They manage to capture the era but also show some modern touches.
All of the technical impressiveness in this film would be nothing without the wonderful acting on display, with DeCaprio doing a marvellous job as Jay Gatsby, Tobey Maguire combining with him well as the inexperienced Nick Carraway and Joel Edgerton also showing fine skills as the unlikeable Buchanan. Although it is not sourced from the book, I really liked the device used in the film to have Nick Carraway telling his story by writing it down for a psychiatrist.
The edition I am reviewing here of this film is the standard Blu-ray release which includes the code for an ultraviolet copy of the film.
A wonderful film which has been unfairly maligned by some critics.
The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec.
The detail and clarity is excellent, exactly as you would expect from a big budget new movie.
The colour is also excellent with no issues to report.
There were no noticeable artefacts.
There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read.
The audio quality is also excellent.
This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 and also a Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio Descriptive track.
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.
The music as I mentioned above is wonderful and a huge part of the success of this film. It sounds fantastic on this Blu-ray.
The surround speakers provided a very immersive experience with the music, car drives and party sequences especially jumping out at you. Excellent.
The subwoofer provided excellent support to the music and the various activities within the film.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu includes music.
Featurette about Luhrmann going on the Trans-Siberian express and taking an audio book of Gatsby along for entertainment and then preparing for the production including scouting, rehearsals and casting. Interesting.
Baz introduces some video diary material by Tobey Maguire which is trite and pointless.
An interesting featurette about the thinking behind the music used and the various collaborators including Jay-Z, Brian Ferry, Lana Del Rey, Craig Armstrong, Florence & The Machine. Well worth watching.
My favourite type of extra, one that focuses on the background of the film or subject matter rather than specifically on making the film itself. The is a documentary about Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda and New York in the 1920s. Interesting stuff.
Featurette on the fashion in the film and the sources of the design used including collaboration with Prada, Brooks Brothers, Fogal Hosiery & Tiffany Jewelery. Hosted by Catherine Martin.
Featurette on the visual style of the film and how they set out to translate it into modern technology such as CG & 3D. This featurette also covers the devices used in the film including onscreen text and typing plus the use of the psychiatrist. Interesting, could have been longer this one.
Five featurettes which cover the making of five specific sequences in the film. They are
A variety of interesting scenes with comments from Baz Luhrmann. The scenes are mostly from towards the end of the film and also removing most of the romance between Nick & Jordan. Worth watching.
Original trailer for what is now understood to be a lost version of The Great Gatsby made in 1926. Nice addition.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region A release is basically the same.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is excellent.The extras are well worth a look and significantly more interesting than most.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|