It always happens. A great piece of literature is announced as the next big movie of the year. Hopes rise and expectations soar. The anticipation becomes absolutely unbearable. Then finally, the day arrives when your beloved characters spring into cinematic existence to draw you more fully into the story you know and love. Only one problem. Most of the time, it sucks.
F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite authors. The way he wrote characters astounds me with every book and short story I read of his, and The Great Gatsby is one of the best.
Setting aside any expectation or apprehension that I might have about the movie, I believe that this is the right year for this story to re-emerge. As long as the movie holds up, it has great potential to really hit home with our present day society. Here’s why.
Similarities in Attitudes
The 1920s was considered the “lost generation.” They were coming out of the trauma of World War I, and as a result, they became infatuated with materialism and frivolity. There was a general lack of meaning lurking in the air, and I think the people really felt it.
Society today is not much different in a lot of ways. In a constantly plugged in, connected world, people are finding themselves more disconnected than ever. Much like the ’20s, there is an absence of meaning. People are feeling apathetic and empty again, but not because of a recent war like in the ’20s. It’s because of our new burst of technology.
That’s why I think this is the perfect time for The Great Gatsby to be remade. I think people will be able to connect with the characters now more than ever. They’ll be able to see people who are struggling with finding a life that exists beneath the surface, very similar to the way that so many people feel today. It has the potential to really make an impact.
The Roaring Twenties Plus Director Baz Lurmann
If you’ve seen the older version of The Great Gatsby from 1974 with Robert Redford in it, you know that it seemed a bit, well…dull. Classic literature must be slow and boring, right?
Well, if you know anything about the 1920s, you would know that they were far from dull. It was a really scandalous time, actually. Girls were cutting off their hair and trying to dress more like boys.
The flappers were actually called “vamps” because they stayed out all night having promiscuous relations with men. A hollowness had set in after the war, and they filled it by boozing up the night.
The 1974 version doesn’t quite portray that. However, I think the 2013 version will. Director Baz Lurmann is known for Moulin Rouge! and Romeo + Juliet. After watching both movies, you can get a good sense of his style. I think it’s a perfect fit to capture the spirit of the ’20s.
Not to mention, he has a magical way of taking something from a different time period and making it relevant to what’s going on today. Romeo + Juliet is my favorite example of that. Hopefully, The Great Gatsby will fall into that category as well.
2012 was a bad year for book adaptations in my opinion. Anna Karenina, The Hunger Games, and even The Hobbit fell short in my opinion.
Hopefully The Great Gatsby will remedy that in 2013.
Do you think The Great Gatsby will be as good as the book? What are you looking for when your favorite books are adapted into movies?