Blu-ray Review “The Great Gatsby”

gatsby-bluActors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher
Directors: Baz Luhrmann
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Run Time: 142 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

When I read that Baz Luhrmann was making an adaption of “The Great Gatsby” I had to do a double take. This is the same guy who made the strikenly visual and over-the-top films like “Romeo + Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge!”.  I couldn’t wait to see what he will do with his retelling of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel.  I have to admit, I was very impressed.  The film does scream Baz Luhrmann, which for me is a good thing. Everyone on this film including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton look like they are having such a blast with this film and deliver a great ensemble. “The Great Gatsby” is a fun, visual trip with great music and equally impressive performances from the film’s cast.

Official Premise: The Great Gatsby follows Fitzgerald-like, would-be writer Nick Carraway as he leaves the Midwest and comes to New York City in the spring of 1922, an era of loosening morals, glittering jazz and bootleg kings. Chasing his own American Dream, Nick lands next door to a mysterious, party-giving millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and across the bay from his cousin Daisy and her philandering, blue-blooded husband Tom Buchanan. It is thus that Nick is drawn into the captivating world of the super rich, their illusions, loves and deceits. As Nick bears witness, within and without the world he inhabits, he pens a tale of impossible love, incorruptible dreams and high-octane tragedy, and holds a mirror to our own modern times and struggles.

Warner Bros delivered this release as combo pack including a Blu-ray + DVD and Ultraviolet digital copy. The film’s 1080p transfer really works well with the films from very dazzling visual effects and Baz’s vision for this period.  The colors stand out and the details are very sharp. The film was originally released in 3D and I have heard that that presentation is the preferred way to view this but the 2D version is still fun, though you can see very clearly where the extra dimension would have stood out.  Since music is a big part of this film, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track delivers as well. Craig Armstrong’s score is amazing and blends well with the film’s different yet very effective hip hop soundtrack.

The special features are good like the film but I would have loved to see a commentary track, especially with all this great talent included. “The Greatness of Gatsby” features director Baz Luhrmann and cast discussing bringing Fitzgerald novel to the big screen during pre-production. “Within and Without” features Tobey Maguire with his take on the production. Gatsby Revealed” goes in-depth of five key scenes from the film including “Gatsby’s Party,” “Disconcerting Ride,” “Daisy and Gatsby Meet,” “The Plaza” and “Pool Scene”.

“The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby” is a great extra featuring Jay-Z, Beyonce, Fergie, will.i.am, Lana del Rey, Bryan Ferry, Florence + the Machine, Andre 3000, The XX, Sia, Gotye and others talking about the soundtrack. “The Jazz Age” touches on the other side of the music in the film with the Jazz angle from the ’20s. “Razzle Dazzle” looks into the costume design. “Fitzgerald’s Visual Poetry” talk about the visual aspect of the film. There are three deleted scenes and an alternate ending with Luhrmann intros. Lastly there is a vintage “1926 Trailer – The Great Gatsby”, silent film trailer.

The Great Gatsby is available on Blu-Ray 8/27/2013 at the WB Shop http://bit.ly/GatsbyWB

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