One year ago this blog generally faced the topic: what happens when a reader sees its favourite book turn into a movie? The question attracts even more approaches today, a few days after the release of “The Great Gatsby” by director Baz Luhrmann in theatres. One should always remember that Francis Scott Fitzgerald‘s book had already been turned into a movie, and quite a few times aswell: three movies preceded the current and latest visual adaptation of the novel, the latter being the 1974 one starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow among other stars. This time, however, it feels pretty different. It really is a blockbuster movie, a mainstream production that counts on superb and very popular actors as well as some of the most beloved singers and groups on its soundtrack.
Let’s look at the bright side: many people, including those who repel the idea of reading, will be fascinated by the world of Jay Gatsby and will get a glimpse of what the book is all about. Besides, those who loved the novel will be transported in a multi-sensational variety of dimensions. From what can be gathered in trailers and previews, Gatsby’s parties (to begin with) and the rest of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fictional world have received a makeover treatment: nothing will look old, obsolete, dated. The 1920s will come to the present with a fascinating and appealing hook and the spectator will clearly emphasise with the visual he receives.
Unfortunately, as a reader, I tend to see more cons than pros when it comes to movies based on novels. Will this adaptation be true to the original drama taking place in between sheets? Daisy Buchanan’s gleamy eyes, clearly signalling her ‘love‘ for Gatsby are already taunting my attachment to the original book. Unless things take place in a particular context and in specific parts of the movie, the concept of Gatsby and Daisy as a perfect couple who was not just meant to be would be an outrage to those who know and appreciate the book.
The feeling of realising that your elitarian object of affection is turning mainstream is a peculiar trait of hipster culture (“I liked it before it was cool to like it”), which generally sums up the different kind of attachment one has to the same subject. The person who claims to be a big fan of “The Great Gatsby” as a movie could share the same passion with someone who claims to love “The Great Gatsby” as a novel, but this is not a given principle. Surely, one should not judge a movie before seeing it, so a thorough review will follow this blog post very soon. But everything that surrounds this new rendition already seems to divide the public opinion, especially for those who are familiar with the literary world. Will the same emotions the book brings with it actually make it through the screen? Will the glamour overshadows the implicit topics the story carries?
Moreover, despite “The Great Gatsby” being one of the most loved American classics in Literature, I’m sure it will not be easy for those who loved this story to realise that it is now accessible to the masses, and not in the same way it was as a book. It no longer stands just as a masterpiece of American and world literature, but directly competes with the world of images, the seductive and exuberant world of images. One day we will hear, to our horror, as someone asks: “Is ‘The Great Gatsby‘ a novel aswell?”