Step aside Pakistan news, I offer the world The Great Gatsby experience

"Gatsby, he had a grand vision for his life since he was a boy, No amount of fire could challenge the fairy tale he had stored up in his heart." Nick Carraway

The same can be said of the determination and endeavor with which Baz Luhrmann recreated through the magic of film, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby.

Critics have been firing at Luhrmann on and on, coming up with negative factors such as; the essence of the story (the novel) was lost in the visual and audio glitz and glamour, some of the cast including Tobey Maguire were miscast or misdirected – as notes The Guardian, and awful comparisons such as, "Director Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby cements his reputation as the quasi-intellectual’s Michael Bay, who destroys things with glitter instead of Transformers."

But beating out all that pessimism and something that I most certainly agreed with after watching the film at a 3D screening at Atrium Cinemas in Karachi, Pakistan, is James Franco’s review for Vice. Franco says, "When adapting Gatsby to the big screen, the main questions Baz Luhrmann faced were: What will work? And, like Romeo and Juliet before, How do I make this older material live in a new medium for a modern audience? And somehow Luhrmann managed to be loyal to both the original text and to his contemporary audience. The jazz music of the 20s was raw and dangerous, but if Luhrmann had used that music today, it would have been a museum piece—irrelevant to mainstream and high culture alike, because they would’ve already known what’s coming. There have been objections to his use of 3D, but frankly it’s a nonissue. It works, and is neither distracting nor game changing. You just deal with it because you want to. It’s fun to watch."

"The critics who’ve ravaged the film for not being loyal to the book are hypocrites. These people make their living doing readings and critiques of texts in order to generate theories of varying levels of competency, or simply to make a living. Luhrmann’s film is his reading and adaptation of a text—his critique, if you will. Would anyone object to a production of Hamlet in outer space? Not as much as they object to the Gatsby adaptation, apparently. Maybe that’s because Gatsby is so much about a time and a place, while Shakespeare, in my mind, is more about universal ideas, ideals, and feelings. Luhrmann needed to breathe life into the ephemera and aura of the 20s and that’s just what he succeeded at."

Still not convinced? Watch the first trailer which begins with, "New York, 1922; the temper of the city had changed sharply. The buildings were higher, the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper. The restlessness approached hysteria."

Changed your mind and can’t get enough? Enjoy some more visuals, the eargasmic soundtrack, and brilliant dialogue…"I will tell you God’s truth, God’s truth about myself. I am the son of some very wealthy people; sadly they’re all dead now. I live in all the capitals of Europe collecting jewels, hunting big game, painting a little. Then came the war, old sport. Every ally government gave me a decoration."

My arguments to the critics of Luhrmann and his adaptation are: a) In most cases one should not start saying things like "O but the book was…" Why? Because of a simple reason first and foremost which no one really thinks about is – aren’t all films based on a huge bundle of papers full of text – in all reality a film script IS a book! b) What else did you expect when giving the project to Luhrmann in the first place? The argument of book vs film and specially 3D film is also presented by Huffington Post: "…maybe the entire purpose of presenting this film in 3D was to allow its viewers to become immersed in the culture and craze of the 1920s, and the emotional spectacle of Gatsby’s impossible dream. When fringe dresses fly out from the screen, and fireworks seem to light the theater, it’s as if we are guests at one of Gatsby’s lavish parties. When the glare from the green light shines out, we are reminded that Daisy is just across the bay, and we have hope, just as Gatsby does. To be placed in the midst of all that is beautiful about the novel allows us to experience The Great Gatsby in a way that has a feeling apart from any other big screen adaptation, and I am grateful for this. However, like I said, this exciting revelation for me might not necessarily appeal to all lovers of the novel. It is impossible to have The Great Gatsby without glittering parties and grandiose displays of wealth, but some believe Luhrmann’s dedication to this aspect of the novel is overdone. With anything transferred from text to film, there are details left out and moments missed, and it’s unfair to compare the two with a fine-tooth comb and a magnifying glass. I love the book, and I love the movie too. For some, it’s either one or the other, and that’s okay too! The most important thing is to appreciate that a film and book can never be completely alike, and that despite its slight shortcomings in that regard, The Great Gatsby is a beautifully made film and accomplishes something new with an American classic."

The vividness and attention to detail of sets, locations, costumes, and makeup (all of which I call eye-candy from the 20s presented in 2013) is offered below for you to escape into the mind of Luhrmann and Jay Gatsby…

The Great Gatsby stars on the costumes and fashion – The Hollywood Reporter

"Who is this Gatsby…he’s certainly richer than God."

Contrary to critics, the dialogue does not lose it’s importance either, even amongst the colour and clamour of the extravagance of Gatsby.

The Great Gatsby - Clip - Is This All from Your... by MyMovies_International

Even during minor sequences such as the one below, once can see the excellence of cinematography and use of light and reflections.

The art direction and the positioning of the props that come along with the era – a very important part of any film:

So what is the film really about… Daisy

…and Jay Gatsby

Coming to the choice of music, Luhrmann carefully handpicked the old and new, some covers, others originals and along with the help of the album’s executive producer Jay-Z (who also served as the executive producer for the film), they came up with a barrage songs from a-listers that would appeal to an audience of most ages. Although this film can in no way be called a musical, it’s coherence with (and not dependance upon) the soundtrack amplified the Gastby experience to great heights. The third trailer that was released before the film shows that clearly aspects such as the audio were really paid attention to for the viewers to enjoy the blend:

The complete list

The cast of The Great Gatsby on the eclectic soundtrack – The Hollywood Reporter

For the avid fans of the music, I offer the soundtrack sampler:

Of course the experience cannot be complete without Gatsby in info-graphics

Now for the world wide web and social media presence

A great site for tweet feeds from celebrities such as: Russell Brand, Joe Rogan, Cher, Crystal Hefner, Jamie Chung, David Hasselhoff, Kim Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kate Walsh, Perez Hilton, Dave Bautista, Audrina Patridge, Gov. Mike Huckabee, Rosie O’donnell, Mollie King, Sophie Choudry, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Sunny Leone, Sergio Ramos, Shobhaa De, Florence Welch, Lana Del Rey, Mallika Sherawat, Amitabh Bachchan, Victoria Beckham, Karolina Kurkova, Nina Dobrev, Mark Ronson, Lalit Kumar Modi, and a whole lot more – about the film:

Facebook pages: Inspirational content on Tumblr: Pictorials on Pinterest:

All in all, the press finally had to say this on May 25: "The Great Gatsby had become a huge success for director Baz Luhrmann, becoming his first film to cross the $100 million mark at the domestic box office."

"Luhrmann’s Gatsby struggled with critics for its bombastic style, which many found to be overwhelming and excessive. Despite the film’s lukewarm reception with professional film critics, audiences have taken to the new Gatsby kindly, helping to m-4 it past $100 million at the domestic box office, making it an unlikely hit."

"Warner Bros. announced Friday that Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel crossed the $100 million mark after 14 days of release. This makes The Great Gatsby the first of Luhrmann’s films to pass the milestone in America."

With the exception of Pakistan (since we unfortunately have limited screenings and a whole line-up of summer movies – Hollywood, Bollywood and Pakistani), The Great Gatsby is still playing in cinemas worldwide. If you miss or already missed the chance to catch it on big screen 3D, do experience The Great Gatsby when the home version is released.

A special acknowledgement to:

  • Atrium Cinemas Pakistan
  • agencies and courtesy photos & videos
  • The telegraph
  • The guardian
  • Vice
  • huffingTon Post
  • The hollywOod reporter
  • askMen
  • mashable
  • BuzzFeed
  • tWeetWood
  • The inquisitr
  • warNer Bros.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter – tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning – So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."Nick Carraway