'Gatsby' remains relevant
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 21:10
On Oct. 11th, the UConn Reads Program selected F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” as its official selection for the 2012-2013 school year. Students are encouraged to pick up a copy of the novel at the Co-op and join in on the campus wide discussions on one of the most prolific pieces of American literature. A reading guide is available online, through the UConn Read’s website (www.uconnreads.uconn.edu), as well a link to UConn Associate Professor of Art History and Women’s Gender and Sexuality studies Anne D’Alleva’s blog. Her blog, focusing solely on her reading of Gatsby and other UConn Reads programs, has many interesting posts, including one titled “Rereading Gatsby.” For many students, this will be their second, third, or 40th time reading “The Great Gatsby,” and new insight could be helpful in a proper reading.
This year, fittingly, is the 90th anniversary of Gatsby’s fictional exploits and is being celebrated by UConn and a nationwide summer 2013 movie release. Culture vultures, book worms and film junkies across the board have been anticipating the release of the new movie, given the all-star cast and progressive vision of director Baz Luhrmann.
When the trailer for the newest “Gatsby” was released earlier this year, it drew a lot of attention thanks to its striking visuals and sweeping visions of New York City. The movie stars an aging but none the less dashing Leonardo DiCaprio as the eponymous Gatsby, the sweet and fittingly independent Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchannan, and Joel Edgerton as her husband Tom. Tobey Maguire rounds out the cast as Nick Carraway. These three actors alone have the potential to make this movie a success.
If you are a tried and true Gatsby fan, you may want to focus on the word “adaptation” when watching the trailer. From the scenes presented by Luhrmann in the two minutes and twenty eight seconds, it is apparent that the swinging ‘20s culture is going to be eclipsed by a much greater force. In the trailer, at least, the setting seems to be pure and unadulterated ‘20s style, but with modern twists, such as a gargantuan light up billboards and a soundtrack consisting of “No Church in the Wild” by Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, and a Jack White cover of U2’s “Love is Blindness.”
The only potential downside to the film, is that it is being released in 3D. While some may argue the upgrade to the new, more expensive format is a poor choice for a classic drama, Luhrmann’s striking visuals may become even more beautiful with the extra dimension. As with Luhrmann’s other classic adaptations, the 1996 adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” comes to mind, the message and the power behind the stories always lingers and is joined by extreme glamour and beauty. With this in mind and the 3D element, Gatsby is set up to be an experience, and only time will tell if it will be positive or negative.