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THE GREAT GATSBY Trailer: Baz Luhrmann and Leonardo DiCaprio make the great American novel hipper

Continuing where they left off with 1996’s Romeo + Juliet, Baz Luhrmann and Leonardo DiCaprio have taken the next step in their incredibly elaborate and expensive effort to get high schoolers to complete their English requirements: the first official trailer for their upcoming adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel, The Great Gatsby, has just been released.  Now, as the kids read the novel, they can understand the hipness of Jazz-era Long Island parties by imagining Kanye West and Jay-Z blasting over the phonograph; they can imagine the dreaminess and darkness of Gatsby by picturing Leo in their heads; and they’ll better understand weird 1920’s details like “clothing”, “cigars” and “raindrops”, once they see them flying at their face in eye-popping 3D. Or they’ll just skip reading altogether and see the movie in a few months.

In any case, Luhrmann’s unquenchable thirst for the extravagant looks to be just as fitting as it was for Moulin Rouge, assuming he will refrain from inserting elephants into the quieter drawing room moments. He’s definitely making his mark on the story and when a revered classic like this is being adapted, it’s often the deviations–from both the source text and what you imagined in your head– that are the more fun and fascinating parts. Despite the jarring song choice for the first section, the trailer definitely hits its stride, especially as Jack White’s “Love is Blindness” cover fits perfectly with the dramatic visuals, rising tension and the epic-looking scope of the film.

There’s an official synopsis that you surely don’t need because you totally read this in school, but I’ll just leave it here for no reason:

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.

The Great Gatsby also stars Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Amitabh Bachchan. It’s set for release on December 25, 2012, so families can do an educational double feature and also learn about slavery from Quentin Tarantino.

Find Tarun Shanker directly on Twitter @tuna365 and remember to follow @ScreenInvasion

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The Author

Tarun Shanker

Tarun Shanker

After tragically losing his childhood innocence by watching Steven Seagal kick a man under a train in Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, Tarun emerged from the shadows to graduate from NYU with a degree in Film & English and become a mild-mannered New York City assistant by day and a vigilante writer of everything from Victorian-era fiction to Asian film criticism by night. You can find more of his work at tarunshanker.com.