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May 10th, 2013

Movie Review - The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Carey Mulligan, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Amitah Bachchan,  Jason Clarke, Max Cullen, and many, many more.

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann Screenplay by: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pierce Based on the Novel by: F Scott Fitzgerald Cinematography by: Simon Duggan Original Music by: Craig Armstrong

Premise: Nick Carraway has big plans for his future. He moves to New York after college to study and enter the world of stocks and bonds. Renting an old gardeners cottage nestled between the homes of the 20's new rich, he gets drawn into the secrets and games played by those new and old to power and money. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Everyone's talents shine as brightly as all the amazing decorations at Gatsby's parties. Maguire is a delight as the naive, later turned bitter, Nick Carraway. DeCaprio pulled off being rich and sophisticated easily, but what will win audiences over is his little boy eagerness and embarrassment before and during the contrived tea party. Too funny!

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: While one might not expect this to be the type of film to special effects, it actually had a lot. The bay, the green warning light, the three different sections of New York were all created or much enhanced through CGI work. There's also a fireworks sequence to Gershwin that was fabulous.

The film starts in black and white and an old Warner Brother's logo, mimicking the reel films of old. Then it blooms to color during the beginning music, and fades away in the same manner at the end of the credits. A nice bit of homage to Warner Brothers and all the previous novel to film incarnations of "The Great Gatsby" over the years.

3)  Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: I read "The Great Gatsby" back in highschool, so it's been quite a while, therefore I can't make any comparisons in that respect. I might have also watched the 1974 version with Robert Redford, but again, don't remember enough to compare with the new version.

The way the film unfolds, the audience is drawn along with Nick by the experiences and people he meets in during that strange summer. As things unfold, tidbits get sprinkled here and there and we follow the trail as the slowly unfolding mystery of Gatsby is revealed.

Though not obvious, a lot of themes and symbolism are sprinkled throughout the film giving the audience subconscious clues of the secrets and darkness lying below the surface. Though the first time you hear about "God's Eyes" you might dismiss it, by the end of the film you'll be thinking of them the same way.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: There aren't many 'gags', but the ones they have are very well done. The speeding trips to town were especially fascinating, the cars and riders and those they avoided colliding with, shown from different angles and directions.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: The tiny cottage next to the giant Gatsby castle, the old blue blood mansion across the waterway - each place was unique and almost seemed to have a life of its own. With the CGI augmented visuals, some truly quirky but effective filming tricks get pulled along the way, giving the film a very unique feel.

Gatsby's grounds and the rooms indoors are opulent and almost fairytale like. The 'fantasies' in Gatsby's mind brought to reality, yet still retaining a feeling of it being 'not quite real' at the same time. Great ambiance throughout.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: Between all the parties at Gatsby's, the more laid back affairs at the Buchanan mansion, and the middle of the road places, each had their own look and feel. The dresses and makeup for the people at Gatsby's weekend parties were amazing, though also easily missed when trying to absorb in the 'over the top' grandeur. Myrtle's dress spoke volumes in her introduction, clueing the audience as to who she was before she ever spoke a word.

Conclusion: "The Great Gatsby" is a grand spectacle of sight and sound. A lot of symbolism and minor themes are woven around a good and solid plot. A poignant peek into the life and attitudes of the 20's.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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