Director Baz Luhrmann is hinting that he might shoot his film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, The Great Gatsby, in 3D. If he does, it could mark a turning point for the technology, whose use to date has been limited to boisterous action movies, from the computer-animated Bolt to the effects-heavy Avatar. Could Luhrmann's Gatsby convince moviegoers that 3D is more than a passing gimmick? (Watch a clip from the 1974 film version)
This will show how 3D can help tell a story: Luhrmann loves to "shake up the status quo," says Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times, but why fuss about a 3D Gatsby? "The whole idea of new technology is to aid the storytelling." Color, a newfangled option in the 1930s, had "all sorts of thematic importance in 'The Wizard of Oz' (by contrasting it to Dorothy's dreary life back in Kansas, etc)." Maybe adding "a third dimension" will do the same for Gatsby, and give us a fresh look at "the opulence of West Egg."
"Why is everyone so on Baz Luhrmann for a 3-D Great Gatsby?"
This won't legitimize 3D — it will expose its flaws: The 1974 version of the film, with Mia Farrow as Daisy, has a certain "class" and "grace" that a gimmicky, irrelevant use of 3D will overwhelm, says Jen Doll in The Village Voice. It's brilliant language that makes Gatsby a classic, not eye-popping imagery. (What are they going to 3D-ify, anyway? "The eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg?") If Luhrmann goes through with it, we should all "forgo the funny glasses" and just re-read the book.
"The Great Gatsby is getting a 3-D makeover?"
Some day, everything will be in 3D: "Gatsby doesn't really seem to be a movie that needs 3D," says James Lileks in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, "but I suppose that sounds like someone in 1928 complaining that movies are adding voices and songs whether they need it or not." Whether Luhrmann makes the first dramatic blockbuster in 3D or someone else does, "everything will probably be 3D eventually, and 2D will look like black-and-white to modern eyes."
"The Great Gatsby — in 3D!"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: September 1, 2014
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- Fall movie guide: All the films you should see in September
- Hey, grammar nerds! Stop freaking out about 'alot.'
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- The elusive 'It factor' in presidential politics
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
Subscribe to the Week