Back in 2004, I cut a series of fake trailers for my personal amusement. My favorite of these was a trailer I cut for Pay It Forward which sold the film as a tense and violent thriller ("On October 18th... no good deed goes unpunished!"). I used the music from the film and footage completely from the movie, only cheating by using the Backdraft theme for a closing action montage. If I can find a copy of the thing, I'll put it on the site eventually. It's choppy by today's standards, but this was before the whole 'satirical trailer mash' was a thing. This Great Gatsby trailer feels like the same kind of thing, attempting to sell a somewhat reserved adult romantic drama as an uber-glitzy and action-packed melodrama. Of course, since Baz Luhrmann's at the helm, that's probably not a false sell. Depending on your feelings regarding the original novel and/or your thoughts about Luhrmann, that may be a good or a bad thing. I liked the novel when I read it once in twelve grade, finding it a fine deconstruction of the whole 'girl who got away' myth that still dominates romantic melodrama. But if Luhrmann wants to play around with it, have at it.
On the surface, this looks like Warner Bros. trying to sell a classic novel, one that probably 90% of today's kids have to read in high school, as an in-your-face sizzle fest. But I know better than I did as a younger film pundit. Back in late 1996 when his Romeo and Juliet came out, I took personal affront to the idea that kids today could only enjoy Shakespeare if it were turned into an MTV music video. This seems like the same play, but I'm too old to be offended at this idea anymore. Besides, at this point, it's clear that the ritzy-sexy-glitzy shtick is more Luhrmann's personal quirk than any attempt to pander to today's kids. Anyway, this trailer is pretty funny, not only using contemporary music but using the same song that Universal used prominently in the Safe House campaign just a few months ago. Tobey Maguire actually looks younger than he has since the first Spider-Man while Leonardo DiCaprio has to be wondering if he'll ever look old enough to play an adult. Anyway, The Great Gatsby (in 3D!!!!) opens on December 25th, so teachers assign those book reports BEFORE Christmas!