Barefoot: Great Gatsby film may be filmed in 3-D, Fitzgerald is turning over in his grave

Abigail Barefoot

Here is the pitch. We take a beloved classic, say The Great Gatsby, and turn it into a movie. Books are really in right now for being adapted on the big screen. Wait you say you want something bigger? Let’s shoot it in — wait for it — 3-D!

Now I doubt that’s how the conversation went with the director of the upcoming film “The Great Gatsby,” Baz Luhrmann, but it’s true he is considering shooting the film in 3-D.

There has been a lot of speculation on whether or not this means that 3-D will officially move away from the kid movies, action movies or bad B-grade horror films and become the norm of Hollywood. But for most people, they are scratching their heads at the idea of this film being in 3-D.

For those of you who don’t know “The Great Gatsby”, here is a less than 50 word recap. “The Great Gatsby” is a story about a guy, Jay Gatsby, who earns a bunch of money to win over this shallow girl, Daisy, who is already married. Her marriage is not the best, but she won’t leave her husband. There is a lot of mistrust, big parties and bad things that happen. The book shows a cynical view of the American dream, the shallowness of people and I won’t spoil the ending but it isn’t a happy one. There are no explosions apart from fireworks, car chases or anything in your face.

Does this strike you as something that 3-D could add too?

It doesn’t strike me as a film that would throw things at the screen to make it jump out at you, but this is the same guy who did “Moulin Rouge” so you never know. I suppose it would be used to add depth to the film, such as in “Avatar,” but does it really need it? Sure filmmaking is all about the next big thing and being creative with your stories, but there is fine line between art and gimmicks.

Now I know that when color came from black and white, or when sound came into play there were grumblings from critics. But 3-D seems more like a gimmick then a new and powerful tool.

Since the early movies of Edison and Lumiere brothers, filmmakers tried to get sound as well as moving pictures. But it was too difficult and took away from the film, because the films were hard to match up sound to film.

When the “Jazz Singer” featured sound in 1927. Audiences were astonished and amazed. But then critics felt that it took away from the artistic value of film, because the hidden mics to pick up sound allowed for little movement of the camera or actors.

Back then sound was more of a hassle that took away from the story, not added. Now we would laugh if a movie didn’t have sound, whether it is music or dialogue.

Color films started off as a hassle as well, with workers hand painting each individual frame. This task was time consuming, and would only be done for a few scenes like in the “Great Train Robbery”. Later color would be used, but too expensive for companies to be used compared to black and white film.

Then critics felt like the color took away from the artistic form of black and whites, and the use of light and shadows that were predominate in classic black and white film. Now color is used to add to the film, to display a character’s emotions or to make a statement.

So does this mean 3-D will soon become a stationary for movies much like color and sound today? Or a huge flop just waiting to happen?

I’m torn. I guess it might become mainstream, but I don’t think that “The Great Gatsby” is the one that is going to do it. One or two good films don’t make something mainstream. We need strong films and we have yet to see more than a handful.

Other than “Avatar” have there been any movies that 3-D was anything more than you shoveling out a few more dollars to see a few scenes that pop out of the screen? Did the 3-D really add anything more to the plot of the film?

Maybe it’s more of the cringe of seeing a classic novel turned into nothing more than a bad idea used to draw in audiences, rather than its story, dialogue and message. What could “The Great Gatsby” have to offer in 3-D? I could picture dancing crowds of people, or the Gatsby mansion in 3-D, but it just seems like a bad idea. Mostly because it’s not subtle details, it’s in your face that makes the audience go “Oh look that’s a 3-D moment, or this scene is in 3-D”

Besides isn’t “The Great Gatsby” is all about the superficiality and excesses of people during the 1920s, and is still used as a commentary for today? Ironic that people could be shoveling out more money to see it, just for 3-D.

Maybe 3-D is the future of the cinema, but I just don’t think “The Great Gatsby” is the one to open the gateway to the future. I don’t think audiences are ready for it, I’m not and the backlash of fans online seems to agree. There seems to be few films that were amazing in 3-D, like “Avatar” and “Up”. The balance seems to be the crappy “Final Destination”  style.

I think we need stronger films, more like “Avatar” less like “Piranhas” before people will be willing to accept 3D. 3D needs to be used less as a way to fill seats, and get more money, and more as an artistic form. Less of the slapping it on after the movie was made and work with filming in 3-D.

Who knows maybe “The Great Gatsby” will be awesome, and I will have to change me mind, that is if Baz Luhrmann does go through with after all backlash he has gotten so far.