Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

In the beginning of the Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins unexpectedly gives all his possessions including a gold ring to his young cousin Frodo and goes off to live in Rivendell with the elves. Rewind sixty years, and we get to find out why...

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman the Brilliant) is a homebody. And he likes to know his visitors BEFORE they come visiting. So when thirteen dwarves show up at his house right at dinnertime, and help themselves to everything in his pantry, he isn't too happy. Nor is he too happy with Gandalf the wizard (who else but Ian McKellen!) who brought them there. The large, hairy group talk of adventure, and invite Bilbo to join them, but of course he declines - that would be a unacceptably unexpected thing for a hobbit to do after all! Bilbo is half Took though, and that Took side must rule in the morning, because the next morning finds Bilbo chasing after the company to join them. Quite unexpectedly, and quite without his pocket-handkerchief!

Thorin Oakenshield, Balin, Dwalin, Kili, Fili, Oin, Gloin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori and Ori (And yes, I typed that without reference to anything, because, what's the point of knowing the names of all the dwarves, if you don't brag about it?) are all individual. One of the elements I thought would be the most difficult in bringing this story to the silver screen, and it worked out brilliantly, no doubt because of a lot of thought and hard work from a lot of people, including, of course, the thirteen wonderful actors who played them. The challenge of learning their names off the page became simple with each dwarf have their own distinct look and personality. The leader and would-be king of these dwarves, Thorin, was truly great casting. Though Richard Armitage doesn't normally look like a dwarf at six-foot-two, (and considerably more handsome than, say, John Rhys-Davies) prosthetics and movie magic turned him into a dwarf, and with his talent, and those intense eyes, and deep voice, the result was a rather perfect Thorin.

Thorin Oakenshield. Making dwarves look good since... well, since 2012.

The only new casting that is more brilliant than Thorin, is Bilbo. I seriously cannot give enough praise to the always incredible Martin Freeman for his spot-on performance as the title role. So funny, so endearing... undoubtedly a hobbit through and through, and the perfect reluctant hero. Kudos to director Peter Jackson for refusing to consider anyone else for the role.

Hobbits Bilbo Baggins and Pete Jackson.

And the returning cast... what can I say? Time has been kind to them in every way possible, and they all fill their roles at least as well as ever. I say "at least" mostly because of Andy Serkis. I heard him say it was interesting to bring back such a famous role as Gollum, and that he had to "reclaim him" for his own, not just "do an impression of the old character." I thought that would be hard, and I don't know, maybe it was -- however hard, it was worth it. Gollum is better than ever, and his scene (with Bilbo of course) was hand down the best in the film. Simply magical.

Andy Serkis is the man! ...precious.

But now I must be hard and mention some things I did not find... quite so magical.

It's been ten years since we've seen anything new come from Middle-Earth, and going into this film, I was hoping to feel a sense of coming home; a sentimental familiarity. It never happened to my satisfaction. The moments were there of course - every revisited place was pared with it's original theme music, and lingering shots told us "this is when you're supposed to feel that feeling" - the familiarity was there, but I felt a lack of sincerity in the moment instead of sentimentality. The beautiful sweeping landscapes were a beautiful as ever, but most of the wonder was in my wondering where it went.

My conclusion is that the technology absorbed it all.

Even at it's very best 3D can do nothing to enhance in the quality of a movie. Technology, gadgets and gizmos are not substitutes for real quality film-making. I think somebody missed the memo, and decided to spend a considerable amount of time effort and money giving this movie unnecessary bells and whistles in the form of 3D and a high frame rate of 48 frames-per-second, both of which only either did nothing for the picture, or even, sadly, degraded it. I did not see the 48fps version, but I know no one asked for it, and no one thought it was a good idea. And the general consensus from the few people who did see it that way was bad. It looked like a soap opera, it was distracting, or it made people motion-sick. And while it's still very possible that movies will someday all be made in a high frame rate, and it will become the new normal, I just wish Peter Jackson hadn't been so solely ambitious in this area, and turned his attentions to a different one. If only he had used his genius in concentrating on what really makes movies great, and what has always made movies great. Maybe then the magic would be there. Maybe the familiarity would feel less lifeless, and the new parts of Middle-Earth would stir up that "wow" feeling I missed.

You know... THAT feeling. Right there. And there.

But now I feel like I'm being too hard. It's difficult; I was fan of The Lord of the Rings movies before I read the books, but The Hobbit - the book - was my first taste of Middle-Earth, and I want to love the movie version as well as the book, which I already love. Every careless moment, I easily overlook in Lord of the Rings, but take personally in The Hobbit; everything wrong is like plain disrespect for the beloved source material. But I know it's not true. I believe these filmmakers are just as much fans as I am, so they must really be trying. Maybe they're just misguided... perhaps they don't realize that we don't want "The Lord of the Rings 2.0", we want The Hobbit -- Tolkien's original, beautiful masterpiece in all it's simple, episodic perfection!

One more of Bilbo... you don't mind right?

So don't take my nit-picking the faults of this movie too seriously. I'm overly passionate about what I think is done wrong, so it might not seem like it, but the good here really does outweigh the bad in my opinion. I'm sure more viewings and two more films will find me overall very happy with these films. The "bad" will offend less and less over time, while the wonderful moments I enjoyed and loved will never fade -- like every single scene Martin Freeman is in. Gandalf, and every one of the dwarves are a pleasure, Gollum is brilliant, and would steal the movie... if it wasn't for Bilbo... and New Zealand is as gorgeous as ever. Anyway, how could I be disappointed while I'm so feverishly anticipating the next installment... and Smaug!

Maybe Peter Jackson will have a very interesting dream tonight, where he comes to me at my death bed, and I have something important to tell him...
"I'm disa-- disapp.... I'm disapp--...."
"I know, you're disappointed I couldn't make The Hobbit like The Lord of the Rings."
"No... no no no.... I'm disappointed... that you tried"
As the music swells PJ has his epiphany, and knows what he must now do. 
Then I would quickly add, "of course, I'm not really that disappointed -- I mean, it was a good effort! You really did do a great job with the casting - who else could be Bilbo but Martin after all, and Richard Armitage was totally epic as Thorin too! In fact, all the dwarves were great, and how you defined them-- how they're all their own character-- I'm really actually impressed! Sure, there were some parts that, well, could have been better, but you know, overall... good show! So hurry up and make the next two -- and better if you can -- and I will have nothing to complain about!"
And then he will, and I won't, and I won't even die, because it was all just a dream.

- 4/5 stars

Monday, November 26, 2012


"You should know that this is the strangest thing I have ever done!"

This Disney animated musical movie is another prime example of my rather annoying habit of becoming adamantly against a particular film based on a very small amount of information that I could easily ignore if I already had decided to like it instead. The small bit of information I used for my unjust judgment here came from this trailer.

The first time I saw this trailer, I was tired of it before it was over. I figured the rest of the movie would be just as silly and boring as the trailer. I absolutely love an animated movie just as much as when I was a kid, but even back then wouldn't have enjoyed watching an entire movie full of the dull ridiculousness you just witnessed above.

It must be all in the presentation.

If I had seen the trailer below first, for instance, I would have much more readily formed a positive opinion of the film, which would have changed very little even after I saw the movie.

THIS trailer is a good representation of Tangled. Unfortunate that a couple minutes ago was the first time I've seen it... isn't it?

Nevertheless, and thankfully, this quirky story of Rapunzel, an eighteen-year-old girl with a dream and impossibly long, magical hair, and a charming, impossibly handsome thief, Flynn Rider, (voiced very pleasingly by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) still got me. I'm tempted to say this may be the very first Disney Princess movie in which the supporting hero outshines the heroine - almost. It would be too shocking if it was actually, but they certainly are at least equal, and that is probably a record anyway. The two animated characters have more character and more chemistry than a number of live-action movies couples! In spite of that first trailer, this film turns out to be a unique and exciting, actually funny, and even endearing offering from Disney.

Concept art that is only slightly more gorgeous than what you see in the film.

Yes, there are still some very silly aspects to this movie, but I found they mostly turn sweet when balanced so well with some heartfelt moments, moments of breathtaking animation, a witty script and two surprisingly fleshed-out and loveable lead characters. Tangled is a pleasure to watch every time.

- 4.5/5 stars

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Star Trek

Whenever I don't want to watch a movie because it sounds stupid to me, my dad always suggests that I watch the first ten minutes before passing judgment. But usually, ten minutes quickly turns to thirty before I have a decent idea of whether I'd like it, at which point it's not too inconvenient to watch the rest even if I don't like it in the end. I blame my dad for my amazing ability to sit through the most awful movies and not only not die, but actually enjoy them... if only in the smallest degree. At any rate, his "ten minute" trick either works great, or not at all depending on your viewpoint. If you're like me you'll be sucked in anyway, but very few films can convince an unwilling viewer to change their mind within the first ten minutes.

I can only think one movie where the first ten minutes are a perfect preview to the rest, and if you're not hooked by then you can safely assume it's not a movie for you. The tone is set, and your attention captured with excitement, drama and mystery, and impressive visuals, then the beautiful theme music swells to a mighty crescendo as the title, "Star Trek" fills the screen, and seals your fate for the next two hours.

Yes, I defy anyone to watch this Star Trek's opening scene, and then not have a hard time turning it off. Director J.J. Abrams pulled off a whopper of a beginning, and set a very high standard for the rest of his movie. Then he promptly lived up to it in every possible way.

Thanks to Eric Bana as the villainous Romulan Nero, and an aged Spock, time is slightly altered for James Tiberius Kirk (as good as ever in the hands of Chris Pine) when his father (then-newcomer Chris Hemsworth) is killed the same day Jim is born. Still, he joins Star Fleet after some encouragement from Captain Pike (Bruce Greenwood!) and time as we know it is set more or less right. He forms a fast friendship with Bones (Karl Urban, brilliant... perfection... all I can say) flirts with many women and ends up on a ship called Enterprise with a group of younger, but familiar faces, and the fate of the Earth in the balance.

Welcome back, Spock and Kirk!

I must admit, meeting these rebooted classic characters is my favorite part of this movie. I cannot get over Karl Urban's McCoy, and his first scene. Simon Pegg as Scotty is a scene stealer (that would be why the character shows up later in the film) and Anton Yelchin as Chekov is --yo-mayo!-- now one of my favorite characters. I can find no real complaint about any of the characters; I only wish the film had been longer in order to give them all as much time as they could possibly use to develop, play off each other, and show off their individuality. For this reason my anticipation of the next installment is probably a bit too much for my good considering it's pretty far off right now.

May 2013 they'll be back, and with the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch!

There really isn't much more to say. The ensemble cast with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto at the lead is a pleasure to watch, and every moment is brimming with energy. The plot is easy to follow with a little attention, yet complicated enough so that the second viewing produces moments and intricacies unnoticed the first time. I have nothing but praise for every aspect of this full-throttle adventure. Truly entertaining comedy, drama and action blended together with the skilled eye and hand of J.J. Abrams. He is respectful of everything that came before him, and has brought so much new life to the franchise with so much care and love; he is obviously passionate about what he is doing, and I firmly believe that if he continues to be so, so will his Star Trek movies continue to be in a class all of their own -- boldly going where no one has gone before.

Ah... words fail me.

- 5/5 stars

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why making The Justice League is a bad move.

Because, every once in a while, you just have to quote The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

Well it's official. The Justice League live action film is happening. It's scheduled to release in the summer of 2015, and in case you didn't know, Avengers 2 is coming in May 2015. But everyone knows that Marvel and DC are practically sworn enemies, so having their movies compete is no surprise. Nor should it be a surprise to you when I say that Marvel is winning, and DC is trying desperately to play catch-up. Marvel is way ahead, so far ahead, in fact, that I think DC should just give up, or maybe try something original to bring in the money, because making the Justice League is not a good idea.

I have a few reasons why I believe this, and the first is the most obvious. As I mentioned, DC is playing catch-up. They're rushing to get their franchise out before everyone gets too hooked on The Avengers. But it's too late for that already, so what good does rushing do? I can't think of anything... anything good that is. Not-so-good things? You bet. Case in point: rushing a movie leads to a rotten movie.

Ready or not...
Marvel already beat them to the punch, so why the rush anyway? It would be smart of them to wait, and give this film some real attention, and hype, and forget about competing with Marvel. That would give them time to create solo outings to establish characters, and give us time to prepare for a new Batman, and to forget about the Green Lantern. Now something has gotta be done about him. I'm guessing a re-cast, and pretending it never happened, and hoping everyone forgets it really fast. Hey, it worked for the Hulk. Twice.

The biggie for me is that in order to make this movie, the Batman must be rebooted. I repeat: Batman is going to be rebooted in 2015. His latest film was just released just a couple months ago, maybe you've heard of it. One of the biggest trilogies ever? Hundreds of millions at the box office? And they expect us to accept a reboot two and a half years later? It took longer than that to make each sequel! They waited five years to reboot Spider-Man and people still complained, and those Spidey movies weren't even as good as the Dark Knight trilogy. You've probably guessed as much already, but I must say I'm very wary of a new Batman, and will not readily give him my approval.

The only way it could be worse is if Joseph Gordon-Levitt somehow ends up as the rebooted Batman, or if Christian Bale comes back... very unlikely, fortunately.

So far Superman is the only character looking like success here, with his big, realistic and serious movie produced by Chris Nolan and coming soon. If his movie is setting the tone here, I'm wondering how well the rest of the characters will take the serious treatment. Some of them might only get more ridiculous. I know one thing; if Aquaman gets cast then we can dismiss this movie as a flop without even having to see it.

Man of Steel. Looks to match the Dark Knight for dark and brooding seriousness.

While I maintain that this is a bad idea, I am extremely curious to see how they are going to make it work... or not. And I probably won't be too ashamed if I find I have to change my mind and be glad they made it. I was skeptical of the Avengers at first too, though not nearly this much.

I'm sure my opinions will change around a lot over the next two years. I'm excited for the release of Man of Steel, plus casting characters and hiring a director will certainly be interesting to see. And who knows, maybe someone as brilliant as Joss Whedon will step up, snatch a good cast and wrangle the League into submission and success. But in my oh-so-professional opinion, as it stands now, success even close to that of the Avengers will be nothing short of very, very good luck.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to make a John Blake/Robin/Nightwing movie.

… In the opinion of a person who has never made a movie in her life!

I would warn you about spoilers, but if you hadn’t seen The Dark Knight Rises by now you obviously wouldn’t care about it, and therefore wouldn’t even be reading this. So read on.

So the Dark Knight Rises is over and done, Bruce Wayne as the Batman rose to the challenge, and saved the day and the city for the last time. Now he’s gone off, doing some well-deserved life-living with Ms. Kyle, and we’re all very happy for him. It’s a good end to the story. Batman (read: Christopher Nolan) thought of everything, and even passed on the Bat cape and cowl to the young and spunky ex-detective John Blake. A smart choice considering his morals are high, and his first name is Robin.

But here’s the problem; we want to see Mr. Blake in action. Please. We got a taste of his upright character, quick thinking skills and determination, and now we’re just dying to see more. We want to see some real action. We’ve known Joseph Gordon-Levitt can dominate action ever since seeing his amazing stunt work in Inception, and he’s had his share of solid lead performances, with more on the way, so why cast this star, ever-increasing in popularity in the role of Batman’s replacement unless someone was planning on capitalizing on it? Maybe it was just because he was perfect for the role, however small it was… or maybe not.

Would it shock you terribly if I said Joe Go-Le was my favorite part of the movie?

Nolan say’s he done with all things Batman, and I say it’s no big problem. It’s not going to happen with him, and it just doesn’t need to. In fact it could help with that been-there-done-that feeling if there’s a new director with a fresh take. I have no ideas as to whom, but it should be someone who can honor Nolan’s work on the Dark Knight trilogy, but take the new franchise a new way. This is very important. I would feel cheated if someone just tried to mimic Nolan’s movies. It’s gotta be fresh. There’s only one thing I can think of that should stay the same, and that is the realistic feel. That is the quality that made this franchise exceptional in the first place. Practically everything else that can reasonably change should. 

Starting with the hero – no more Batman. Rises implies that Blake becomes the new Batman, and that works great for that movie, but if they give him his own movie, I don’t think being “Batman” is going to cut it. In the afore mentioned very important spirit of not making Mr. Gordon-Levitt’s hero a mere re-hash of Mr. Bale’s, it’s just a plain good idea to give Gotham’s new Dark Knight a new name. So, no Batman, and no “Robin” either. He’s just Batman’s sidekick, so that wouldn’t work, and what would he wear? Anything that’s even slightly recognizable as a Robin costume would be totally ridiculous. But everyone already knows the perfect solution anyway. Yep, John Blake is Nightwing.

I mean COME ON. But here's a thought: call it "The Dark Knightwing"! Tee-hee.

Nightwing is the best idea simply because then there would be no threat of him joining The Justice League. And it could work very well, though not without adding a few more problems to the mix, like after Bruce tells Blake that “Batman” can be anyone, why would he go and make up a different identity? Or like the fact that John Blake isn’t Dick Grayson, or, in fact, any comic book superhero at all. I personally don’t care, but I suppose some might… anyone? No? And who would the bad guys be? I don’t know anything about Nightwing villains, are they translatable to film? What if they keep using Batman villains? I say yes to that. 

Personally, I think it can be done, and I think that if “they” want it to happen it will… but I’m beginning to doubt they do; wouldn’t there be some rumors about it at least by now? Still, I’d like to see Blake as Nightwing; similar to the Batman, but with obvious and original differences, using his smarts over strength in a slightly smaller scale film, where he could take on less powerful baddies, like the Riddler, one of my favorites.

Fan art of David Tennant as the Riddler. Um... Yes please.

But honestly, if someone, anyone, makes a movie, that casts Joe Gordon-Levitt as the same character he was in The Dark Knight Rises, no matter what his “name” is, I will want to see that movie. But until that happens – if it ever does – I’ll just enjoy watching the character in Rises, and fill in that character’s blanks myself. Something tells me that’s exactly what we’re supposed to be doing anyway…

Monday, October 1, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

Elements of The Lord of the Rings and Twilight are added to the classic fairytale to try and give it new modern life, but this movie's failure was decided along with its cast; who would ever believe that Kristen Stewart could be fairer than Charlize Theron?

Besides some weirdo magical stuff, and an "epic battle" that was really just a quick castle raid with some fighting, this movie sticks closer to the original story than I expected. After murdering the King, the Evil Queen (Charlize Theron) keeps Snow White (Kristen Stewart) prisoner in the castle for years as she terrorizes her subjects. Snow escapes and flees into the Dark Forest. The queen is afraid of going there, so she sends the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her back, because she just learned that she must eat Snow's heart in order to remain the fairest of them all. (Bad timing on the magic mirror's part... I would fire him.) The Huntsman finds her, and has a mini moment of conflict before deciding to help her instead. There's also a handsome prince (Sam Claflin) and - if my counting skills served me right - eight dwarves. Oh yes, and a magical white stag the size of a horse with tree branches for antlers. I think that's the "Twilight" part.

The Lord of the Rings part was attempted in the tone, and while it was sufficiently gritty, no other Middle Earth qualities quite made the transition. (The dwarves singing around a campfire only made me long for when thirteen of them will be singing in a Hobbit hole come December 14th.) The tone ended up being inconsistent anyway as the picture tries to juggle sweeping adventure, touching romance, epic fantasy, and dark and creepy fantasy, using just one at a time, jumping around with no warning... the result is confusing and exhausting.

Don't they look confused?

The plotting and acting match the uneven tone perfectly. It's the only perfect thing in this movie. The next best thing is Hemsworth. He gave it his all, but couldn't save the film like he did Snow. Perhaps he was simply in it too little. Maybe that's why they're trying for a sequel that focuses solely on his character. (I think I'll settle for Thor 2.) Theron is evil and beautiful, but her evil rants where disturbing and uncomfortable in more wrong ways than right ways. Stewart is unconvincing as the fairest of them all, but maintains her reputation of most deadpan of them all. Sam Claflin worries me as his emotional range is apparently limited to looks of pathetic longing. And if he gives Katniss Everdeen those pouty lips and sickening puppy-dog eyes, I might just lose my lunch, and then go into mourning for poor Finnick.

Redeeming qualities for this movie: none.

Okay, fine, let me think... the action sequences were dull... every fake line of dialogue, and tone change snaps you out of the movie... it's too long, it's too creepy, it's too... fluffy. Hmm. But it entertained me. I bet you're starting to think I'm too easily entertained, but really the majority of my entertainment actually came from the parts of the movie I didn't like... almost like... it was so bad... it was good-- no, you're right, I'm too easily entertained.

We are not amused...

There are parts to this movie that are good - or at least better than the rest of it. And the cast did seem to be really trying... the great Hemsworth almost succeeded in spite of it. But I must say I'm glad I didn't waste money to see it in the theater. I imagine the filmmakers put all their effort into making the trailer, and once they got that looking good, they gave up on the movie trusting that enough people would be tricked into seeing it at least once by the luring trailer and famous cast. If that's what happened they are geniuses. Not really though, because there was a chance for this movie. It was very dim chance, and it could've been a lot worse too of course, but it could've been better. But no, it's just another bad apple of a movie; it's pretty to look at, but beware; it might not taste so great.

Snow White and the Huntsman gave their all
But you don't need a magic mirror on the wall
To see it's not really very fair at all.

Oh yeah. I made a rhyme.

-2/5 stars

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Upcoming Movie: Rise of the Guardians

Seen this around?

This intriguing movie poster is for an animated movie scheduled to release on Nov. 21st. It's called Rise of the Guardians, a title that makes me think of The Dark Knight Rises, and Guardians of the Galaxy mushed together.

Concept art for Marvels upcoming film, Guardians of the Galaxy.

To clear up my confusion, I looked up Rise of the Guardians, and what I found was rather interesting. Here's the trailer:

This PG animated flick boasts the voice talents of several big names including Chris Pine as the apparent hero Jack Frost, Jude Law as the villain (the boogeyman? I don't know... his name is Pitch...) plus Hugh Jackman and Alec Baldwin as the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause respectively. Quite the cast. It also claims "the creators of 'How to Train Your Dragon,'" probably the best animated film DreamWorks ever managed, and what appears to be - in my opinion at least - an interesting and original premise, written in book form and for the film by William Joyce, who did the same thing for Meet the Robinsons.

How to Train Your Dragon surprised me; I didn't expect to like it so much.

Meet the Robinsons. Quirky, silly... not too shabby.

So I must say I'm intrigued. Mildly. There is, after all, always the possibility of it going way over the top, (or something similar) then falling flat on it face, (or something similar) and if that happens, I will likely not see it, but as it stands right now... I'll be keeping an interested eye on Rise of the Guardians.

What do you think? The top-notch cast is what got me.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Upcoming Film - The Great Gatsby is going to be a movie... again.

Tom Hiddleston as F. Scott Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris.

So I recently read The Great Gatsby for the first time. It was after watching the trailer for the movie, coming in 2013. The trailer piqued my interest, and then I saw the book was relatively short, and even looked easy to read. So I read it. And I loved it. I loved the simplicity of the plot, the wit, the imagery, and the first person writing. I imagined Fitzgerald as Tom Hiddleston, writing all those witty lines for my entertainment. It was a lovely, pretty short read, and now, of course, I’m ready for the movie. Because what’s the point of such a great book if it’s not going to be made into a movie?

I assume that the one and only reason this is being made into a movie again is so Carey Mulligan can play Daisy Buchanan. She is obviously the only person who should ever do it; she’s perfect for it. I heard Daisy’s very specific voice effortlessly as I read, and it sounded exactly like Mulligan. I’m excited to see her, but what about the rest of the cast? Well, here come my opinions, ready or not.

Carey Mulligan looking lovely as Daisy from the trailer.

I will never complain about seeing Joel Edgerton in a movie, and I think he is very well cast here as Tom Buchanan. As I read the book, I forgot Edgerton was going to be staring, but I knew there was someone I was forgetting from the cast. I didn’t look it up though, because I wanted to keep my imagination untainted. Ironically, I imagined Tom to look rather like Tom Hardy, whom Edgerton played a brother to in Warrior.

Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton in Warrior.
 I was this close to unknowingly imagining the character as the person actually going to play him. When I finished the book and looked at the cast list again I had a pretty good chuckle. And then I was very happy of course.

Obviously, Edgerton will be great.

Tobey Maguire’s look as Nick from the trailer stuck with me pretty well, but one thing about him worries me... Maguire’s usual characters are at least slightly awkward, especially in the way he talks, but Nick wasn’t like that; he was more normal, laid back and observing; like the audience or reader in character form. Tobey Maguire is not the person I would think of for this role, but he if does it right… i.e. if he leaves all things “Peter Parker” behind, this role has the potential to be my absolute favorite of his.

Here Maguire is wondering if he should play the character to my liking, or not. Please do!
(I noticed people suggesting Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Nick, and I think he would've been amazing, but I am heavily biased on that particular subject.)

And finally the main guy, Gatsby himself. And I don’t know what to say. The fact is I'm having a hard time seeing DiCaprio as Gatsby. He’s a great actor and I have no doubt he can perform it well – he does play insecure, desperate characters exceptionally – but he just doesn’t seem quite right. His voice is wrong, his looks aren’t classic enough... I guess I just can’t hear DiCaprio say “old sport” and not have it come out funny – in a bad way. I’m pretty sure my worries will be proven wrong in the end though, and he’ll be a fine Gatsby.

See? He looks fine. I should relax, right?

No one really jumps out at me as being better for the role than DiCaprio anyway. Certainly no American actors, but is that important? Mulligan and Edgerton are British and Australian respectively, and the newcomer playing Jordan is also an Aussie, and I’m sure an American accent is no problem for them. If I think British, Cary Elwes comes to mind, and he naturally has some of Gatsby’s qualities… if only he were twenty or so years younger. Jude Law is also an interesting thought, and he has the air, and also the acting chops for the role. If it were up to me to cast the film, he’d probably be my pick, but alas, I’m just a consumer and must be satisfied with DiCaprio, and as I said I’m sure he’ll be fine, at least.

A very young Cary Elwes, and...
Jude Law looking very dapper.

This book is in need of a successful film, and the trailer looks promising, and faithful to the source material, if a little modernized feeling. It’s going to be in 3D, which is odd, but if it’s quality 3D, I won’t complain, and who knows, it might even be improved by it. Visuals seem to play a big role here if you can judge by the trailer, and 3D was made for big visual movies. I’m excited to see it, then remember my opinions on it from now, and see how they've changed. And now that I have stated my opinions, I will move on and get excited for different movies, like the first installment of The Hobbit, and wait patiently for May 10.

Looks promising now - we'll see for sure in eight months.