The Just-About-Average Gatsby: Why Are We Still Waiting?

This article was first published on Media Musings in May 2013

Summary: It’s filmed in Australia, features a strong cast of Australian actors and the director himself hails from Down Under. So why is Australia one of the last countries to see The Great Gatsby?


The Just-About-Average Gatsby: Why Are We Still Waiting?

There is nothing worse than having to idly sit back while critics worldwide slam the film that you’ve been looking forward to seeing since the day it was announced.

After almost two long years, Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of Fitzgerald’s most successful novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ is finally hitting cinemas.

Everywhere except Australia, it seems.

Despite being largely filmed in Sydney and featuring a host of Australian actors – Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and highly-praised newcomer Elizabeth Debicki (who scored the role straight out of VCA) and not to mention Lurhmann himself – Australians will be among the last to see the film.

This to me makes no sense at all.

It feels like once again we’ve been hastily added to the bottom of the invite list, forgotten and isolated on the other side of the world.

Long gone are the days when the only way to reach us was months spent on a rickety ship travelling the high seas. A plane ride takes a little over 24 hours and even ASOS can deliver your goodies via express post within three days!

So why are we still waiting Baz?

The film had its New York premiere on May 1st, opened the Cannes Film Festival two weeks later and finally premiered in Sydney two days ago – but us common people will have to wait until next Thursday to finally see it for ourselves.

Even people in Aruba get to see it before us!

But that doesn’t stop our exposure to the critics’ opinion and reviews of the film by the people who have actually seen it.

Amidst all the hype and Gatsby Fever – there’s even a Tiffany & Co collection inspired by the film! – it seems many people didn’t find the film so great.

With a current Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 50%, it looks like a name change to “The Just-about-average Gatsby” may be in order.

Inability to really connect with the characters, un-Fitzgerald like and the plot as of secondary importance to visual effects seem to be some of the common criticism about the blockbuster.

To me this is the danger that goes with the territory of any book-to-film adaptation and one I’m sure Lurhmann was well prepared for.

Like any film adaptation of a beloved novel, there was always going to be divided opinions. As with the popular breakfast spread Marmite, you either love it or you hate it.

I’d just like to have the chance to make my own mind up – ideally before the rest of the world already has it on DVD.