Field Trip Augments Hype over “The Great Gatsby”


Hannah McLaughlin


Imagine a world without worry. A world revolving not around the lunar calendar, but the social calendar. A world in which money is indispensable, cocktail glasses do not run dry, and parties never end. For the wealthy denizens of 1920s New York City, life is but a continuous cycle of confetti-covered floors and days of drunk dancing. While the Roaring Twenties have certainly come and gone, the glamor and glitter of it all has not been forgotten. On May 10, 2013, Baz Luhrmann offered viewers an intimate look into the dazzling and grandiose world of Jay Gatsby.

This year, the Sophomore Class is faced with an unique opportunity to experience the magic of renown director Baz Luhrmann’s highly anticipated masterpiece, The Great Gatsby. Adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic of the same name, Luhrmann’s rendition of Gatsby is expected by millions to transcend all realms of cinematic masterpiece. The infamous director’s tendency to create enchanting and whimsical worlds of swirling color and eccentric art design heightens the already elevated hype surrounding the news of a second movie version of the American classic. However, there are some critics who argue that it is precisely this dramatization and exaggeration of art that may prove to be the movie’s downfall. Despite conflicting opinions, students, teachers, and literature lovers alike are anxious to find out whether Lurhmann can translate the beloved novel into a show stopping spectacle on the silver screen. “I expect this movie to be fantastic,” junior Ashley Waldron said. “It will be really exhilarating to watch.” Thanks to the English Department at Walpole High School, sophomores who have just recently read The Great Gatsby will view the revamped movie version in theaters on June 7, 2013.

Expectations for Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby have been set extremely high, as most of the hype can be attributed to the film’s stellar cast  of Hollywood icons. Heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio portrays the charming Jay Gatsby, a mysterious New York socialite with an odd infatuation with his childhood sweetheart Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). Spiderman star Tobey Maguire plays Nick Carraway, a middle-class man who finds himself immersed in the luxurious lifestyle of New York’s elite. After being catapulted into this strange world of lavish spending and corrupt members of old money society, Nick befriends the enigmatic and elusive Gatsby, yet fails to comprehend the complex labyrinth of emotions and strife that is Gatsby’s heart. Like all great drama-romance plot lines, love triangles are formed, secrets are revealed, and—as always—intense, rage-filled action scenes ensue.

Also, interest in the movie has risen exponentially since producers first announced that The Great Gatsby would mark the reunion of DiCaprio and Baz Luhrmann, as their first collaboration— 1996’s Romeo and Juliet— proved a tremendous success. When asked about her expectations of the duo’s new film, English teacher Mrs. Beth Sullivan said, “I’m from the generation that adored Robert Redford and Mia Farrow’s piece, but the best Romeo and Juliet version I have ever seen was created by Baz Luhrmann. Therefore, I am very excited to see how he can bring America’s greatest book to life and draw in a new generation.” The Leo-Luhrmann combination— a pair comprised of an exquisite director and an equally talented actor— excites many a film fanatic; however, several skeptics are not as hopeful.

With a current viewer review score of 48% on the movie review website, Lurhmann’s newest creation falls drastically short of the projected amount of praise anticipated by Warner Brothers Studios. The majority of viewer complaints stem from a seemingly universal aversion to the gaudy and overly-ornate set design. Junior Rory Hardiman disagrees with the director’s decision to augment the flashiness of the Roaring Twenties. He said, “I feel like the Great Gatsby will be very appealing to the eye, but not a particularly  good movie. It seems a little overdone, and its people have built it up far too much.”

Regardless of individual predictions, moviegoers across the nation simply cannot wait to see the film. At Walpole High School, the hallways are abuzz over The Great Gatsby, and the recent announcement of a sophomore field trip to see the movie on June 7th has greatly increased the hype. “We selected a date after MCAS testing was finished but well before finals,” said Ms. Emily Loflin, English teacher and Gatsby field trip coordinator. “We feel that this is an important field trip. All of our sophomores read this text and many are excited to see it with their class. Most classes will use the viewing as a basis for class discussion.” Upon hearing the news, Sophomore Lucy Lynch said, “The field trip is a great idea because it is not often that our generation gets to see such a classic novel recreated on the big screen.” Because Friday, June 3rd falls on a half day, students will be missing all classes. On this day, the Sophomore Class will enjoy a private showing of the film has been scheduled at the Showcase Cinema De Lux at Patriots Place in Foxboro.