When comparing the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and the film The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann, the two are similar yet very different. Both great in their own ways. Book worms could argue that the novel is better because the movie gets lost in translation, perhaps that’s not how the author or reader pictured it, there is limited time to tell the story, the script writing may not do the story justice, novels allow the reader to put the story together and the novel stays with you. Where as someone who enjoys movies could argue that it saves time, its environmentally friendly( who wouldn’t want to save a few trees), the movie provides more engaging activity, you always want to watch it again, there is a lot of detail in novels ( some would argue too much), the songs and sound effects add the cherry on top and lastly visualization is much better than imagination. I agree with the movie buffs.
Movies are always best. And in terms of The Great Gatsby here is why…After reading and watching The Great Gatsby I found that firstly I didn’t understand the language while reading it but once I watched it, it all made sense and secondly I found myself wanting to watch the movie again and again and again several times but as for the novel, once was good enough for me. The transformation from novel to movie was amazing on Baz Luhrmann’s part. With the help of music, sound effects, editing, cinematography and the actors, the novel truly came alive. One scene where I as the viewer/ reader saw a difference was in chapter 3. The scene where Nick Carraway was invited to one of Gatsby’s extravagant parties. From the onset of this scene the viewer can see the extravagance of Gatsby’s parties, where groups of people arrive in cars. Different types of people from all walks of life. None of them knowing what Gatsby looks like nor how he has his riches but are there because everybody who is anybody is at the party. The music that is playing is another technique that Lurhmann uses to create the mood. When Nick meets Gatsby he is at a point where he is finally enjoying the party but is yet to know who the host is. And finally Gatsby introduces himself and Luhrmann uses a low angle to show the ‘greatness’ of Gatsby as well as firework sound effects. Another scene where I felt a different emotion to that of the novel was chapter 7. Where Nick, Gatsby, Daisy, Tom, and Jordan are all at the plaza in town on the hottest day of the year.
As the scene begins everyone is sitting around frustrated and sweating from the heat when Tom decides to start asking Gatsby a series of questions, almost interrogating him and Gatsby answers politely while Daisy tries to defend him. Eventually the tension builds and Gatsby provokes Tom by telling that Daisy never loved him which angers Tom. Tom then provokes Gatsby by telling him that he is nothing but a bootlegger who made his money illegally. This sets Gatsby off and he attacks Tom, threatening to punch him. To intensify this scene Lurhmann uses sound effects such as the fans to sound like clocks which indicates Gatsby losing control of time with daisy and inevitably loosing his temper.
There is also a silence placed, after Gatsby and Daisy leave, just before Nick says the he just remembered today is his birthday and Tom replies “well happy birthday”. This emphasizes that everyone is so self absorbed that they could care less abut others. Although I would agree with a book worm to say that novels are solo efforts while films are massive collaborations. To think that one man wrote the whole of The Great Gatsby by himself, and obviously with the help of an editor, is truly amazing. It is quite amazing to read the type of language the author used inorder to create the moods and give us the imagination that is needed to create our own ‘films’ in or minds. Word count: 689
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