Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gatsby a Hit, the Hangover III a Miss

Making this summer's long list of much anticipated movies include the much talked about Baz Luhrmann film adaptation of The Great Gatsby and the 3rd installment of the comedy the Hangover. Both films were expected to bring in big numbers for this summer and were on my list of must sees for this season.

One of the the few books I actually enjoyed reading in my high school English class was F. Scott's Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, so when I saw last year it was going to be made into a Hollywood film...and starring some of my favorite actors, I couldn't wait for its release! Surprisingly, director Baz Luhrman's over the top style and amazing use of color only enhanced Fitzgerald's classic story, not once taking away from the original book's story line. Luhrmann's approach to the story was very refreshing in that he never veered too far off from Fitzgerald's words (something few film adaptations have done in the past.) The book held its own on the big screen aside from the lavish, jaw-dropping visuals. The film also had solid performances by Leonardo DiCaprio who played the main character, Jay Gatsby. However, with any movie that DiCaprio's character speaks with an accent, I always find myself cringing because each line sounds like a different dialect. In Gatsby, his accent's origins are just as questionable, a far cry from the foreign actresses who did have accents (Carey Mulligan and Isla Fisher) were able to carry out their lines in a very believable American accent.

Where Gatsby surprised, the Hangover part III disappointed. I'm ashamed to say I never got around to watching the sequel, Hangover II, but was told from many who did that if you had watched the first Hangover it wasn't necessary to see the second. Now that the third one was released I was curious to see if the film that had me laughing for days after I left the theater would have the same effect on its 3rd installment. With the start of the opening scene of Ken Jung's character, Chao, escaping a prison (which I safely assumed he ended up there from the 2nd Hangover) I was almost sure this movie was going to be non stop laughs. But only about 20 minutes in and only a few laughs brought from the overweight man-child Alan (played by the hilarious Zach Galifianakis) the story took a predictable turn when they began a road trip and the laughs quickly subsided. If they said the Hangover 2 was basically the Hangover in a different location, then the Hangover 3 was the Hangover and Hangover 2 in some of the same locations. The shock value that the original movie had is something that could never be matched in its sequels and the box office sales will surely reflect that. Hopefully this will be the last of the Hangover movies... (even though the ending was perfectly set up for a 4th).

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