(For more complete thoughts on Gatsby 2013, check out this podcast I did with Waiting For Next Year.)
I’ve always felt there are three reasons to remake a movie:
1) Special effects have advanced to the point where it can be a new visual experience.
2) The story can be updated for modern times. (And yes, that means I think a 2015 remake of Back to the Future – my all-time favorite movie – is completely viable.)
3) The previous version didn’t work.
Running The Great Gatsby through the above, one can see that there’s a certain amount of difficulty in remaking a well-worn story that’s largely character and era-based.
Yes, you can make a snazzier version of 1920s New York City now, but it’s not that profound of an improvement – or that necessary to the story – to say the remake (or the new adaptation, rather) is needed.
It’s not like King Kong, where advances in special effects allowed for a wholly new experience. Say what you will about the quality of Peter Jackson’s King Kong, but modern CGI made it worth attempting. Past versions of Kong didn’t look real enough to the modern filmgoer.
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