Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” was met with mixed reviews by early viewers who said while Leonardo DiCaprio delivered a great performance, the rest of the film was lacking.
David Denby from the New Yorker said Luhrmann was “less a filmmaker than a music video director with endless resources and a stunning absence of taste.”
Filmmakers always take a risk when the decision is made to turn a beloved book into a movie.
This can sometimes leave fans with mixed emotions of excitement about a book they like being turned into a film and concern about whether the film will do the book justice.
Some are often skeptical and worry the film will not live up to the expectations of what they envisioned when reading the book themselves.
Jessica Sanchez, a senior graphic design major, said she has learned to not expect much from films inspired by books after the “Twilight” franchise was butchered by bad casting and poor direction.
“I loved the book so much and ever since the movie came out, I have resented the movie industry,” she said. “The acting was what killed it most for me.”
However, Sanchez said she has been pleasantly surprised by some movies inspired by books she has read.
“‘Life of Pi’ was really well done,” she said. “I adored the book and the way I pictured it in my head was beautiful, and when I found out they were making a movie out of the book I was nervous because a lot of books’ movies are not well done.”
Another problem Sanchez said filmmakers run into are time constraints.
“It’s a book and you have to squeeze all these details into a three-hour movie,” she said. “That’s really hard to do, and sometimes the people you picture in your head for the characters for the book don’t match them in the movie at all.”
Some believe when filmmakers take too much creative leeway adapting a book into a movie, it ultimately leaves fans disappointed.
Trey Carpenter, a junior electrical engineering major, said when a fan goes to see a film made out of a book, there are certain things they expect to see in the film.
“I feel like ‘Eragon’ was one of the worst book-to-film adaptations I’ve ever seen,” Carpenter said. “In the way they changed the story overall, the movie wasn’t that bad; but when a fan goes to see a movie based on a book, there are certain scenes we all expect.”
Carpenter said he is excited about the new “Gatsby” film and is looking forward to it.
“It looks like they have done a good job capturing the important elements of the story, the grandeur, the vibrancy and the fast-paced storyline—all leading to what I hope is an excellent movie.”
Ernest Rufleth, an English professor at Tech, said making films from movies is a great idea because stories found in books are usually composed of the best story lines.
“We want to make movies out of these books because they’re great stories,” Rufleth said. “Some who we would call ‘purists’ go to see these films and are disappointed because the movie is not just like the book, and you can’t always expect it to be.”
However, Rufleth said filmmakers need to take the books’ fans into consideration when filming.
“They have to balance the fans’ needs with their desire to make money off the film,” he said.
“Filmmakers need to find the medium to try to keep them both happy.”
Email comments to cls...@latech.edu.