DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

The Great Gatsby (2013): Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Review

The Great Gatsby (2013) movie poster The Great Gatsby

Theatrical Release: May 10, 2013 / Running Time: 142 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Baz Luhrmann / Writers: F. Scott Fitzgerald (novel); Baz Luhrmann, Craig Pearce (screenplay)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (Jay Gatsby), Tobey Maguire (Nick Carraway), Carey Mulligan (Daisy Buchanan), Joel Edgerton (Tom Buchanan), Isla Fisher (Myrtle Wilson), Jason Clarke (George B. Wilson), Elizabeth Debicki (Jordan Baker), Jack Thompson (Dr. Walter Perkins), Amitabh Bachchan (Meyer Wolfsheim), Richard Carter (Herzog), Adelaide Clemens (Catherine), Callan McAuliffe (Teen Jay Gatsby), Steve Bisley (Dan Cody), Brendan Maclean (Ewing Klipspringer), Felix Williamson (Henrí), Eden Falk (Chester McKee)
The Great Gatsby is one of DVDizzy.com's Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).The Great Gatsby ranks 57th in our list of the Top 100 Movies of the Half-Decade (2010-2014).

Buy The Great Gatsby from Amazon.com: Blu-ray ComboTwo-Disc Special Edition DVDBlu-ray 3D ComboInstant Video

The last time Leonardo DiCaprio and director Baz Luhrmann teamed up to adapt one of the English language's most celebrated stories was in 1996's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. DiCaprio was not yet the global icon that Titanic would make him.
Luhrmann's reputation as a respected artist had yet to be cemented by Moulin Rouge! The film shared multiplexes with the likes of Space Jam, Jingle All the Way, and the Bill Murray cross-country elephant comedy Larger Than Life.

Seventeen years later and a few months after originally planned, DiCaprio and Luhrmann's reunion arrived in The Great Gatsby. Much has changed in all that time. DiCaprio, now 38, has bucked the traditional heartthrob career arc and remained as relevant as any movie star by smartly limiting himself to work with revered filmmakers, most frequently Martin Scorsese. Luhrmann, 50, has been scarce, with Australia being his only feature film of the past ten years. And yet, the director's tastes and sensibilities have remained constant, rendering his Gatsby quite what you'd expect from the director of Moulin Rouge! That may be music to the ears of fans who have seen more musicals since but nothing quite like that lavish 2001 production. On the other hand, disappointment may be in store for those wishing to see some growth and evolution from the distinctive Luhrmann or simply a more faithful adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's most exalted novel.

An invented frame story sees Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) revisiting his experiences from the summer of 1922 to a sanitarium shrink. Carey Mulligan plays Daisy Buchanan, Nick's cousin and the object of Gatsby's affections.

Luhrmann and his regular co-writer Craig Pearce invent a frame story that sees protagonist Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), a Wall Street bond salesman, channeling his writing ambitions and exorcising the demons of his recent dramatic experiences per a sanitarium psychiatrist's advice. The unnecessary device turns Carraway into a Fitzgerald who's highly reminiscent of Ewan McGregor's protagonist in Luhrmann and Pearce's last warmly-received collaboration. The film gladly picks up when it comes to telling us all about that fateful summer of 1922.

Nick is renting a small groundskeeper's cottage among the nouveau riche inhabitants of Long Island's West Egg, right next to the extraordinary mansion of the mysterious multi-millionaire Jay Gatsby. Gatsby's residence houses the most decadent parties imaginable every weekend, which hordes of wealthy and important people attend religiously. Few of them have met or even seen Gatsby, prompting them to speculate on the more salacious rumors about him being a war hero, a spy, or a murderer. Nick is the recipient of a rare invitation to one of Gatsby's spectacles and eventually gets face time with the enigmatic, larger than life, younger than expected host (DiCaprio).

Gatsby is cordial to Nick, frequently addressing him and others as "old sport." Mystery continues to swirl around Gatsby regarding his wealth and the business that has him whisked away to answer phone calls from other major American metropolises. But Gatsby does illuminate the motives behind his neighborly gestures, explaining his unique, historical interest in Nick's cousin, Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Daisy is married to Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton), a polo-playing, Yale-educated big shot who provides for her with his old money at an East Egg mansion, directly across the bay from Gatsby, while dabbling in philandery with Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher), a garage owner's wife.

With some reservation, Nick agrees to arrange a surprise reunion between Daisy and Gatsby, creating a complicated love triangle destined for tragedy.

Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), the enigmatic millionaire next door, gets caught in the rain on the afternoon he is to see Daisy for the first time in years.

With Luhrmann at the helm and a $127 million production budget reportedly exceeded, you can be sure that The Great Gatsby looks amazing. The director applies his signature flair to 1920s New York, without leaving his native Australia. The director's comfort and skill in blending computer-generated imagery with real sets is evident and the results are usually appealing,
occasionally breathtaking, and once in a while disagreeably artificial. The glamour of the period and the opulence of Gatsby give Luhrmann license to indulge in his theatrical sensibilities and in 3D, a format you expect he would have embraced long ago had it been feasible. Doing justice to the party atmosphere of dancing ladies, flowing champagne, and fireworks clearly ranks highly on Luhrmann's priority list.

Because the director likes to put existing pop songs to new use, the soundtrack, executive-produced by Jay-Z, features an eclectic blend of remixes, covers, and curiosities, with performances from Beyoncé and OutKast's André 3000 (putting their spin on an Amy Winehouse song), Scottish R &B singer Emeli Sandé (putting an orchestral spin on a Beyoncé song), and Jay-Z himself. There are also original songs performed by Lana Del Rey and Florence and the Machine, which could gain Luhrmann admittance to an Oscar category that has previously eluded him on technicalities.

Such bold creative choices are likely to divide viewers, few of whom would deem them perfectly suited to Fitzgerald's tale. Nonetheless, that style and Luhrmann's curious fixations on a fire escape trumpeter and dancing girls' navels never derail that story, which has often been held up as one of the finest in American literature. So much of the story's appeal is in the set-up and rich atmosphere -- the establishment of Gatsby as this intriguing puzzle and Nick as his wide-eyed, unlikely friend -- that scenes of significance and characters of substance are few in number. That serves to heighten the impact of pivotal well-executed moments, like an uncomfortable exchange in a sweltering Manhattan hotel and Nick's debaucherous outing with Tom. Save for the questionable frame story, the film gives no more or less than is needed to make this drama resonate. Though it runs well over two hours, it never lags or gets off track. The glimpses of peripheral characters (lady golfer Jordan Baker, the 1919 World Series fixer Meyer Wolfsheim) add flavor and personality without us wishing we got more of them. Even the star-crossed romance of Gatsby and Daisy, on which so much of the film hangs, is fine being left largely to the imagination instead of being subjected to small talk and sentimentality.

The Great Gatsby is Luhrmann's best film to date and he makes a better case for adapting the novel than expected, but as many viewers will likely hate it as love it and are sure to let you know that in the countless online venues in which they can voice their opinion. Somewhat surprisingly, critics were divided right down the middle.

Sweat flows and tension boils on the sweltering day when Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton) and company get a room at the Plaza Hotel. Mechanic's wife Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher) is Tom's mistress.

Originally intended to open on Christmas Day last year, the film was delayed to allow time to complete and fine-tune editing, visual effects, and music. Debuting instead on the Friday between Iron Man 3 and the new Star Trek movie, Gatsby felt out of place as unusually mature and substantial storytelling that nonetheless carries the high commercial expectations of such big-budgeted fare. Given the underperformers that opened on the same second weekend in past Mays (Dark Shadows, Robin Hood, Speed Racer), Gatsby seemed likely to flop. But it did not, grossing $145 million domestically (just a shade under all of Luhrmann's previous films combined) and another $186 M from more 3D-crazy parts of the world. Those numbers were enough to make Gatsby a decent-sized hit and one Warner Bros. Pictures could certainly use after a winter of disappointments.

What remains to be seen is whether the Academy Awards can defy their historically limited memory to include this in the technical categories for which it warrants obvious consideration. As of right now, I like the film's chances for landing nominations in costume design and production design, but we've yet to enter into end of the year when the strongest contenders emerge. Gatsby will have the benefit of public awareness, as many people will have seen this in theaters or, starting Tuesday, on DVD and Blu-ray by the time that prestige-driven pictures are just beginning to roll out.

The Great Gatsby (2013): Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Combo Pack cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray & DVD Details

2.40:1 Widescreen (DVD Anamorphic)
Blu-ray: 5.1 DTS-HD MA (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, Spanish, Portuguese)
DVD: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish; BD-only: Portuguese
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Suggested Retail Price: $35.99
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (BD-50 & DVD-9)
Blue Eco-Friendly Keepcase in Embossed Cardboard Slipcover
Also available as Two-Disc Special Edition DVD ($28.98 SRP), Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack ($44.95 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


The Great Gatsby sports a warm, sharp, and colorful picture on Blu-ray. The 2.40:1 transfer has a digital appearance at times, rendering certain visuals more artificial than you'd like. For the most part, though, it is a stunning showcase for the kind of opulence expected of a Luhrmann adaptation. Even the busiest frames hold up and manage to avoid artifacting under all but the closest scrutiny.

The 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is highly active and engaging, enveloping you with everything from bursts of music and fireworks to chirping crickets in a quiet night scene. This pleasing presentation leaves little room for improvement on this format.

Writer/director/producer Baz Luhrmann has much to say in the bonus features, starting with "The Greatness of 'Gatsby.'" In costume but not so in character, Tobey Maguire talks with Elizabeth Debicki in "Within and Without with Tobey Maguire."


On Blu-ray, The Great Gatsby is treated to bonus features that are many in number and plenty substantial, but they're not the most remarkable. None of them utilize the format's exclusive technologies or can be genuinely classified as anything but a featurette. Perhaps unsurprisingly, writer/director/producer Baz Luhrmann is all over these extras, even interrupting the few deleted scenes repeatedly to inject his thoughts.

First up, "The Greatness of Gatsby" (9:14) explains the origins of the film, with Luhrmann recounting Fitzgerald's novel
being one of two books on tape he had with him on a Trans-Siberian train ride. A tad silly and offbeat, this piece amuses as it gets into the director staging a pivotal scene with his assistants and proceeding to workshop with DiCaprio and Maguire.

"Within and Without with Tobey Maguire" (8:41) also has some distinctive personality as it allows Maguire to host an in-costume, sometimes in-character behind-the-scenes, interviewing co-stars and crew members on the predominantly blue or green screen sets.

"The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby" (12:17) allows Luhrmann a forum for defending his unusual creative decision to enlist Jay Z for a hip hop rendition of jazz. This featurette also collects thoughts on other aspects of the score and original songs, with acts like The xx and Florence Welch weighing in.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, wife Zelda, and their New York City are the focuses of "The Jazz Age." Day suits, a staple of 1920s menswear, are featured in "Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the '20s."

"The Jazz Age" (15:43) is duller than you'd like it to be. Excerpting a PBS New York documentary and Fitzgerald's own words, the piece considers the era of Gatsby in terms of jazz, the stock market crash, and the New York City that F. Scott and his wife Zelda called home. As the only extra about the author, this is a tad disappointing.

"Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the '20s" (16:22) addresses the flashy period clothing mainly in terms of acknowledging and justifying the film's corporate partners, who include Brooks Brothers, Prada, Tiffany and Co., and Fogal hosiery. Discussions of character looks complement the strategic collaboration talk.

"Fitzgerald's Visual Poetry" (6:55) explains the film's use of a "poetic glue" device, from the invented frame story to using optical effects to display the author's words creatively on screen to even having Nick move from hand-written manuscript to typewriting in a manner consistent with Fitzgerald's process.

One man in a bright green body suit and another steering a motorcycle from below. Just another day on a Bazmark set. Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) holds an umbrella for Jay Gatsby's father in this deleted/extended "alternate" ending drawn from Fitzgerald's novel.

Five "Gatsby Revealed" shorts make up for the lack of audio commentary or a Maximum Movie Mode. They consider and dissect the following standout scenes: Gatsby's huge, flashy party (7:12), Jay and Nick's fast car ride (4:53), Gatsby and Daisy's meeting (7:49) shot in the midst of relentless rain, the Plaza confrontation (4:26), and the pool scene (5:47). Showing us some behind-the-scenes, rehearsal, and workshop footage, these also gather remarks from Luhrmann, cast and crew.

A group of roughly five deleted scenes (given three chapters/listings) runs 14 minutes and 24 seconds with collective and individual introductions from Luhrmann. Most intended for the films' latter parts, one gives a little closure to Nick and Jordan, another presents a short Nick and Gatsby exchange at the Buchanan house, and an extended alternate ending features Gatsby's father and has Tom and Nick cross paths. Par for the course, these are fun to see, but certainly not missed from the final film.

The eyes of The Great Gatsby's iconic cover illustration feature in this trailer for the 1926 silent film adaptation. And again on the Blu-ray and DVD's main menu, which places the optometrist's billboard behind Gatsby and Daisy.

Last but not least, we get a nifty trailer (1:05, the BD's only standard def feature) for the first film adaptation of The Great Gatsby,
a 1926 Paramount silent considered lost. It's interesting how this looks more like any old silent film than Gatsby. Nonetheless, I'd like to think that if it remained in existence that Warner would have included the whole thing. Sadly, Lurhmann's Gatsby has none of its trailers preserved, prompting those who enjoyed its use of Filter's "Happy Together" cover to look to other Warner Blu-rays from earlier this year.

The DVD included here appears to be identical to the first disc in Warner's concurrent Two-Disc Special Edition. At a time when other studios are giving DVD customers less and less (a trend Warner certainly contributed heavily to), the studio is trying a different strategy this fall of offering two-disc, extra-heavy DVDs for movies like this, Man of Steel, and Pacific Rim at their long standard new film DVD list price of $28.98. I think it's an admirable move and one likely to help business and increase customer satisfaction. At the same time, it's probably too little, too late in terms of reclaiming those who gave up DVD after studios began treating that still widely preferred format like a third-class product. The downside to that design is that the DVD here is completely void of extras save for disc-opening trailers, although there's room for some. If the packaging is accurate, the bonus disc of the two-disc DVD includes all of the supplements of this Blu-ray edition.

The Blu-ray opens with a Blu-ray 3D promo and Gravity trailer. The DVD's longer reel discourages smoking and promotes 42, Gravity, UltraViolet, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Prisoners.

The main menu plays score over an image adapted from a wide poster design, featuring Gatsby and Daisy next to the omnispective billboard eyes of Doctor T.J. Eckleburg. The Blu-ray doesn't do bookmarks, but it does manage to resume playback, so long as you weren't just looking at the menu.

The standard eco-friendly blue keepcase is topped by a nicely embossed and glossy slipcover that matches the artwork below but differs from the other editions (a two-disc DVD and the Blu-ray 3D Combo). The only insert is a single-sided sheet supplying your unique code for an UltraViolet stream of the film, which you have two years to redeem.

Nick (Tobey Maguire), Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and Tom (Joel Edgerton) take in the sights and sounds of one of Gatsby's spectacular parties in Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" (2013).


The Great Gatsby meets one's expectations for a 3D Baz Luhrmann adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. The director's brand of opulence is surprisingly not at odds with the rich source text. The result is a lavish yet substantial and eminently watchable filming of an enchanting epochal drama. The year is still young, but this is destined to go down as one of its best films.

Warner's Blu-ray combo pack delivers an outstanding presentation of the film plus a meaty, though standard two hours of bonus features. It's a set I can easily recommend to anyone who hasn't been completely turned off by Luhrmann's previous works.

Support this site when you buy The Great Gatsby now from Amazon.com:
Blu-ray + DVD / Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD / 2-Disc Special Edition DVD / Instant Video

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
Directed by Baz Luhrmann: Strictly BallroomAustralia | F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonMidnight in Paris
Leonardo DiCaprio: Catch Me If You CanTitanicRevolutionary RoadJ. EdgarMarvin's Room | Tobey Maguire: The DetailsSpider-Man
Carey Mulligan: An EducationDrive | Joel Edgerton: Animal KingdomKinky BootsThe Odd Life of Timothy Green
Isla Fisher: Confessions of a Shopaholic | Jason Clarke: Zero Dark ThirtyLawless | 1920s: WingsChicago
New: AmourKon-TikiCavalcadeThe SapphiresWhat Maisie KnewEpic

DVDizzy.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | New and Upcoming DVD & Blu-ray Schedule | Upcoming Cover Art | Search This Site

Search This Site:

DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed August 23, 2013.

Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, A&E Television, Bazmark, Red Wagon Entertainment, and Warner Home Video.
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.