‘Gatsby’ beats on, borne ceaselessly into summer 2013

“The Great Gatsby” does not go easily from novel into film — no matter how many times people try — and the latest adaptation, directed by Baz Luhrmann, will not go easily into top awards consideration.

Warner Bros. has moved the latest “Gatsby,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan, from a scheduled Christmas Day opening into summer 2013, citing its box office potential but raising questions about its critical bonafides.

If it’s hard now to resist the idea that the film is more crowd-pleaser than critic-pleaser — not that there’s anything wrong with that (at least if you’re the studio) — WB domestic distribution prexy Dan Fellman aimed to preemptively shoot down the quality control issue today, saying in a statement that “based on what we’ve seen, Baz Luhrmann’s incredible work is all we anticipated and so much more.”

There’s no doubt about the “more.” The trailer for “Gatsby,” frankly, scares me a little. I say that as a fan of Luhrmann’s “Strictly Ballroom,” “Romeo + Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge” but as a bigger fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Gatsby,” a novel that struck me for all its Roarin’ ’20s setting as the antithesis of the bombast you see in the clip above. Of course, the trailer isn’t the movie, but it’s not as if we’re expecting Luhrmann to have a toned-down “Gatsby” to begin with.

Nothing prevents a summer 2013 film from being in contention for best picture in early 2014, but reading between the lines of today’s news, you’ll find reason for skepticism. WB international distribution prexy Veronika Kwan Vandenberg said that “‘Gatsby’ will be the perfect summer movie around the world.” If “perfect summer movie” is a phrase typically used to describe an Oscar finalist, I haven’t seen it before.

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