DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

The Great Gatsby, Blu-ray 3D+2D Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy (2013)

Fantastic updating of the Gatsby story with great 3D effects, but more style than substance.

Published on September 10, 2013

The Great Gatsby, Blu-ray 3D+2D Blu-ray+DVD+Digital Copy (2013)

The Great Gatsby, Blu-ray 3D+2D Blu-ray+DVD+UV Digital Copy (2013)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Studio: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment  [8/27/13]
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic/enhanced 1080p HD 3D
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French, Spanish, Portuguese DD 5.1Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: (2D Blu-ray): Seven featurettes (“The Greatness of Gatsby”, “Within and Without” with Tobey Maguire; “The Jazz Age”, “Razzle Dazzle: The Fashion of the ‘20s”, “Fitzgeralds’ Visual Poetry”, “The Swinging Sounds of Gatsby” and “Gatsby Revealed”); Deleted scenes and alternate ending; 1926 The Great Gatsby trailer; “Gravity” preview trailer; DVD copy; UltraViolet digital copy
Length: 142 minutes
Movie Rating: ***   3D Rating: ****½  Audio Rating: ****1/2

“The Great Gatsby” takes place in 1922 and follows Yale graduate and aspiring writer, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), as he moves into a small cottage on Long Island.  Nick’s house happens to adjoin the ritzy mansion of mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).  Gatsby is a rarely-seen businessman who hosts many lavish parties that are attended by Hollywood celebrities, sports stars, government officials, businessmen, gangsters and many more.  Gatsby befriends Nick and later requests a single favor of him; that favor being for Nick to arrange a meeting over tea for Gatsby with Nick’s cousin Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan).  Daisy is a wealthy socialite who lives across the lake with her philandering husband Tom (Joel Edgerton).  Gatsby has been in love with Daisy for several years. The meeting then sets off a series of events with disastrous consequences.

Director Baz Luhrmann is renowned for creating visual spectacles in his movies (“Romeo & Juliet”, “Moulin Rouge!”).  “The Great Gatsby” is the latest example of the director’s flair as this is a visually stunning movie to watch.  The soundtrack has its own unexpected twist, as it features contemporary hip-hop music rather than period music.  The movie was met with mixed reviews, but I liked it and applaud Luhrmann’s efforts to contemporize this classic story.  While the movie ends up being more style than substance, it’s worth checking out nonetheless.  Recommended.

The overall high-definition video quality of the 2D Blu-ray presentation is excellent.  Images are pristine with razor-sharp detail.  Black levels are consistently lush and dark throughout the movie.  Colors are vibrant and robust with fully-saturated hues.  Picture defect mastering is solid with no major flaws or compression artifacts.  The 3D video was shot in native 3D.  Colors and black levels exhibit the same excellent qualities present in the 2D version.  Separation, dimensionality and depth of the 3D image are equally impressive.  There are a handful of pop-out effects that appear to extend beyond the screen (such as raindrops, snowflakes, and multiple confetti moments, etc.), but the 3D focuses more on the inward-looking effect than outward-extending.

The overall audio quality is also excellent with the English DTS HD-MA 5.1 track serving as the basis for this review.  The soundtrack is dynamic and makes nice use of all of the discrete channels.  Dialogue is crisp, intelligible and properly positioned among the forward channels.  The surround channels are actively utilized for the sound effects and music score, plus include a handful of split rear effects and directional pans.  The low frequency effects channel has both punch and power.

[I don’t know why Calvin didn’t experience this problem, but I found the 3D image to be originally terrible, with all the backgrounds coming forward of the actors on the screen. I had to dig deeply into my display’s settings to finally locate a Normal/Swapped option, which I switched to Swapped. Then the 3D looked normal. Each time the disc was ejected and then inserted again that setting had to be selected once again…Ed.]

—Calvin Harding Jr.

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