The Baz Luhrmann Index: Rating The Great Gatsby Trailer, Among Others

If your your dreams were filled with anachronistic pop songs and gold glitter last night, blame it on Baz Luhrmann. The trailer for his latest film, The Great Gatsby, hit the Internet yesterday like a Rolls Royce hitting Myrtle Wilson (too soon?).

Screen shot from the Great Gatsby trailer, showing the four leads sitting around a table staring outward.
The restlessness approached hysteria?

With its thumping soundtrack, glitz, glamour, tragic romance, and frenzied edits, you'd know this thing was a Luhrmann production from a mile away. And if opinions around the Bitch office are any indicator, you either LOVE it or you LOATHE it. To help you further appreciate (or hatepreciate as the case may be) the Great Gatsby, let's look at the trailers all of Baz Luhrmann's feature-length films (don't worry, there are only five) and rate them using what I'm calling The Luhrmann Index.

The films of BazMark (apparently his given name, which rules) are known for a few things. Among them are, in no particular order: postmodernism, seizure-inducing editing (quick cuts, if you will), lavish costumes, notably anachronistic music, dramatic irony, breathy ingenues, shouting, doomed romance, and what I like to call flash (you might call it pizazz, panache, or bullshit). However, some of them (or rather, their trailers, because that's what we're talking here) are Luhrmannier than others.

So how Luhrmann is Luhrmann? Let's find out!

Strictly Ballroom, 1992

Signature shout: "What is so wrong with the way I dance?!"

Considering this was Le Luhr's first film and therefore probably his lowest budget, he's making it work. Glitter, elaborate movements, and loud exclamations are all present here, but the love story isn't doomed and, honestly, for a Luhrmann production this trailer is a little slow.

Luhrmann Index Rating: 3/5 BazMarks

Romeo + Juliet, 1996

Signature shout: "A plague on both your houses!

Now we're seeing The Full Luhrmann. Dude's got a bigger budget, and he's using it to supply shirtless guys with solid gold guns (damn I love this movie). This trailer is a bit lower in volume—at least for the first half—than some of his other stuff though, and the music (Des'Ree's "Kissing You"), while modern, was written for the movie and thus doesn't work as a pop signifier. What we do have here, though, is a doomed love story with a wide-eyed innocent at its core. The audience knows how this one ends, and it pairs the original text with quasi-modern-day style (helloooo postmodernism) in true Luhrmann fashion.

Luhrmann Index Rating: 4/5 BazMarks

Moulin Rouge!, 2001

Signature shout: "Tell me you don't love me!"

Burlesque! Men in top hats singing Police songs! An innocent in peril! A tragic love story! Neon! A literal red curtain! An exclamation point! The alternate title for this movie could've been That's So BazMark.

Luhrmann Index Rating: 5/5 BazMarks

Australia, 2008

Signature shout: Zzzzzzz...

For a Baz production, this trailer is a total snooze. The music is period-appropriate (ish), the costumes are dusty, and the love story just isn't star-crossed (or compelling) enough. Sure, the scale is epic, and there are some fires and explosions—but where's the glitz and glam? And don't try to tell me you can't do sequins in the desert.

Luhrmann Index Rating: 1/5 BazMarks

The Great Gatsby, 2012

Signature shout: "Get the hell out of here!"

OH SHIT YOU GUYS. Luhrmann in full effect! From the Watch the Throne intro music to Carey Mulligan's sad looks to Leonardo DiCaprio to all gold everything, our boy is back. And to top it off, this one's in 3D!

Luhrmann Index Rating: 5/5 BazMarks

Now that we've positioned The Great Gatsby in the Luhrmann trailer library, are you feeling it or what?

P.S. I wish I'd done everything on earth with you.

by Kelsey Wallace
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11 Comments Have Been Posted

I'm totally down. Confession:

I'm totally down. Confession: I never finished this book. I know that's practically a crime, but whatever, I was bored with it. So I'm seeing this basically for the Luhrmann factor. And as you say, he looks to be in full form! Yay!

Rachel Bilson as Jordan, you feel me?

Respectfully disagree. The Gatsby trailer looks horrible. The casting! Everyone feels like they're overacting -- and not in a good Moulin Rouge "Tra-la-laaa!" sort of way. Was the cast of The O.C. not available? THAT is a Great Gatsby I'd watch.

The O.C. Gatsby

Interesting! Who would you cast as the other characters? Seth is probably Nick, right? Would Ryan be Tom? He's no Gatsby in my opinion, but if Marissa has to be Daisy then maybe Ryan has to be Gatsby? Would things take place in the 1920s or early 2000s (where the cast of the OC lives forever in my mind)? Clearly you need to write this fanfic so I can read it!

who's who?

Oh, no, dude - Gatsby is the rich gazillionnaire with more money than he knows what to do with, Daisy is his spoiled and materialistic (yet immensely vulnerable and eventually sympathetic) wife, and Nick is the oustider observing this strange world, right? That means Julie Cooper is TOTES Daisy. Which makes Gatsby Caleb Nichol. And Nick is Sandy Cohen. Think about it.

...I would definitely see this movie and it would definitely be deliciously bad.


Sandy Cohen makes total sense as Nick. Does that mean Kristen Cohen is Jordan? I'd so watch that movie.

There's just something not

There's just something not right with this. I love the book, and I like Luhrmann's other movies (though I didn't see Australia), but this just looks weird. I'll probably still see it though... Give me Bright Young People any day, though.


This looks interesting... it doesn't feel like the book, but then, I haven't read it in a long time. The costumes and scenes are certainly beautiful. Apparently, Luhrmann will also be adapting "The Master and Margarita" to the screen as well (this is a FANTASTIC novel, and Luhrmann's flamboyant directorial style may be a good match with it).

The Great Gatsby is actually

The Great Gatsby is actually one of my favorite books. It still surprises me how much I love it. I am not happy about their choice of Daisy in the film. Daisy is supposed to be older than she is portrayed here by Mulligan. It probably irritates me because I love Daisy's character so much. Maybe it's also because I really am not a facnof Mulligan either. I am excited to see the film....but nobody is better than Robert Redford as Gatsby.

Oh Baz Luhrmann

Truly, if anyone could make me want to see a film based on a book I loathe to the very core of my being it would be Luhrmann. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person in the world who loves every little thing about each one of his films. It's so nice to know I'm not. I'm actually somewhat excited for this film. Probably precisely because it seems to stray so far from one of the only novels that has ever made me want to set a book on fire. (I might be slightly over exaggerating here a bit but seriously, I hate The Great Gatsby)

Dood. This looks beautiful. I

Dood. This looks beautiful. I haven't read Gatsby since high school, and now I want to immerse myself in it, and all things jazz age. Then go see this movie seven times.

Also you totally made me want to re-watch all the Luhrmann movies you featured here (except Australia, which I haven't seen).

This comment is kind of pointless, other than to say that I don't have any problems with anything I saw in this trailer. I'm not even a huge fan of Di Caprio, but he seems like a good Jay.

This trailer just looks like

This trailer just looks like a Gatsby-inspired vodka commercial and not an actual movie.

(I'm saying this as a Baz Luhrmann fan)

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