Alan Dee’s movie preview: The Great Gatsby, Fast & Furious 6

Yes, I know, I know – it’s a dream team, isn’t it?

Wednesday, 15th May 2013, 10:35 am

Director Baz Luhrmann has the dash and artistic eye to make the most of a story set in the Roaring Twenties. Look at what he did in Moulin Rouge.

Leo DiCaprio can pull off the devilishly handsome but intriguingly mysterious central character – The Aviator proved that.

Tobey Maguire, bless him, knows that he’s not really born to play the matinee idol leading man but he’s ideal as a number two, isn’t he?

And Carey Mulligan is picture perfect as the frail but confoundingly conquering flapper at the centre of the piece.

But do you know what? It’s only another version of The Great Gatsby and I just don’t care.

The book itself should be your first port of call if you want to know what doomed drunkard F. Scott Fitzgerald thought of people who had more money than him. Not a hell of a lot, as it happens.

The 1974 film starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow – but who directed and who took the sidekick role? – was a perfectly respectable telling of the tale.

And for the life of me I can’t see what more is on offer in Baz’s latest offering – it’s not any more elegant, the actors aren’t any more attractive, the soundtrack plinky plonks along in a suitably Jazz Age style, and let’s face it, the first film was the best part of an hour and a half shorter.

All credit to original director Jack ‘Room At The Top’ Clayton for keeping the running time down to a civilised length, apologies to 1974 sidekick Sam Waterston for forgetting him and having to check on IMDB.

And sorry, Baz, you may have weighed in with the screenplay as well but your words don’t hold a candle to the dialogue crafted by a certain F. F. Coppola back in the day.

> However pointless and pedestrian the Great Gatsby may seem, considering the amount of money that’s been chucked at it, it’s a peerless work of cinematic creation compared to the other new release squealing into a multiplex near you this week.

Start your engines and put your foot down if you want to steer clear of Fast and Furious 6, which is like every one of the first five instalments of this gasoline-fuelled franchise.

It’s got Vin Diesel in the driving seat, presumably picked on the basis of his name alone. It’s got lots of cars going very fast and very loud, it’s got dialogue that sounds as if it was hammered together in a backstreet garage and it doesn’t make any sense at all.

But it clearly has an audience, or it wouldn’t have reached Junction 6 in the great movie motorway of meaninglessness.

Any chance Chapter 7 will only feature electric cars going quite slowly and running out of juice at inappropriate moments? Just a suggestion...