I don’t know about you, Bettys, but I’m a sucker for behind-the-scenes videos, especially when it comes to visual effects. My latest obsession? A look at what went into creating the stunning landscape of The Great Gatsby, from Jay Gatsby’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) West Egg mansion all the way to the “valley of ashes” between West Egg and New York City.
Gatsby’s visual effects supervisor, Chris Godfrey, recently posted the film’s “befores and afters” reel on his Vimeo channel (with director Baz Lurhmann’s permission, of course)—and it’s really quite eye-opening. How much of the landscape did you think was real? How much did you think was accomplished with blue and green screens? Take a look here and find out!
Pretty amazing, no? I feel like I really shouldn’t be surprised that so much of Gatsby was CGI; Luhrmann’s MO is opulent, lush visuals, and without the judicious use of computers, there’s no way he would be able to accomplish the style for which he’s known—it would simply be too expensive. But when you stop to think about it, it’s really quite astonishing what movie magic can do these days, isn’t it?
I remember feeling this blown away by the Game of Thrones visual effects reel that made the rounds after the conclusion of season one, too—and, of course, by the entirety of The Lord of the Rings when it was first released over ten years ago. There are loads of CGI-saturated films and television shows out there, but the most successful ones are the ones that blend enough real, practical pieces with all the computer-generated stuff to make it believable. When you can’t tell where the line between the practical pieces and the CGI ones is… well, that’s how you know they’ve done it right.
Oh, and for the curious, the music in the background is Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful.” Just FYI.
Tell us: Were you surprised by the amount of CGI used in The Great Gatsby?
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.