Well, yes, that's the common interpretation. The sci-fi thing was just a throw-in, though it does illustrated a related point. The larger point was that, unless you have a very narrow definition of "period piece" (and I'm not sure what the definition would be), "period" is one of the things the movies love to do.

@ miguel cervantes:
Not sure how you define "period piece." If you look at the Best Pictures and nominees for the last 10 years, you'll see numerous historical subjects, and most science fiction films are period pieces about the future.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Award_for_Best_Picture#2000s

@ Scott Miller:
Yes, but what I wouldn't trust is Cameron's willingness to let the literary dominate the cinematic at any point. Very high odds he'd junk most of the dialogue in favor of something that sounded kind of old...

"Do the Heavens yet hate thee that thou canst not go mad? In no paradise myself I am impatient at all misery of others that is not mad."

would probably turn into

"I've got my own problems."

Scott Miller wrote:

Any movie that starts with “Nature Boy” can’t be “nauseating.”

Sure it can. Nausea tends to be cumulative, and the whole approach of MR was to take something that might stand alright on its own (a passage from a silly love song) and cram it together with something similar (another passage), then add more, and more - and not all of it great - though there were also peak moments, gloop stacked on crud stacked on bleh, that were also nausea-inducing in themselves.

I'd say on balance that Luhrmann's pretty horrible. The kitsch-hop approach was a little more justifiable for R+J cuz it's about young love. MR was, I thought, nauseating. AUSTRALIA kind of worked in a self-consciously old-fashioned and unpretentious way. Don't know why Michael Bay or Jon Favreau isn't trying THE GREAT GATSBY instead. Then Zach Snyder could try LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT.

On the other hand, I confess I might be kind of interested if James Cameron tried MOBY DICK.

@ fuster:
Never sat through all of GONY - watched pieces I didn't find compelling enough, though were memorable for scenic detail. What he did worked well enough for me in BODY OF LIES, BLOOD DIAMOND, THE DEPARTED, INCEPTION, and TITANIC. Never saw several other of his big films. Am not saying he's my absofave, that I want to have his baby, that I'd go see a movie just cuz he's in it.

I'd rather see Gatsby played by the Great Dane from MARMADUKE.

fuster wrote:

No? What could be better than to enlist the incredible acting skills of Leonardo DeCaprio as GatsbY?

Nuclear destruction of all major population centers worldwide comes to mind. And I say that as kind of a DiCaprio fan.