Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars133
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
Price:£5.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

It's a great story, and the adaptation is passable, but this isn't in the same class as the adaptations of "Bleak House" from 2005 and 1985, with Gillian Anderson and Diana Rigg respectively. "Great Expectations" is a shorter novel, but this version, at 3 hours (3 hourly episodes), seems too short, especially in the last two episodes, which seem rushed and a bit perfunctory in their treatment of plot. The pacing of the first episode -- to the point where Pip leaves for London -- seems right, and it's partly because of what we see of life with the Gargerys there that makes us feel the relative absence of them from the later episodes. Pip's relation, while in London, to Joe and his old life doesn't get the weight it should. Also, there's no Aged Parent, no Wopsles, no Biddy, and the ending is far too neatly wrapped up -- no eleven years in Cairo with the Pockets here, and the resolution is too easily achieved, and to that extent very different from either of Dickens's endings. In short, I'm not sure we're convinced of the purgatorial fires that Pip and Estella have been through. Also, I think more effort should have been made to preserve Dickens's language or a reasonable facsimile thereof. And I don't remember in the novel Estella saying "Thank you" to the horse that kills Bentley Drummle, and a don't remember the cute wading in the pond and that first kiss (because it wasn't there!). I did like the oddly filtered camera work, very sharp, and poised between color and black-and-white. That is especially effective in Satis House (Miss Havisham's home) and on the marshes of the opening scenes. The London exterior scenes were fine, well up to BBC standard for such things. I always wonder -- do they close down whole streets for the shoot so that people can go around in crinolines and coaches can drive by?

The casting was uneven. Douglas Booth and Vanessa Kirby looked good as Pip and Estella, but they lacked energy and chemistry. They certainly weren't bad -- just a bit pallid. On the other hand, Gillian Anderson was an arresting and self-tormenting Miss Havisham, definitely not always icily in control of herself. Ray Winstone was a dangerous and physically imposing Magwitch, but capable of bringing tenderness and humor to the character too. The lawyer Jaggers, the agent for both Magwitch and Miss Havisham, was well taken by David Suchet and seemed a man almost obsessively uncomfortable with the dirty business of the law but determined not to be broken by it. In smaller parts, Tom Burke was a credibly nasty Drummle (although I don't remember that scene at his "club"), and Harry Lloyd and Perdita Weeks were attractive young Pockets.

All in all, then, a mixed bag. I certainly wasn't sorry to have seen it, but the novel's moral weight doesn't come through, and that's partly the fault of the adapted script and partly a matter of the central young couple not making it quite credible.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 December 2013
This production was originally broadcast by the BBC as a Christmas Treat for its viewers in 2011. Restricted to three episodes because of the time of year, some compression of the plot is inevitable.

My family 'did not like Dickens', so I have never been brought up with him in the way I was with Jane Austen. My impression of Dickens was the groan of my friends who were studying Bleak House for A Level. With the immedicacy of Youth, I wanted shorter plots, not ones that went on for years and years. No Dickens for me then.
So the BBC broadcasts of Dickens' novels have been an eye-opener. My husband and I found this three episode version of Great Expectations entrancing and gripping.

As a former theatrical cosumier I found the production faultless, and the acting superb. I look forward to watching this again and again. The characters have stayed with me; I long to know more about them, so off I shall go to the book. The only thing - much commented on I know - is the casting of Estelle. But better to have an actress who can act, eh? rather than a pretty face that can't. And her casting was plausible when her parents are revealed.

Sarah Phelps, who has written 50 episodes of Eastenders, was an inspired choice to take on the job of writing the screenplay. Already skilled in the art of writing soap opera, she has tackled the task of condensing Dickens admirably.
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 December 2011
Rather surprised at the one-star review already on here (especially as it was posted before the final instalment had been broadcast) so here's a counter-balance. Great Expectations is probably Dickens masterpiece, and this adaptation captures the narrative drive and the anticipated shocks of Magwitch on the marshes, both terrorising Pip and nearly killing the as yet unrevealed Compeyson. A great performance from Ray Winstone. It also retains some of the lightness of touch and comedy of the book, though perhaps not as much as I would have liked, but a big nod to Mark Addy as the pompous Uncle Pumblechook. I don't usually warm to David Suchet, as I find it impossible to disassociate him in my mind (unfortunately) with Hercule Poirot, where he just comes over as smarmy, but here he inhabits the bones of the lawyer Jaggers, who knows everything, but refuses to reveal or clarify, until even he at the end exhibits the human frailty at his core. Gillian Anderson gave a completely different reading to the irresponsible Miss Havisham, playing fey and eerily girlish rather than the more usual jilted Maggie Thatcher lever-puller interpretation, and all the more intriguing for that.

Estella and Pip were played well (especially Vanessa Kirby's Estella) as pawns rather than wholly finished characters with self-determination and a balanced view. Another reviewer complained that Pip, on receiving his inheritance, went to London and became a wastrel and a fop. Er...that's rather one of the points of the book, isn't it, before he redeems himself by coming to care for Magwitch (and cared for in turn by Joe - oddly missed out of this version) and manages to become, along with Estella, a more rounded and compassionate human being.

Too short, of course, could have done with another episode or three, but full marks all the same.
0Comment|44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 31 December 2011
Although I read voraciously and enjoy challenging literature, I find Dickens heavy going generally. I've noticed that, among enthusiastic readers like me, Dickens is like Marmite: you either love it or loath it. I often find his characters too overblown for credibility, sometimes tending (in my view) towards grotesque (though entertaining) caricatures. That said, they are often memorable - and his plots are fascinating.

I studied Great Expectations at school, but I didn't particularly like it. Perhaps that is why I felt free to enjoy this adaptation for what it is: Beautiful and interesting to look at, evocative, and believable (something I have a problem with in the writing).

I don't agree with the negative review(s) of Ray Winstone as Magwitch: Of course he was himself as usual, which itself brings a particular humanity to his roles, but I understood his Magwitch as a fully-rounded comprehensible person. I loved Gillian Anderson as Miss Haversham. I really admire her as an actor generally and, again, felt that she gave a life and a humanity to the character not present, for me, in the book. Jaggers (David Suchet) became authentic for me, as did his relationship with Molly, and I really liked this version of Wemmick (Paul Ritter). I also disagree with criticisms of the adult Estella (Vanessa Kirby) - she, too, was more vivid for me than before - and I felt she was well cast for this version (the character should not, I feel, be constrained by imagining that she would be a conventionally "beautiful" aristocratic type - that was not the character's true background; and she's MEANT to be cold and unsympathetic until near the end, isn't she?). I felt that the whole script worked very well generally, in its own right. I liked that things were added to the book as well as missed from it: The total number of characters in the original story was pared down and I don't think that's a bad thing - what we got instead was greater depth in those remaining - an imaginative but considered take on the story.

I did feel, however, that Douglas Booth was miscast as Pip - mainly because he DOES look like a boringly upper class beauty - probably because that IS his background (where have all these public school kids on the BBC come from in the last 2 years??? I can't imagine). That said, his performance grew on me, probably because he's not a bad actor: Although he didn't look right and the posh accent was a tad too natural for the role, I found myself going along with him anyway.

Two performances I particularly liked (which I don't think other reviewers have mentioned) were those of Oscar Kennedy, as young Pip, and Shaun Dooley, as a very lovable Joe Gargery. Child actors can be awful but Kennedy was great - I could quite see why his young Pip might have inspired Ray Winstone's Magwitch.

All in all, if you're looking for a painstakingly detailed recreation of Dickens' very long book, this probably won't hit the spot - It's not like the BBC's recent adaptation of Bleak House in that sense, which I also loved. It is more comparable with their version of Oliver Twist (with Timothy Spall as Fagin, Tom Hardy as Bill Sykes and Sophie Okonedo as Nancy), which I also enjoyed as a vivid piece of story-telling in its own right.

I advise you not to miss this if you haven't seen it, and to watch it with an open mind.
55 comments|65 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 April 2012
Please be aware that the product is NOT multi-region. It is locked to region A therefore playback in the UK is not possible.
0Comment|10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 April 2012
So many reviews and even the five star ones seem disgruntled.It seems to me a matter of prejudgement.

If you revere Dickens and David Lean dont watch because you will start with all this thats-not-Joe-where's-Biddy stuff. If you are prepared to accept a new take you will enjoy the differences.

I liked this distrait Miss Havisham (who after all was a young bride not long before she took in Estella and is supposed to be wierd and does in fact have at least one foot bare in the book) and found her burning of the letters a magnificently filmed piece of theatre. It made me gasp, which is more than I can say for anything in Downton Abbey for example.

I liked the dim,lost,weak,pin-up Pip. (That is certainly more true to the book than Mill's upbeat good fellow and Estella must have found something to attract her because it wasn't his character).

I liked the beautiful scenery and the sumptuous costumes and the fact that there was a proper plot (coutesy of Mr Dickens of course) which had something interesting to say about human values and emotions.

Above all it was a better entertainment than the Upstairs Downton pap with which we are served in the guise of costume drama for the rest of the time. So I say what larx!
0Comment|3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 November 2012
I suppose you could consider this as 'good' if you don't actually think of it as Dicken's Great Expectations! It's not that the acting is bad or the sets dreadful, but the original story is so lacking and the characters portrayed so differently to the way Dicken's wrote them that the film bears little resemblance to his classic novel! I realise that filmed versions cannot be exactly the same as the written word, but too many liberties were taken here. For instance, Estella - far from coming across as a cold-hearted, unsympathetic woman - is portrayed more as misunderstood and self-pitying!
I don't blame the actors, but one wonders if the director has ever actually read the BOOK!
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 March 2014
Sarah Phelp's new adaptation has sometimes a very poetical and mysterious atmosphere, but without a powerful love story at its heart. Both the actor playing the part of older Pip and the actress playing the part of Estella are not convincing in their roles to me. Mr Douglas Booth seems to me more like a model than a really talented actor for a figure from a Dicken's novel. I like Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson in their roles, but this new BBC adaptation often lacks psychologically truthful dramatic consistency.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 February 2014
Ordered DVD to help my son understand the book as studying it for English very happy indeed came very quickly through the post
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 April 2012
What would I have liked to have known before buying it?
It's a good adaptation, roughly reflecting the original brutal truth of Dickens's story. However, despite top quality acting from Gillian Anderson (in particular)as Miss Haversham and from Ray Winstone as Magwich (a role made for him), the modern sweet and doll like Pip was just too off putting. An important point in the book was that Pip was plain looking and that Estella was way out of his league for that reason as much as of class; trying to make him attractive for a modern (and youthful?)audience has failed miserably. Unfortunately too, the change of ending is just too contrived - and unnecessary (as was the Haversham demise).
That said, it had several very good moments and the three lead actors were all very good. It's certainly watchable (especially if you haven't seen John Mills in the role or enjoyed the book).
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)