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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 December 2012
It is hard to "give away the plot" of such a well-known Dickens classic but for those who do not know it I shall limit myself to the following: as a small boy, the orphan Pip is terrified by an escaped convict into smuggling him food and a file; the eccentric Miss Havisham summons Pip to her gloomy mansion as a playmate for her beautiful but cold adopted daughter Estella, whom she has brought up to break men's hearts; made dissatisfied with his humble lot through his contact with Estella, Pip is delighted to learn that he has "great expectations", a fortune from an anonymous benefactor and so can escape to a new life in London.

The film is true to the original novel in its main points, and is visually striking, in particular the scenes of the desolate Kentish marshes by the Thames where Pip's uncle runs a smithy, and the vivid contrast of London in all its grimy vibrancy. There is excellent acting from Ralph Fiennes, who conveys a sense of the convict's violence, but also his worthy aspirations and dignity. Jason Flemyng is effective as the simple but honest, decent and stoical blacksmith Jo Gargery, and Robbie Coltrane is suitably brisk and cynical as the lawyer Jaggers, who keeps dark secrets close to his chest. Jeremy Irvine makes a sensitive and sympathetic handsome hero, showing Pip's development in the difficult process of becoming a gentleman and coping with the source of his wealth. I was left unsure how convinced I was by either Miss Havisham or Estella: the problem is that the former is deranged and the latter is meant to have a heart of ice. Some of the minor characters failed to engage me. Pip's rival Bentley Drummle resembled an Elvis-lookalike bad lot out of the wrong age.

Stripped of Dickensian language, the plot is inevitably very contrived, and riddled with unlikely coincidences. The direction seemed a little rushed and unclear in places. Yet, overall, the film tells a good yarn, and is genuinely moving at times in exploring issues of class, revenge and the complexity of human nature.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Yes wrong film, I know, but the right dream weaver. This is the latest adaptation of Charles Dickens timeless classic. It is the story of orphaned young Pip, who has been `hand reared' by his far from doting sister and her brow beaten but kindly, blacksmith husband , Joe Gargery (Jason Flemyng `I Give it a year' and `Snatch'). He helps an escaped convict on the fens one Magwitch (Ralph Fiennes) who is soon apprehended. Fortune smiles on him though after entertaining the local eccentric (that means rich and mental) Lady of the Manor the inimitable Miss Havisham - Helena Bonham-Carter.

That `fortune' is the news that he is to be made into a `gentleman' and go off to London to learn how to loaf about the place, being of absolutely no practical use to society, but also be able to spend great wads of cash with the ease of an incontinent passing water and he takes to being a profligate toff like a tramp to park benches. This he manages with the help of a portly lawyer, Mr Jaggers in the shape of Hogwarts beard specialist, Robbie Coltrane. This being Dickens though, we all know that tragedy, joy and ridiculous coincidences are never too far away.

This is the ninth adaptation of the classic novel, the first being 1934, the best being David Lean's version from 1946, with four made for television efforts, so it does beg the question, why make it again especially as one was made in 2011? I think the answer is this will go down a treat at Christmas and can be presented as a `new' adaptation with an `all star cast'. This is a new adaptation as the Bentley Drummle character and `the Finches' get a lot of prominence and Miss Havisham is played down, in my opinion a bit too much. When Bonham-Carter says `mice have nibbled at this fare and sharper teeth than theirs have nibbled at my heart', she does it almost as a throw away line whereas it is central to her character (apologies if that is slightly mis-quoted).

It is however, stylish and makes good use of colour to give it a feeling of authenticity, spot the filthy streets of London and the mud spattered coach; you can almost smell the Victorian miasma, as they used to refer to the stench from the open sewer that was the Thames. The make up and costumes are all sumptuous though, as indeed they should be as this is essentially a costume drama. This then is a well made, well presented and on the whole well `over' acted, when it needs to be, production of a much loved classic and was really very engaging, I still prefer the David Lean one, but this does hold a light to it, and is one of the better adaptations. There have been allegations that too much is left out because of time constraints, which is true, but judging this as a film adaptation, it comes out rather well and proved to be highly watchable indeed.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had great expectations of this film, but I'm sorry to say that it failed to grip me from the start - the initial scenes felt all too familiar and I had rather expected with such a great cast that they had been excited by something new and exciting.

Helena Bonham Carter is in my opinion a wonderful, talented actress, but in my opinion she seems to have misjudged the character of Miss Havisham - I liked that she wanted to embrace the unhinged mad element - but she seemed to play this side of the character to the exclusion of all the other dimensions, forgetting the cold, steely edge, the sharp and bitter reflections of her pain and as such she seemed rather too likeable.

I thought that the portrayal of Estella was rather too transparent throughout the film in terms her affection for Pip - I have always thought that the character of Estella was so hardened by the years of indoctrination by Miss Havisham to be cold and "heartless" that she was virtually incapable of anything compassion or love and that it was a real conflict for her in her relationship with Pip - but in this version it seemed all too easy for Estella to bestow her affection on Pip throughout and there seemed to be little struggle and her feelings seemed to be quite clear even early on.

I liked Robbie Coltrane as Jaggers, Ralph Fiennes was transformed in the role of Magwitch and played it well, but my quibble would be that he wasn't all that menacing at any point, which I should be something that underpins the early part of his relationship with Pip and was slightly lacking here. I thought that the actor playing Joe did so very effectively and as for the leading character, Pip - he was a slow-burner, starting slowly, but he grew into the role, improving throughout. I think that many of the cast will be disappointed with the end product as there were elements of great performances from many of the cast, but it just didn't quite gel together in the way in which, I imagine, it was intended.

Overall I think that the film felt as if it was a bit hasty - some moments were a quite rushed and therefore I simply wasn't drawn in by them and I felt that the harder edges of emotion were all a bit muted. The cinematography was good - but I think the direction was a bit weak and the ending was certainly half-hearted.

The film is quite pleasant to watch, but perhaps watch it with low expectations and you won't be as disappointed as I was by the end.
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on 22 January 2013
I was very disappointed in this. As I watched, I realised that many of the settings, and indeed sets, were the same as those in the BBC production with Charlotte Rampling, which I believe is the best. It was as if they used that version as a model, so why bother? Actor for actor, the previous GE was far superior. As one example, Robbie Coltrane as Jaggers carried no menace at all. For another, why did Helena B C play Miss Havisham for laughs? There was guffawing in the cinema. By the end I didn't care if Pip got off with Estella!
My advice, get the BBC version. It is longer and does not rush, or mangle, the story.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 30 April 2013
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Has strange "Downton Abbey" feel to it. Beautifully shot, famous faces, but somehow shallow and not quite "serious" enough.

It's a little rushed, cramming so much of the book into less than two hours, hence the lack of development and depth.

For an alternative, look to the BBC's 1999 version Charles Dickens Collection (Repackaged) [DVD] or Great Expectations - BBC [1999] [Dutch Import] (the latter has Dutch subtitles, so need to fiddle with the remote to remove).
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on 4 August 2013
I enjoyed this! Ive got most versions since the 1946 David Lean masterpiece. This isn't the best, nor the worst. For those wanting the Dickens dialogue and characterizations, watch the 1946 version. For those wanting a more colourful adaptation with the obvious addition of sleak and impressive modern technology, watch this!
The BBC 2012 version slightly disappointed me somewhat, but was saved by the superb acting of Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson, both of whom, in my opinion, win against Helen Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes. That said, this story, complete with its obvious bigger budget just edges the two.

Both versions are perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon on the sofa and both can easily be enjoyed again a few weeks later.

The Dickens stories have all been done to death and in doing so, they lose a little more of Dickens with each adaptation. If you can live with that and keep a library of books for the true tales, then these super modern, high tech visual splendours are worthy of a place on your DVD shelf.

There once was an adaptation of this story by the BBC in the late 50's. It ran for about 8 hours and played out every scene from the written book. This and most other adaptations, including the 1946 classic, cram the story into about 2 (3 for the 2012 BBC version). There's always going to be losses! Enjoy this for what it is and don't expect to watch every page of Charles Dickens's work played out on your screen!
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on 27 January 2016
What a wonderful production of Dickens' Great Expectations. We were initially dubious about watching another remake of this classic, but were certainly happy that we decided to purchase it. There are some excellent actors in this film, which we shall certainly want to watch again.
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on 31 July 2013
I have long been a fan of 'Great Expectations' and have been most disappointed by some recent film versions which have, to my mind, unnecessarily altered pivotal aspects of the novel. The BBC effort of a few years ago, for instance, changed the attention-grabbing opening encounter of Pip with the convict beyond recognition.
This is great! Magwitch looms menacingly over Pip, using much of the vital phraseology of the original as he threatens that the 'young man' who is hiding with him will tear out Pip's liver and eat it if he tells anyone about them. Miss Havisham's room is convincingly cobweb-strewn and Helena Bonham Carter's ghostly Miss H fulfils all the criteria of Dickens' original; although her demise later on has a slightly over-manic quality which adds bathos rather than pathos.
The casting is excellent throughout; and Pip's mental anguish as he realises how his innate snobbishness has coloured his judgement of people is well portrayed. If you like Dickens, you'll love this. The best adaptation since David Lean!
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on 9 December 2013
Bought from Amazon. Arrived Quickly. Good visual quality.

This review is to help deaf customers initially, a later review, regarding the film content will follow, with additional star if appropriate.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's always going to be hard to cram everything in Great Expectations into a single cinema length film, and this film certainly suffers to a degree because of that. I also feel that it is important to have the right cast as the book brings a certain set of expectations from the audience (I know that you have to seperate the two, but it is impossible with a work as weighty as this one) and I think some of the casting was a bit odd. Helena Bonham Carter is a fine actress, and whilst she does a decent job she isn't Dickens's Miss Havisham, if you can get away from that then she does play for black comedy. Robbie Coltrane also isn't Dickins's Jaggers, which given what he was like in Cracker I felt was a bit odd and must have come from the director, the sense of menace just isn't there, although again his acting is fine. Ralph Fiennes was great as Magwitch however.

Obviously there is only time to cover the major plot points of the main story and these are dutify picked off. The lack of time does come at the cost of character development and some of the characters have so little screen time that it is impossible for them to flesh out their part. As a standalone film, if you haven't read the book then it is perfectly fine, but if you have read it then it is a bit shallow.
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