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on 26 January 2016
I think I would watch just about any adaptation of "Great Expectations." It's a great story, and there are so many characters of interest that it's almost inevitable that you'll see some fine performances. There's Alec Guinness, Finlay Currie, and John Mills" in David Lean's 1946 film. There are Ray Winstone as Magwitch and Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham in a 3-part BBC version from 2011, and now there's this Mike Newell film -- coming in at approximately the same length as Lean's -- with Ralph Fiennes (Magwitch) and Helena Bonham-Carter (Miss Havisham). It's not bad at all, it has a pair of young leads who have some chemistry between them, unlike Douglas Booth and Vanessa Kirby in the 2011 version. Pip and Estella as adults are played by Jeremy Irvine and Holliday Grainger respectively, and they do very well. The relationship of Estella to Miss Havisham is very well realized by Grainger and Bonham-Carter. And just as Gillian Anderson's Miss Havisham was memorable in the 2011 series, so is Helena Bonham-Carter's, in a completely different interpretation but one that she makes compelling -- she's much more manipulative, controlled and controlling, and even playful than Gillian Anderson's marvelous self-harming, twitchy wreck. Ralph Fiennes is convincing and powerful as Magwitch, but he's at a disadvantage compared to Ray Winstone in the 2011 series. Simply put, we don't see enough of him after his return from exile. The director Mike Newell brings his movie in at around 2 hours -- the series ran for three, and as a result we get a better feeling for a developing relationship between Pip and Magwitch after the shock of Magwitch's revelation. And Winstone had time to develop Magwitch more fully as a character, and he gave a wonderful portrayal that blended humor and sentiment to an extent that Fiennes doesn't have a chance to do. I should add that Robbie Coltrane is a nasty piece of work as Jaggers, and very effective with it. In 2011, David Suchet's Jaggers, equally effective, was much more sympathetic, more like a decent man in a nasty business, hence the hand-washing made sense. So -- even though this movie has some real strengths that the series doesn't (mainly in the younger characters' casting), I've come to feel that one really needs a series to do justice to the book. The moral center has to be Pip's grown-up travails, and one needs to see these develop over time to have plausibility. Newell's scriptwriters do a fine job of getting a lot of information to us, but a lot of it is in narration by characters. We need to see more and hear about it less.

Of course, the whole opening movement of the book is almost begging to be dramatized, and all three versions I've seen so far are marvellously effective -- and in the showing of the marsh country, they are the most beautifully realized part of the book in sheer visual terms. There's so much to get into Pip's London story that it must be much more difficult to condense and dramatize, and yet that's where the moral interest of the story lies. My next "Great Expectations," when I get around to it, will be another serialized version. I hear Charlotte Rampling's Miss Havisham is worth seeing. But -- this one is by no means bad.
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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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VINE VOICEon 25 August 2014
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this copy of 'Great Expectations' because I've been studying for a degree in English literature. Great Expectations is one of the 19th century novels on the syllabus. I think the DVD sets out to portray Dickens' novel faithfully and it does a reasonable job of that. The story begins on the wild Kentish marshes, with a scary scene between the young hero Pip and an escapted convict. This, and all the scenes on the marsh are well done and very evocative if you know that part of the world. The actors are all excellent in their way, but I do have some quarrels with their portrayal of Charles Dickens' characters. Miss Havisham is portrayed as a somewhat seedy eccentric rather than the desperate, deluded wild thing that the author had in mind. Estella is nicely portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter but I missed the ice-cold character from the original novel. Pip himself is very pretty indeed - nice and all that, but the DVD misses the point that Estella's beauty was unmatched in the novel. Joe Gargery was rather well-played and Pip's secret benefactor - a joy.

This DVD version of Great Expectations is useful for a student, including those still at school, and is quite satisfying for fans of Charles Dickens. If you've never seen any version, nor read the book, it's a faithful and enjoyable watch.
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on 16 April 2013
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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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Admittedly I have seen different versions of this story on screen (movie and TV series) so I think we are spoilt for choice when it comes to screenplays of this Dickens classic, which makes any new to screen release open to extreme scrutiny and criticism. Of the modern versions I have seen, I have to say I liked the TV mini series with Gillian Anderson as one of my favourites, which made this movie version difficult to like as much because (a) it is a hefty abridgement of the novel and therefore loses the scale and emotional depth of the book and (b) loses some of the important characters and characterisations. At least a TV series has the time to get more depth and detail.

I also felt it was a bit comical in parts which I didn't think it appropriate, though there is humour in the story of course, it just doesn't feel like this screenplay does it in the right parts.

A resonable effort as a movie in its own right with a stellar cast, but I think the adaptation lets it down and left me feeling flat.
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on 4 August 2017
Not the best adaptation I have seen, but not bad.
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on 19 August 2017
A great adaptation of the book, with a great cast!
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on 20 April 2017
Great price quick delivery
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on 3 August 2017
Item arrived promptly and as described
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've given 3* for the 2012 version of Great Expectations simply because it failed to reach some of my own expectations and left me disappointed. What I can't fault is the superb photography. The film is a visual treat. I particularly enjoyed the contrasts as the beauty of the coast is suddenly pulled away to be replaced by the horror and grime of inner London. As for the story? They've paid attention to the book and featured most of the key events without allowing the themes to develop which has the effect of making the plot shallow. At approx. 130 minutes it needed more depth, more tension to keep me interested. The mystery around Estella and her parentage is almost lost in transit as is the endearing and heartbreaking love between Pip and his stepfather Joe. Miss Havisham has become a Gothic beauty which isn't something I thought I'd ever see. Romantic, glossy but certainly not Dickensian. The film undoubtedly saves itself by featuring some of the best known British actors; Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and Jeremy Irvine plus appearances from David Walliams and Robbie Coltrane to name but a few.
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