Great Expectations: Poor Reality.

December 23, 2012 10:00 am

Pip Great ExpectationsFor all you English students out there who thought that the new Great Expectations film and it’s all-star cast was going to be the nerdy highlight of your Christmas break, think again. Having read the book and seen the BBC adaptation of Dickens’s charming tale at Christmas last year, I was thoroughly enamoured with Pip’s journey towards becoming a gentleman and had – excuse the pun – great expectations for a new film.

Who indeed could portray the psychotic Miss Havisham better than Helena Bonham-Carter? Being a life-long Harry Potter fan, I can thoroughly appreciate her portrayal of a madwoman in Bellatrix Lestrange. You can imagine my delight upon realising that not only was Bellatrix in this new adaptation, but also Hagrid (known to some as Robbie Coltrane), Voldemort (alright it was Rupert Fiennes), and Lavender Brown (aka Ron’s girlfriend, or Jessie Cave).

However, in spite of this ingenious casting, all that remains is to beg of you not to waste your money. The film is mediocre at best; Miss Havisham seems strangely collected, Pip, though handsome, is oddly unlikeable, and Estella is not cruel, nor harbours enough hatred for the male gender.

Despite Pip’s frequent, ridiculous and vaguely irritating declarations of love, I still found it hard to believe that he meant a single word of it. And where on earth was Orlick? A character who brings an interesting little sub-plot and who director Mike Newall perhaps unwisely left out, choosing instead to concentrate on the use of overly dramatic music at every possible occasion.

Miss HavishamMiss Havisham’s death scene was quite frankly laughable. She knocks over a candle whilst Pip is still in the room, he walks off in a huff about Estella and is halfway downstairs before he makes an excessively dramatic pause upon the realisation that Miss Havisham is in fact on fire, and that he should probably do something about it. Her burned and blackened corpse could do with being a bit more gruesome too.

David Walliams also makes an appearance, but a frustratingly sub-standard one at that – am I supposed to be taking him seriously now? I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry; it was difficult to keep a straight face.I did find myself, somewhat surprisingly, tearing up at the emotional deathbed scene betwixt Pip and his dear benefactor. This may in fact be the film’s only redeeming quality.

All in all, my advice is trust the BBC’s TV mini-series – their version is altogether much more enjoyable and satisfying. Helena Bonham-Carter I am disappointed in you!

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