How many times must one adapt Great Expectations? After the stellar 2000 version done as a South Park special, it’s a wonder why people keep trying. Can’t improve on perfection and killer robot monkeys.
This version of Great Expectations brings in trendy hairdos and not much else when it comes to providing a fresh look at the classic Dickens novel. The story of a young boy called Pip (Jeremy Irvine plays adult Pip) freeing a criminal on the run then ending up trying to seduce Miss Havisham’s (Helena Carter) pet project Estella (Holliday Grainger) by becoming a gentleman is true to the novel, and it plays it all out with zero flair and zero thrills. This is safe and ready for cinema viewers to go in and consume with no worries of something unexpected happening. It’s the expectations one would have.
It helps that they have some solid material to work with then, as it certainly doesn’t feel weightless as it delves through Pip’s life of being a sweet boy who turns into an arsehole when he becomes a gentlemen. Yet it doesn’t make the best use of the material on hand. Time is scarcely spent on his relationship with the cold-hearted Estella, and the film just turns into a tale of the unlovable Pip and his lust for someone he barely sees. Some stronger focus on his goals and changes would help bring some sense to things. As it stands, this Pip is a jerk expecting it all because he can drink wine correctly.
This Great Expectations is as necessary as a new pair of socks for Christmas, but it should keep some people’s feet warm as they prepare for another venture into the world of icy hearts and gentlemen clubs. And no tear collecting to trade souls. A shame that.