Great Expectations (2012) Blu-ray Review, a film directed by Mike Newell, starring Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Flemyng, Robbie Coltrane, Holliday Grainger, Ewen Bremner, Ralph Fiennes, Sally Hawkins, David Walliams, Jessie Cave, Ralph Ineson, Olly Alexander, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, and Malcolm Tierney.
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Great Expectations is one of the classic love stories of all time, and touches on all aspects of that thrilling experience. A young boy, lifted from obscure poverty, to be given a glimpse of life as it could be for him. A young girl, taught never to let others into her heart. Together, the possibility of love. Apart, despair.
What young man has never dreamed of discovering that their drab life of work and burden is to be cast aside, in favor of privilege and good fortune. What young person could seize such an opportunity without making enemies as well as friends. What young woman has not turned their face to the sun, and dreamed of its warmth for her heart.
Pip and Estella, their story.
Run Time: 128 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Language: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
The video for Great Expectations was spotless, which was more noticeable in the outdoor scenes e.g. Pip running over hills and through vales, than in the indoor scenes. This was in part do to the fact that the indoor scenes had lower ambient light thus the viewer’s attention was more on the actors and their words and less on their environment. Nothing was lost in those low light scenes though and a consistency was upheld throughout.
The score for the Great Expectations by Richard Hartley is subtle and unimposing, never making itself felt or remembered. The score is functional but was not engineered to fully use a high-end sound system like Cameron’s Avatar (though that bar is extremely hard to reach).
Blu-ray Bonus Content
Great Expectations Premiere – video from the world premiere of Great Expectations.
Trailer – self-explanatory.
Ultra Violet enabled – instantly stream and download the film.
Watching Great Expectations was an extreme exercise in will-power. I am a fan of the Charles Dickens book this film is based on but this was a poor adaptation of it i.e. think the abysmal adaptation of A Walk to Remember but worse. Unlike the book, the viewer forms no engagement with any of the characters in Great Expectations. Even when Philip “Pip” Pirrip (Jeremy Irvine) is elevated by his mysterious benefactor, the viewer is only watching events unfold instead of being affected by them like in Taylor’s The Help. Do not let my words dissuade you from believing that there were not good performances in the film. Ralph Fiennes steals almost every scenes when he appears on screen as Abel Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter was good but far too under-utilized, especially after seeing the full girth of her acting and vocal range in Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
If you are a fan of the book, I would suggest viewing the other adaptations of Dickens classic before seeing this film. If anything, like Harron’s American Psycho, this adaptation is more like a highlight reel (which is being kind). The substance is in the pages.