Great Expectations Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane
  • Director: Mike Newell
  • Format: AC-3, Blu-ray, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Release Date: April 15, 2014
  • Run Time: 128 minutes


            There is nothing particularly wrong with the latest adaptation of Charles Dickens’ oft-adapted classic “Great Expectations,” directed by Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral). There also isn’t anything right enough to redeem its inability to set itself apart from countless other adaptations, with particularly dull young actors unable to breathe any new life into the roles while the older cast members do a bit of over-acting to make up for it. Somehow this adaptation feels as though it shortchanges Dickens’ material while also dragging along unnecessarily.


            It is as if studios believe every new generation can only be swayed over to classic stories if adapted with the latest young actors, resulting in flatly unimpressive films such as the latest Romeo & Juliet or this Great Expectations starring Jeremy Irvine (War Horse) as orphan blacksmith apprentice Pip, a young boy who is easily swayed by romantic notions and newfound wealth. When sent to play in the mansion of a bitter old woman named Miss Havisham (Helena Bonham Carter), he makes the acquaintance of the coldhearted Estella (Holliday Grainger) and mistakenly believes her obtainable. 


            Pip comes into a fortune, unaware of where it comes from but willing to take the advancement in social standing. As he works his way up in the world with wealth, Pip becomes more disillusioned with his ability to win Estella over. Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes play their roles very theatrically, covered in grime and such exaggerated make-up that they appear in different films than the rest of the cast, but at least they leave a lasting impression. Irvine and Grainger are all but forgettable, with no chemistry between the two of them to even begin to capture the essence of Dickens’ tale. Newell hits all of the significant plot points, but never manages to breathe new life into this classic tale.


            The Blu-ray release includes only footage from the premiere and a trailer, which shows where the emphasis lay with this adaptation.


    Entertainment Value: 5.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

    Historical Significance: 4/10

    Special Features: 3/10

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