2012 is the bicentennial year of Charles Dickens' birth date, so there have been a variety of new Dickensian adaptations to mark the year and celebrate one of Britain's best ever novelists. Last year saw a visually stunning mini-series of Great Expectations from the BBC and now a new Great Expectations movie is coming out, with an incredible cast, great director (Mike Newell) and great screenwriter (David Nicholls).
Jeremy Irvine is starring as adult Pip and Irvine's own little brother Toby Irvine is appearing as the boy Pip who saves Magwitch. There's an unusual choice of Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, but his great career suggests to us that he'll be great in any role. Perhaps most exciting of the cast choices is Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham. We've seen her be deranged as Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter, of course that kind of derangement was very different, but no doubt translatable into Dickens.
Despite that impressive cast, reviews so far have been very mixed. The Daily Telegraph's judgement was perhaps the most negative, saying that "Great Expectations is about as comfortable as a very fat man sitting in a very small aircraft seat." And Variety said that it's "A passable feature-length adaptation that does little to burnish the estimable screen legacy of a Dickens classic." Time Out's review was also impressed with the group of actors, saying "The chief reason to watch Newell's film is for the impeccable acting." But it seems to be Empire Magazine that's hit the nail of the head best: "Newell and Nicholls' safe, schoolteacher-friendly interpretation makes no real case for going down this much-travelled road once more." Indeed, the 1947 version of the movie is so well loved that any remakes seem superfluous. Great Expectations is in cinemas nationwide from tomorrow, November 30.