Director Mike Newall offers a faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic with Great Expectations.
Orphan Pip lives with his sister and her blacksmith husband. Pip’s humble upbringing is altered irrevocably when a mysterious benefactor wants to make him a gentlemen…
Mike Newall’s version of Great Expectations is a traditional period drama. The film remains faithful to Dickens’ classic. All the main aspects of the novel are included in this film adaptation. Some minor elements are omitted, presumably because of time constraints and pacing. However, this does not alter the overall narrative. It is a lot more faithful than the recent BBC television adaptation of Dickens’ novel.
There are quite a few characters and strands in Great Expectations. Screenwriter David Nicholls manages to balance these out, without omitting important elements or making the film feel weighed down. Despite a running time of over two hours, Great Expectations never feels overlong, or slacking in its pace.
Newall’s film is beautifully shot. Great Expectations is visually sumptuous, making the most of its locations and sets. Similarly, costumes in the film are excellent. The film is styled very much like a traditional period piece; there is a lavishness to the look of Great Expectations.
Casting in this adaptation is spot on. Ralph Fiennes makes a fine Magwitch, while Jason Flemyng’s Joe tallies with the novel. Jeremy Irvine and Holliday Grainger offer good performances as the adult Pip and Estella. Helena Bonham Carter is perfectly cast as Miss Havisham. Bonham Carter encapsulates the character with an entirely believable performance.
Great Expectations is escapist drama for the winter season. Traditional and sumptuous.
For a family-orientated blockbuster in the vein of Pirates of the Caribbean, Prince of Persia is an entertaining enough affair. As expected, the special effects and action sequences excel, whilst the plot and dialogue are less impressive.
Adopted as an orphan boy by the Persian King, Dastan grows up in the royal family. After the king is murdered, Dastan must prove his innocence with the help of a mysterious dagger…
The plot is predictable, but that is hardly surprising considering the film is based on a video game. Likewise, the dialogue shifts between cheesy one-liners and overly grandiose sentiment. Nonetheless, these issues do not distract too much from the enjoyment of the film.
Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job as hero Dustan, whilst Gemma Arterton is perfunctory as the beautiful love interest, Princess Tamina. Ben Kingsley is adequate in his now customary role of knowledgeable older character/secret villain. With the film’s Middle Eastern setting, however, it is a shame that more of the actors aren’t from this region. It seems being “browned-up” is still deemed appropriate in 2010 Hollywood.
The special effects and wonderful landscapes make Prince of Persia a film that really should be seen on the big screen. Although the film is directed by Mike Newall, the influence of producer Jerry Bruckheimer are all too evident; the slow motion shots in the battle sequences, for example.
Prince of Persia is enjoyable enough for the type of film it is; it was never going to break new ground. Perhaps the real shame is what it signifies in modern Hollywood: before the numbers even come in a sequel is already guaranteed. Gone are the days, it seems, when a film actually had to do well before a sequel was even considered and green lit.