Seeing as we already got a version of Charles Dickens’ assigned-to-you-freshman-year-of-high-school classic “Great Expectations” that was adapted by a Harry Potter director (Alfonso Cuarón) back in 1998, some might be under the impression that we don’t need another. But Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell would beg to differ, so he’s put together his own film version of the much-loved-except-by-high-school-freshmen story, and he’s challenged Cuarón to a secret benefactor showdown.
For those of you (us) who slept through your high school English classes, Great Expectations centers on the character of Pip (War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine), a young boy of meager means who nevertheless befriends a creepy old rich lady named Miss Havisham (Helena Bonham Carter), falls in love with her beautiful but twisted young ward Estella (Holliday Grainger), and eventually becomes a young gentleman with a bursting pocketbook and a wealth of potential due to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor (identity withheld).
How does this all hash out in regards to Newell’s new film? If its new UK trailer [via Empire] is any indication, it gives Newell the chance to distance himself from the miserable failure that was his last film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, re-embrace the spooky mood-building that made him a good fit for the Harry Potter franchise, and work with respected actors like Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, and Sally Hawkins.
Say what you will about Newell’s spotty track record, or the fact that David Lean’s 1946 adaptation of “Great Expectations” is likely to always be remembered as the definitive film version; you have to admit there are some gorgeous visuals, some great music, and some performances that have the potential to impress packed into these clips. Maybe another go-around with these old characters won’t be so bad after all.
Great Expectations is set for a November 30 release in the UK. The rights for its North American distribution were recently scooped up in Toronto by Outsource Media Group [via The Wrap], but dates have yet to be set on that front.