‘Great Expectations’ International Trailer & Images: Dark Take on the Dickens Classic

Published 3 years ago by

Filmmakers have been adapting Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations in some form since 1917, so what’s the harm in one more, right? In the 2012 version, Jeremy Irvine abandons the wide-eyed innocence he bore during War Horse in order to portray the hardened orphan Pip as a young man, opposite Holliday Grainger (The Borgais) as the cold-hearted object of his affections, Estella.

This new interpretation of Great Expectations has much in common with Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre – judging by the international trailer for the former, it’s as gorgeously morose and hauntingly dark as the latter. Moreover, the two films are based on source novels regarded as classic examples of Victorian literature at its gloomiest (outside the horror genre, that is).

Great Expectations (2012) comes from screenwriter/author David Nicholls (Starter for 10, One Day) and director Mike Newell – the latter is better known (or, rather, widely-known) in the States for his big-budget fantasy adventures Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as Prince of Persia. However, Newell’s resume extends far beyond those Hollywood titles to films like Bad Blood and Donnie Brasco; some might even argue his true strength as a storyteller lies with grittier, period drama fare.

Newell’s adaptation of Dickens’ masterpiece certainly appears to earn the (let’s face it) overused label of grittier, as the trailer music only emphasizes – including, Danny Elfman’s Wolfman theme, used to similar effect in previews for last year’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. That’s another title the new Great Expectations recalls, with its dour visual style, slow-burn thriller pacing, and excellent cast of seasoned stars, like Ralph Fiennes as the convict Magwitch and Robbie Coltrane as Mr. Jaggers – not to mention, Helena Bonham Carter at her hollow-eyed, pale-faced freakiest as Miss Havisham, with a decaying wedding headpiece draped over her features.

For a still look at Great Expectations, check out the image gallery below:



In case you’re not familiar with Dickens’ book (and have never seen the South Park version): Great Expectations tells the tale of young orphan Pip, who climbs the ranks of London’s class-ridden social structure during the early 19th century, with assistance from a mysterious benefactor. Pip attempts to win over the heart of Estella, a lovely but heartless heiress he’s long carried a torch for (despite Estella being molded by her emotionally-damaged stepmother, Miss Havisham). Those efforts are sidelined when the dangerous truth about Pip’s financial guardian is revealed.

While Great Expectations (2012) looks promising, it has fierce competition for the period drama crowd during the upcoming awards season – with buzz-worthy titles like Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina (watch the trailer) and Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables (watch the trailer), both of which also boast decorated casts. We’ll see if Newell’s film gains momentum after it shows at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

We’ll let you know when Great Expectations secures a U.S. release date.


Source: The Playlist

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Sorry, the greatest adaptation for me will always be the 1999 BBC version which featured the greatest Estella performance ever by Justine Waddell who also happens to be incredibly beautiful. The most recent version on Masterpiece Theater was all wrong – Pip was prettier than Estella.

    • also consider the awesome performance of the actor who was the Emperor plays Jaggers in the 1999 BBC version and that pretty much seals the deal

    • I’ll check that out. I just watched the 1946 version and thought it was very good. It had the humor and touching characters I remembered from the book. Honestly, this version looks like kind of a rip off, a colorized version of the 1946. It’s the same source material of course, but the screenplay, costumes, sets, etc looked almost note for note of the David Lean version.

    • I’ll definitely check that out. Estella is a pivotal character and rarely played well.

  2. Wow, this looks quite interesting. It’s motivated me to finally read the book for school work after long procrastination haha.

  3. I wasn’t a big fan of the book, but from what I can remember, this looks like it follows it pretty closely.

    • I am a fan of the book. I just watched the 1946 version, and this looks like a copy of that version, only colorized.

  4. Helena Bonham Carter has played one too many Tim Burton characters the ghosts
    of whom seem to appear in her more serious roles and she’s hard to take seriously.
    Jeremy Irvine I’ve not seen much of and what I have doesn’t instill much confidence.
    My impression is the casting is flawed and if the style survives the substance won’t.

  5. Irvine was awful in war horse IMO

    • Jeremy Irvine was the reason War Horse stumbled at the starting gate.

  6. Coincidentally I just watched the 1946 David Lean version yesterday (featuring a very young Alec Guiness). This looks remarkably similar. The screenplay sounds the same, and even the sets and camera angles. I can’t believe how much the trailer seems to give away.

    I really enjoyed the book. It’s the only Dickens I’ve read voluntarily. The Ethan Hawke/Gweneth Paltrow version was garbage. I was very pleased with the 1946 version.

    • Great reminder to revisit that one which has been considered the definitive version.

  7. What are the songs, they´re using in the trailer???

    Thanks for the Info.

    • Song from Great expectations trailer: Audiomachine — An Unfinished Life

  8. dec 11 2012


    when will the new version of great execeptions to be in the states please? thanks elizabeth osborne
    ps would like to get the dvd of it or copy of it and buy the dvd of it on region 1 please? thanks.