16 November 1999 | marty-133
A Creative "Attempt" at a Literary Masterpiece
Hollywood and the movie industry have made many bold moves over the past decade in bringing to life old classics. None however have been done more boldly than the remoulding of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and Charles Dicken's Great Expectations. Both are daring attempts to rebirth a storyline from the distant past, as a tale told in our modern times. I say attempt because in both cases, as good a job the cast and crew did, there was something lacking in these new renditions. Great Expectations, the movie, lacks many qualities that make the novel a success. It cannot be said to be a total loss, the basic elements are intact, it is only the embellishments Charles Dickens developed in the novel to make the story more realistic that are missing.
One success, I must admit that I observed while watching the film was the rich visual setting. Although not taking presented in the same place, or era Great Expectations, the movie, is a feast for the eyes. It captivates the mind with beautiful shots of the rural Florida coast life, and yet still retains the jumbled, rundown atmosphere that is described of Pip's small birthplace in a small English town. These qualities of squalor are evident in the impoverished coastal fishing village of the movie. The best achievement in cinematography, is the in-depth views of Pardiso Perduto, a sister mansion to the decaying Satis house of the novel. Even the scenes of New York, the city of "expectations" for our youthful protagonist, Finn, has contrasting aspects of rich beauty and unsightly slums that the London of the nineteen century demonstrated. This is the most major achievement for the film; to capture on film a most ingenious modern equivalent of Charles Dicken's astute descriptions.
Unlike some attempts to revamp literary successes the movie at least retains some of the dignity of Dicken's work. The core of his novel is intact within the screenplay. Also many ingenious ideas were used in some plot changes, and cinematography. Overall it is not a bad representation of the novel.