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    Great Expectations [17] - 1998

    Movie Reviews
    What is a morality play from a classic author becomes an erotic love story from a not-so-well known director. The word on the street was that there was not much of a screenplay from Mitch Glazier. Mr. Glazier does not have a good record of accomplishment anyway. Nevertheless, the chemistry and characters of Finn and Estella come off believable. My take is that the director did the best he could with what he had. There is some cool camera work here from director Alfonso Cuarón. A couple of notable scenes:

    1. Estella walks into the Finn’s apartment while he is waking up. He and the camera perceive Estella at a 90 degree angle. Her head is at the left at feet at the right taking the length of the screen. The camera then slowly rotates upright.

    2. Finn leaves the club party looking for Estella at Ping’s. Right at the moment he leaves, a woman steps into their group singing beatifully, but strangely. Finn walks outside through torrential rain. As he enters the restaurant, the camera boom enters through the front window and goes all the way to the back. In order to create torrential rain on film, you need sprinklers and lots of backlighting. They seemed to be able to maintain an unbroken shot for several blocks of sprinklers drenching Ethan Hawke until he reaches the restaurant.

    3. Miss Dinsmore (Anne Bancroft) is checking out her wrinkles in a magnifying mirror. Each individual wrinkle looks enormous in the extremely concave surface.

    4. In the art show opening, everyone is wearing black accented with green. Did someone put that on the invitations?

    I read the book by Charles Dickens a few years ago. It is amazing that he gets a writing credit at all. Here are the characters from the book, and their movie equivalents.

    Pip (Philip Pirrip) – main character.. His ambition is to better himself socially. However, in doing this, he rejects many of his closest friends in order to achieve his goals. His devotes most of his life pursuing Estella. In the movie, Finn Bell has no ambition and merely turns into an artist when convinced by his benefactor’s lawyer.

    Estella Havisham - adopted daughter of Miss Havisham. She was brought up on Miss Havisham's desire to get revenge on men. She is condescending despite her beauty. In the movie, Estella is a cute girl who grows up to be a kooky hot chick.

    Miss Havisham - an eccentric old lady who lives in seclusion with her adopted daughter, Estella. She was deserted on her wedding day, and then made it her goal in life to get revenge on men. She lives in the past, wearing her yellowing wedding dress. All the clocks in her estate are stopped on the minute she found out her fiancee left her. In the movie, Miss Dinsmore lives in a secluded Florida estate (Paradiso Perduto). She is an old nutcase.

    Joe Gargery - Pip's brother-in-law. He's a gentle giant who is Pip's best friend and father figure. He is a hard worker and a very moral man. In the movie, Uncle Joe changes from a blacksmith to a Florida fisherman. He is a nice guy and probably retains the most of his character from the book.

    Abel Magwitch - the first convict that Pip encounters in the graveyard. With Pip's help, he escapes and later repays Pip by becoming his benefactor. In the movie, convict Arthur Lustig (Robert DiNiro) becomes the benefactor. Finn gives him booze, percadan, and a life jacket. Lustig is caught and disappears for most of the movie.

    Mrs. Joe - Pip's older sister. She raised Pip "by hand" using the "tickler." Maggie Bell pretty much doesn’t do anything except smoke and hook. She is gone later in the movie, and is probably a total waste of a character.

    Herbert Pocket - the "pale, young gentleman" who becomes a close friend of Pip's. There is a pale young, possibly gay, gentleman who shouts "It's all about connections" who probably gives the role all he has.

    Mr. Jaggers - lawyer who defends Magwitch. Magwitch orders him to keep track of Pip's finances. Jaggers serves as Pip's guardian. Jerry Ragno (Josh Mostel) takes on the role of Jaggers and title of Bentley Drummle (the spider).

    In the book, Pip realizes that he had to sacrifice his great expectations in order to preserve his morality and inner worth. In the movie, Finn realizes that life is nothing without the love of his life, Estella.

    Rent this movie if you like Gwynneth Paltrow hotter than hot. She is one of my faves, This movie belongs in a Paltrow trifecta along with The Talented Mr. Ripley and Shakespeare in Love. {BB}

    Added: July 25th 2005
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 17    [17]

    Related Link (IMDB): IMDB
    Hits: 4181
    Language: english


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