I’ll be honest. I don’t really know my Dickens. I’ve read “A Christmas Carol”, skimmed through “A Tale Of Two Cities”, and barely made it past the first few chapters of “Great Expectations”. For some bizarre reason, when I was a kid I used to think that it was a sequel to “Oliver Twist”. I guess the main protagonists shared some similarities, that’s why.
Since 2012 will be the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, next year will be as good a time as any to get properly (re)acquainted with the literary master’s works. Through the cinematic medium, of course. Since books = too many words. Heh.
A brand new filmic adaptation of “Great Expectations” is now underway, with Brit director Mike Newell at the helm. Newell’s last effort “Prince Of Persia: Sands Of Time” was a bit of a dud, so let’s hope he re-discovers the form he showed on stuff like “Donnie Brasco”, or even “Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire” (my favourite Potter flick, btw).
For those of you with literary inclinations as underdeveloped as mine, “Great Expectations” tells the story of a young orphan boy Pip (hence my connection of it to Oliver), who escapes his harsh past and inherits a vast fortune from a mysterious source. He then grows from an uncultured little prat into a fine, upstanding gentleman.
It’s unclear at this point if Newell’s version will stick to the book’s period English setting, or transplant itself to a more contemporary milieu, like the 1998 version starring Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow. Actually, the novel’s been filmed countless times before, with the very first adaptation stretching all the way back to 1946, directed by the great David Lean (“Lawrence Of Arabia”).
In any case, 2012 is set to be a large celebratory affair for all things Dickens, with the BBC planning their own tribute to him. I’ll get my dose of culture from Newell’s film.