Monday, April 9, 2012

Not-so-Great Expectations

Great Expectations: We all had to read the book in high school, and it in turn provided us with an arsenal of jokes about creepy old ladies and stale wedding cakes that we could pull out at a moment's notice and amuse all our literary-minded friends for years to come. (And by all, I mean two.)

Now, Masterpiece Theatre has been kind enough to bring the book to our televisions for our entertainment... and, apparently, nightmare fuel as well.

Seriously, I don't remember the book ever being so horrific as this film. But anyway.

Pip, a young orphan being raised by his wicked sister and his more amiable brother-in-law, helps an escaped criminal... uh, escape... well, for about an hour, anyway. This is a good deed.

Later, Pip is asked to be a companion for a young girl named Estella, at the home of crazy old rich bat Miss Havisham.

Pip falls for Estella, even though she's been trained by the jilted-in-love Miss Havisham to be a coldhearted snake.

I know she doesn't look it, but she totally is.

When Miss Havisham witnesses Estella making a move on Pip, she arranges for Pip to become a blacksmith's apprentice and go away. Pip is devastated. No more Estella.


Pip gets word that a mysterious benefactor is leaving him a fortune, and he is to go to London to become a gentleman, which means he gets to wear top hats and coat tails and become a Calvin Klein model.

This makes Pip happy.

In London, Pip meets Herbert Pocket, played by Harry Lloyd, who you may remember from such films as Masterpiece Theatre Presents: David Copperfield, in which he played the main character's chum, only in that movie he was (SPOILER ALERT) kind of sinister, and here he's just a cutie pie.

Alongside Herbert, Pip drinks and smokes and lives it up in ye old London, all the while thinking that Miss Havisham is his benefactor, because who else could it be? And if she's his benefactor, she must WANT him to become a gentleman SO THAT he can marry Estella, of course!

Pip does a lot of assuming. Silly Pip.

Eventually Estella comes to London and Pip has to fend off a rival for her affections, and Estella starts to look like Juliet Landau for some reason.

Meanwhile, all these depressing and/or creepy things are happening to everyone, including:

*Pip has totally turned his back on his family, even his lovable brother-in-law.
*Miss Havisham and Estella have the most dysfunctional relationship ever. They're like cats. ENEMY cats.
*Estella declares that she has "no heart" and can not love Pip.
*Estella gets engaged to a jerky guy who refers to Pip as "Pippy," among his other crimes.
*Pip is being followed by one, possibly two, possibly three shadowy and possibly nefarious figures.

At long last, Pip comes of age and can now be told who is benefactor is. But, SURPRISE! It's not who he thought! Nope, it's not kooky old Miss Havisham, whose house is covered in cobwebs and who has been wearing the same dress for 20 years and should really smell like mule (I'm not sure how Pip can stand her, honestly), NOPE, it's the escaped convict from the beginning of the movie!

So Pip does the whole obligatory NOOOOOOO!!!!! thing, and runs around for the next half hour trying to make sense of his life and why everything he thought was just plum wrong.

Then Miss Havisham goes up in flames. That I remember from the novel.

But honestly? Good riddance.

Pip then goes on to help his real benefactor, the convict, flee the country, but he fails, and it turns out the benefactor is, coincidentally, Estella's real father, but Estella doesn't know, and Estella's still married to that jerk, but then the jerk gets bucked off his horse and dies, and that frees up Estella to get with Pip, though why the heck Pip would want her I do not know.

The end!

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