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I guess it was never destined to be as amazing as David Lean's 1965 adaptation, but still....
Acorn Media / 225 Minutes / 2003 / Unrated / Street Date: January 1, 2013
David Lean's epic cinematic adaptation of Boris Pasternak's novel is a handful of decades old at this point, but even if Doctor Zhivago deserves a fresher retelling, this 2002 miniseries incarnation doesn't do any of its participants any favors. Alas, an event like this one has many critics and viewers reaching for a particularly unfortunate term: it's unnecesary.
First and foremost, as bubbly and cute as Keira Knightley is, she's no Julie Christie, and as the face that launched a thousand ships in Zhivago, she distinctly lacks the bigger-than-life erotic zeal Julie Christie brought to the role of Lara in 1965. Again, I know that just because Christie did things one way back then doesn't mean this new Zhivago has to do them the same way now, but if you're not going to improve or revitalize things, why bother?
This Acorn DVD re-release simply doesn't do this already deeply undernourished miniseries any favor. Without audio/video quality liberating the humdrum material here, one runs out of reasons to give Doctor Zhivago a shot pretty early on. There's a classic love story in here somewhere, but you're better off popping in the Omar Sharif Blu-ray version if you want to find it.