Wednesday, January 02, 2013

My review of LES MISERABLES

If you loved the stage musical, if you’re a devoted fan, if you can tell the difference between all the songs then you will probably love the movie version of LES MISERABLES. If you’re not a fan – like me – you may find the film an ordeal. It’s 2 1/2 hours but to me it felt like 5. And some songs from the musical were cut!! Holy shit! I could still be sitting in that theater.

In fairness, when it was over a lot of people applauded. It was impeccably made. The “epic” part was all there. Along with enough Hollywood CGI to qualify the film for the STAR TREK franchise. But to me that mega-production was a problem. I saw the stage version once years ago. The thing I marveled at was how they managed to stage such a huge production within the limits of theater. The sets were on a rotating stage, cast members played three or four parts – the technical aspects of the show were incredible. The production required ingenuity and a thousand individual aspects that had to go off like clockwork. I can’t imagine how they did it. Stage productions I’ve been involved with they can’t make a phone ring on cue.

But there are no limitations in a movie. You can just throw money and computers at it. So everything was excessive. As the old adage goes: LES is more.

Another problem for me: Russell Crowe can’t sing. Every time he had a number I felt like I was watching the open auditions of AMERICAN IDOL. And believe me, even Paula wouldn’t have sent him on to Hollywood. What made it worse was that everyone else could sing. Especially Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway. For all the scope of the movie, my favorite scene by a mile was Anne singing her big number, “I Dreamed a Dream.” It was one take, one uninterrupted shot and she sang it live. If Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for her one big show stopper song, Anne should come away with Best Supporting Actresses statuette for that scene alone.

But getting back to Russell Crowe – seriously, what the fuck was he thinking? Why did he take this role? Didn’t anyone ever tell him he couldn’t sing? I guess not. Maybe they were all afraid he’d clock them with a phone.

The direction by Tom Hooper was completely over-the-top. The only thing he left out was subtlety. Here again, the movie was very manipulative but I don’t know if that’s Hooper’s fault or the original musical. Or maybe that Victor Hugo fella. But I missed the light touch of Oliver Stone.

Yes, the actors made great sacrifices for their art. Anne Hathaway lost 25 pounds (and won’t reveal how because she says it was life threatening) and Hugh Jackman lost 30. Hugh also stayed awake for a day and a half without eating so he could look right for a particular scene. That’s either admirable or insane depending on your viewpoint. But you must applaud their commitment to the project and desperate need to win an Oscar.

In conclusion, LES MISERABLES is a very polarizing film. I suspect you will either love it or pray for a guillotine. As for me -- well, this was my capsulated review for Facebook and Twitter:

"Oh good they shot the kid, we can go home now...WHAT?! 45 more minutes?"

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you for real. Russle had a great voice. I was expecting him to be crap but he was great. Hugh Jackman on the other hand can not hold a tune to save himself. He is supposed to have a musical backgroud but if you listen to any of the tunes he is way off. I haven't seen the musical but had the soundtrack growing up. Hugh Jackman suxs. Russle Crowe has got himself a new fan.

Stop being tone deaf

John said...

Saw the trailer before watching "Lincoln" a couple of weeks ago (sort of an 19th Century people-getting-shot synergy between the two, I guess), and was surprised they opted for total seriousness -- i.e., not a note or scene from the "Master of the House" number in the preview. But then seeing the post on how they tried to market the characters from best-known song of the show (or, at least, the only song that made it into "Seinfeld"), it looked as if they couldn't figure out how to mix the comedy relief with the drama, and were far more comfortable marketing the latter than the former.

Mixing the two correctly is what keeps you from squirming in your seat by the 90 minute mark, so I may wait for the Netflix release, which at least offers the option of the 'pause' button if the movie starts to drag.

Murray said...

By coincidence, my circle of chums has recently been lamenting the overdone quality of video these days. TV and movies. On the one hand, as you suggest, the CGI guys are so excited to be able to create starships or giant monsters or the entire sweep of antique Paris, they don't stop to wonder if they should. Someone needs to remember that a hint of shadow and a character's reaction shot can do WAY more than five minutes of detailed computer baloney.

And not to just to throw tomatoes at the CGI techs. I've noticed so many shows lately with totally unnecessary scenes. Nothing that advances the plot and actually reduces suspense and tension.

"Les Miserables" triggered a "Ben Hur" reaction in me. When I first watched "Ben Hur" in the local art cinema, I was braced for a long movie. When the music swelled and the house lights came up, I nodded. "Not so bad." Then the screen filled with "Intermission". Holy crap. We're only halfway???

David Whitham said...

"Oh good they shot the kid, we can go home now...WHAT?! 45 more minutes?"

This reminds me of my reaction to Titanic, "Just sink the damn boat, already"

chas said...

Feel exactly the same way. Hooper made some "interesting" choices. He eliminated all of the exposition between the musical numbers. Guess explaining or advancing the plot wasn't necessary. Also, how about having Hugh Jackman sing in a key within his range? He's an experienced Broadway performer, so singing "live" is something with which he has lots of experience. You know something is wrong when the best musical number is performed by Sashs Baron Cohen. Between him and Helena Bonham Carter I thought Sweeney had broken out.

Roger Owen Green said...

Odd. I KNOW Jackman CAN sing, and I've heard him sing, but here, it was EXHAUSTING to listen to. Crowe was limited but not nearly as distracting. Hathaway was great.

Jee Jay said...

the weird thing about Russell Crowe is that he was actually the singer with a rock band for a time.

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/30-odd-foot-of-grunts-mn0000576925#discography

I haven't seen the movie yet, but apparently the problem is not that he can't sing, it's that he can't sing that kind of music.

JS said...

I really believe that the "live, on set singing" is just a marketing ploy to emulate some of that stage production magic that you are referring to. Why would they restrict themselves to on set audio of singing when they so often use ADR for dialog? Makes no sense.

An (is my actual name) said...

Thank you for this. I've been feeling like the odd woman out for a week now after being disappointed by the whole bombastic enterprise, and I was a fan of the original musical. With the exceptions of Anne Hathaway, Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, I felt as though I were being assaulted by each actor's voice for an ever expanding eternity. I enjoyed Hugh Jackman for approximately 10 minutes and then grew terribly weary of the vocal scenery chewing. Russell Crowe was intolerable. Like listening to a set of modulated boat horns played by a seal. Amanda Seyfried was all nails on chalkboard, without even the decency to sustain her pitchy scratching long enough to contribute to essential harmonies that were dropped altogether. I could go on, but I don't want to revisit it further in my memory. Suffice it to say that I'm with you, Ken, and then some.

Kirk said...

"LES is more."

Ha!

Mac said...

I wasn't planning to see this unless I was strapped to a chair with my eyes held open like the guy in "A Clockwork Orange." So now I'm even less keen to see it.

Phillip B said...

Saw it with my spouse on her birthday. At least there will not be multiple sequels...

Always had a problem with long movies and, thanks to Judd Apatow, comedies are now longer than 2 hours as well. That's asking a lot.

Friday question on the length of comedies- Given the increased number of commercials on broadcast TV, is it time to try a hour-long sitcom?

iain said...

Having seen the stage production, I really couldn't imagine a more depressing way of spending a couple of hours, unless someone decides to greenlight "Old Yeller, The Musical."

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine posted this on FB. I haven't seen the movie yet, and I'm not sure I want to, but this review is great:

“'Les Misérables' review by Sam Richardson…….Went to the movie with the wife. We saw this obscure movie I had never heard of—some French foreign film. They must have been giving away tickets because the lines were out the door. Anyway, the movie starts and Wolverine is singing his guts out. Then Catwoman starts crying and singing, and it’s all very moving. The only problem was the girl next to me, who had apparently read the book or something, starts singing along. It was very distracting. So Wolverine is on the run from the Gladiator because Catwoman had a baby at Borat’s house, but now she wants Wolverine to care for her. Time skip. A bunch of kids get shot, and in the end everyone dies. Four stars."

Chris said...

I hated "Les Miserables" (for more reasons than even you, Ken. Amanda Seyfried? What was that? Was she auditioning for the theme park production of Snow White?). Even so, I would still rather watch it again than have to sit through another viewing of "This Is 40."

Wendy M. Grossman said...

David Whitham: I was about to say the exact same thing. Halfway through TITANIC - which I was only at because I had a couple of 15yo German girls staying with me who just had to see it AGAIN - I went to the bathroom and found there another escapee. That boat sank faster in real time...

wg

Paul Douglas said...

As a long time fan of the show, I was excited to see the film. I loved it.
Enjoyed the changes, and additions, saddened by the cuts, in awe of the technicals, and Ann H.
Sat feeling drained when the film was over.

And after all that, read your review....

you're not wrong.

Larry said...

I think it would be helpful if, on all promotion, they put: WARNING--THEY SING THE WHOLE THING!

Ken Minyard said...

So if you didn't like it on stage, what made you think you'd like the movie?

Gene P. said...

Me? I liked it. Was it over the top? Sure, but so are most musicals and operas. It comes with the territory. Can Crowe sing? Not like a trained professional, so I suspect they sacrificed the music for a marquee name, which is too bad. One interesting observation -- I was actually able to follow the storyline more easily in the film version than the musical, which I saw twice. Bottom line -- this was theatrical grandeur on the big screen and I accepted it as part of the bargain to hear some of the best songs in the business. Definitely not for everybody, but plenty to like if you are a fan.

Rich said...

I'm going to have to go with "Anonymous" comment, Russell Crowe can't sing, but more then that he is NOT my image of Jovert. Jovert in all the stage productions I have seen is tall, thin with a look that could kill on it's own. Even with that, I was able to enjoy the movie until I heard Amanda Seyfried sing. If anyone could get past the "Minnie Mouse" over the top vibrato, they must need new batteries for their hearing aid. Overall I loved it. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, definately Oscar performances.

rosebud said...

My momma always told me "Les Mis as Les Mduz"

BBL said...

Ken,

You may want to have that prostate examined or try some Saw Palmetto. One of your glands must be inoperative. This movie, story, actors and entire production ripped my guts out and threw it in my lap. Maybe I'm sensitive, but Anne Hathaway's soliloquy went well beyond performance art.

YEKIMI said...

Reminds me of "Mamma Mia". I like ABBA tunes and thought the cast did an admirable job....until Pierce Brosnan opened his mouth. I looked under my seat to see if a couple of cats had started mating. He's the main reason I didn't buy the soundtrack to it. Was looking forward to see "Les Miserbales" but not if Russell Crowe sounds like he's giving birth to a yak. Plus the fact that it's 2 1/2 hours? I'll have to wear my extra-absorbent depends to make it through a movie that long!

Paul Duca said...

I await the commentary of Tallulah Morehead...

Ken Levine said...

Ken Minyard,

My wife and daughter wanted to see it. And I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised. By the way, they both loved it.

One final thought: I sure miss hearing you on the radio. Talk show hosts today can't touch you!

XJill said...

My litmus test for Les Mis was "am I crying during Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" and I was so it passed, but...

+it felt 5 hours long
+the direction was horrible
+RC didn't bother me too much but Stars is my favorite song and it was...not good

I'm still waiting for reviews from someone who has never seen the stage version at all to chime in.

RCP said...

Having recently endured a local production of Les Miserables on Ice, I wasn't sure I could deal with yet another version - even if it does feature Hugh Jackman...

But seriously folks...after reading and enjoying Ken's review and the variety of opinions being posted here, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and see if for myself. I will also publicly confess to having enjoyed Titanic - despite James Cameron's often cringe-worthy dialogue.

Hollywoodaholic said...

The movie did what the musical could not do - give us the close up expressions and emotions of the performers, for better or worse. I think, as a movie, this is as good as you could get the musical. But there's no substitute for the live production for sheer power of this color wheel of the emotions of life.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I felt the same way about Avatar, I could not WAIT for it to end!

As for Les Miserables... eh, I'm tired of Anne Hathaway always playing whores any way.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of the musical and I was hugely disappointed with the movie. I will never watch it again.

Wayne said...

Borat had the only song that sounded different.

Aurelia said...

What interesting choices did the director make? The whole movie was one closeup after another of someone singing and chewing up the scenery.

DwWashburn said...

You can't say Miserables without Miserable.

Matt Patton said...

The one bright spot in all of this is that, as likely as not, this won't set off another run of over-long, over-produced adaptations of Broadway hits. The SuperMusical plague of the 1960's probably killed that off good and proper.

But it sounds as if, even in the case of this film, the itch to throw mounds of money at the screen when making musicals still hasn't died. I suppose Les Miserables, given how complicated the story is, would cost more than most, but since the 1960's, the first thing that most of the folks making a movie musical seem to acquire first is a bicycle pump; what might have been very enjoyable as a modestly-scaled enterprise becomes ponderous when it runs over three hours and has a cast of thousands (especially when those thousands are jumping about with forced grins on their face). I suspect that the original 1938 film of Pygmalion could have been financed on what Cecil Beaton spent on hats for My Fair Lady (Pygmalion with songs--and hats), and the best scenes in the whole overblown enterprise are the ones that Shaw wrote for his original play, most of which involve only two or three people at a time. Indeed, one of the few musicals to come out of the 1960's (besides Mary Poppins), was A Hard Day's Night, which has a Cast of A Few Dozen, but more importantly a lot of good songs and a funny script. Somehow, I doubt that you could have worked The Beatles in to Les Miserables. Oh well . . .

Emma said...

I've never seen the stage version, and I was so excited to see the movie, but Hugh Jackman was such a let down. He didn't have the lower range for most of the songs, so instead he talked through them.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised by Russell Crowe--he provided a more human dimension to Javert that wasn't evident in the book. I also think that Samantha Barks did the best rendition of On My Own that I've ever heard, and I think she stole the movie.

The directing was terrible. There was so much amazing scenery and costuming, but we didn't get to see that because almost all of the songs just showed a close up of the actor's face instead of showing action or the surroundings. Scenes cut back and forth far too quickly and the jump between characters was awkward and abrupt. A lot more could have been done to ease the transitions.

Overall, it was worth seeing, but Hugh Jackman was irritating and from a visual arts side, it was poorly done. Supporting characters and most of the music made the film worthwhile and enjoyable.

KABC fan said...

Ken Minyard? THE Ken Minyard??!!

Mary Stella said...

Les Mis is my favorite musical. Even though I love Hugh Jackman, I went to the movie with real trepidation. I wasn't swept away like I am every time I see a stage production or the 25th or 30th anniversary specials on PBS, I was still moved enough to cry at least four times in the theater.

Anne Hathaway was amazing. She deserves every award, even ones for which she isn't nominated.

I thought Russel Crowe was outmatched but a someone else pointed out that he played the character as extremely tightly wound and repressed, so his singing reflected that portrayal.

After hearing her in Mama Mia, I dreaded Amanda as Cossette. She was actually better than I expected.

Hugh was solid, but I'm spoiled by having heard people like Alfie Boe and Colm Wilkinson sing the part. Speaking of which, I loved that Wilkinson sang the role of the priest.

For me, the only huge disappointments were Cohen and Carter as the Thenardiers. While their choreography in their big song was clever, they played their roles more seriously than the actors I've seen on stage. I felt like their number actually lacked adequate humor.

All in all, while I'll never buy the cast album, I enjoyed the movie enough that I'll watch it again if it ends up on HBO.

slummingitforthelord said...

Yes. Russell Crowe is not such a great singer. However, I had absolutely no problem with his singing. Personally I thought it suited his character, and therefore found it effective.

Norm said...

Thank GOD I didn't pay for the film (the girl friend did and it was only $7.50 a ticket).

I've seen the play THREE times and LOVED the PBS 10th Anniv. concert. I'm surprised Colin Wilkerson - the original JVJ and priest in the film - didn't strangle Jackman, who phoned in his performance.

Russell Crowe was AWFUL: he does NOT have the pipes for a show like this.

I thought the movie got MUCH better in the 2nd half when the REVOLUTION-squad came along. The pipes behind this guys and gals were more like it.

YES, it was toooooooo long.

AND YES, how could they screw up MASTER OF THE HOUSE like they did. SBC took all the fun out of it.

$$$-wise this looks to be a loser ($65M and down 15% already).

Very, very disappointing. (Maybe if I see it again in 48 Frames?)

Lorimartian said...

Just saw it today. I saw the stage version three times. Maybe for that reason, the length did not bother me. I thought Hugh Jackman did a good job, although I agree that Alfie Boe was spectacular in the 25th anniversary concert. Jackman's "Bring Him Home" had no nuances (see Alfie Boe's rendition). I was happy to see they cast Samantha Barks as Eponine from that concert. She is wonderful as is Eddie Redmayne.

I tried to go in with an open mind about Russell Crowe. In all the stage versions I saw, Javert had a deep bass range which gave his this character added weight. So that element was missing from this interpretation. I thought he did a good job in the suicide scene.

I did not see Mama Mia so I didn't know much about Amanda Seyfried's singing. Definitely too lightweight for this film, just like Nick Jonas was out of his league in the 25th anniversary concert.

I saw Gary Beach portray Thenardier on stage. Fabulous. Missed the rollicking quality of their scenes but it was fun to see how they fleeced their patrons which you can't really see on stage.

Filmmakers also pulled an Andrew Lloyd Webber -- composing a new song that would be eligible for Oscar contention --"Suddenly".

All in all, I was satisfied with the film...entertained and moved to tears. I wouldn't buy the soundtrack because I have previous stage recordings that are outstanding, but I would watch it again.

Anonymous said...

It is my favorite musical (also was my first ever) and this movie was a disappointment, especially after seeing Hugh Jackman in Olkahoma on PBS. He was fabulous there, here he was okay, except the "Bring Him Home" song I though was great. Anne was great with I dreamed a dream and that sequence was great. But Russell Crowe ruined the entire film for me. Javert has my favorite songs and he ruined them all. I had to run and find my Broadway cast CD right away to wash him out of my memory. It really was a disappointment, but I hadn't expected that much from the film.

ec said...

my quick choppy review for the fellow fans: 'bring him home' is supposed to be in the sewer while marius is DYING, not while he's just taking a nap (i was so annoyed when that happened, it distracted me for a while). gavroche didn't sing the whole part of 'little people' when he busts javert so it's not as sad when he dies singing it later. they left out the lead up to 'little fall of rain' when marius says "it's everywhere" about the blood. nice they kept the part of enjolras dying hanging from one leg. kind of cool that they left eponine out of the finale song and it was only fantine - but i love the sound of the two voices and was looking forward to it. loved colm wilkinson - wish he had more of a role. empty chairs at empty tables was a close second to i dreamed a dream. thought eddie redmayne was good in my week w marilyn but i'm a true fan after seeing him as marius. was not expecting to hear or see javert's back break on that concrete ledge - and he should have been singing "onnnnn" while falling. one of the saddest parts was when valjean tries to lift his trunk into the carriage and falls. mr thenardier isn't supposed to hit eponine - he tells his friends not to - but it worked the villain angle. liked how russell crowe was walking on the rooftop edge during 'stars' - just wished they'd dubbed a real singer's voice on top or had him sing it in a studio. why not gerard butler? probably would have been cheaper too... thought hugh jackman was meh but i couldn't think of another actor offhand who could have pulled it off better. can daniel day lewis sing? he has the perfect look for this movie. or jeff bridges. or COLM WILKINSON!!! all in all, i will definitely see it again. and again. and again. the play and the movie. the story is beautiful from any angle.

Pat Reeder said...

I'm a big Broadway musical fan, but never understood the cult for "Les Miz." It was one of those shows from the period when everything had to be overproduced, overly serious and feature some giant special effect (falling chandelier, helicopter, turntable, etc.) I recently got free tickets to a concert saluting the composing team, featuring a lot of big names like Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Lea Solanga. It covered all their shows, but concentrated on the most popular, "Les Miz." The singers were all great, but by intermission, I'd had my fill of big, bombastic, semi-tuneless ballads that all sounded alike, and there was still another hour to go.

This is yet another reason to thank God for Mel Brooks: he gave us "The Producers," which brought comedy back to musical comedy and finally ended the vogue for these giant marzipan operettas.

Beardly Mustachington said...

Howdy Ken,

My top resolution for 2013 is to uphold writing as a job, and to therefore finally obtain a job as a writer. I find treating my passion as a daily job on a strict schedule keeps me motivated. A related resolution is to finally catch up on your blog (I'm a couple months behind).

To that end, will you again grace us with your comedy spec recommendations for 2013? Program deadlines are fast approaching and I'm struggling between a few choice shows. I value your insight, as I suspect many readers do. Thanks!

Bob Claster said...

People, who know I love musical theater, keep asking me about LES MIS. So here's what I've got to say. I hope it does really well, and that more musicals get made, especially ones like this where the singers really sing. It would be a shame if it did badly enough that it affected future musicals in development. I hope that people come away from it intrigued by the whole form of the musical, and explore further, experiencing shows with much better scores and songs than those of LES MIS. Kids: go watch MY FAIR LADY and WEST SIDE STORY. (And the video, not the film of SWEENEY TODD.) Then let them make an awesome movie of CAROUSEL with Hugh Jackman (though the ending does need a little work). And let's hope that the Rob Marshall-helmed movie of INTO THE WOODS that's in development does justice to that brilliant multi-layered material. But the songs and score to LES MIS are just really dumb.

Anonymous said...

Too much bombast instead of gravitas, clowns instead of humor, duration over timing, production numbers over songs. I was already tired of the ads claiming it as the most important musical of all time, continued through the talk shows and stars "sacrifice", the excessive running time and the idea that this is all "authentic", as if a recording of singing live can't be heavily tweaked in post production - it is assisted even on live stage!
Everything is over-stated, like Anne Hathaways mouth subsumes the reign of Julia Roberts.

Johnny Walker said...

Jeez, you make me feel really unambitious, Ken! My only Resolution was to write more (and concentrate on finding the fun in writing).

My main aspiration is to find the woman of my dreams and settle down.

I suppose you've got both of these things taken care of though, so maybe that leaves you with more free time... Right? (Okay, you're just more ambitious than me.)

Here's the tips I give to anyone about to watch THE WIRE (I'm someone who LOVED it, but can understand why some people didn't make it to the end of season one).

1. The show is an exercise in "book style" storytelling. That is to say, each episode is closer to the chapter of a book, than a story by itself. And like a book, not much happens in the first few chapters: You're introduced to characters and the situation, but by the time you get to the end, you'll be unable to put it down.

Short version: Be patient! It gets better. (Yes, it's slow for the first five or so episodes.)

2. Subtitles are your friend... or they were for me. This viewer found that the Balitmorean accent and slang made it difficult to understand what's being said at times.

3. Pay close attention. Unlike most shows, THE WIRE doesn't insult your intelligence. It doesn't spell things out for you, and it doesn't repeat important bits of information at the beginning of every act.

Most of all, everyone (from police detectives to street drug peddlers) talk how they do in real life: Which is to say, they don't walk around explaining to each other what their jobs are. More than enough information is given to follow what's going on, but it requires you to think. (I'm sure you'll have no problem with this, but if you get to episode four and have no idea what's going on - as I did - it means you still have your brain in "usual braindead TV" gear, and may have to start over - as I did.)

THE WIRE is largely based on the real-life experiences of people in their particular fields. If you've ever wondered what crime is REALLY like. Or how the police REALLY operate. This is it. It's the antidote to 24 and CSI.

Fingers crossed I haven't made it sound too boring, because it's also the most enjoyable and engrossing TV show I've ever watched.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Johnny Walker said...

Oops, wrong post! My bad!

Anonymous said...

"Oh good they shot the kid, we can go home now...WHAT?! 45 more minutes?"

If this is the kind of comment that landed you the "Best Blog" of 2011, there is NO HOPE for this country. Sad...

Anonymous said...

"Oh good they shot the kid, we can go home now...WHAT?! 45 more minutes?"

If this is the kind of comment that landed you the "Best Blog" of 2011, there is NO HOPE for this country. Sad...

Mike said...

I felt the film really could have used an intermission. I needed a break from the non-stop singing.

Anonymous said...

Why are so many people shocked and upset there was so much singing?? Its a musical!!! If you didn't know that to begin with you really shouldn't be complaining about it. Do a little research before you go to a movie that has such a meaningful point. That's like saying there were too many robots in Transformers. Its what the movie is about! Second, sure some of the casting surprised me too but all those people went through tons of auditions and voice training for the part and the producers felt they were the best choice. I'm sure you all can sing better... and I'm also sure you all have managed to make it big being Hollywood movie producers, those actors were playing the roll of normal people who happened to sing, and that's just how it came across. And they all sang their hearts out!

Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Jackman and Crowe were both just okay singing. Neither one particularly impressed me, but since Javert doesn't have nearly the vocal demands, I personally though Crowe pulled off his role better.

Don't get me wrong. I liked Jackman in the role and I liked the live singing, but Bring Him Home was a disappointment to me.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I finally got around to seeing it today. I've seen the play twice and loved it. The movie was okay: I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I thought Russell Crowe's voice was about equal to Jackman's. Anne Hathaway was great, as were Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, and Aaron Tveit. Why has no one mentioned Aaron Tveit? He was terrific. Amanda Seyfried's voice was really thin, and both Crowe and Jackman hit some clinkers. Also, Jackman's voice was thin. Usually Crowe is a good actor, if not singer, but I don’t think he conveyed the angst he felt before he committed suicide or the passion of his big number under the stars. And, as someone else commented, they took all the fun out of “Master of the House,” which is usually the most fun number in the entire play.

The thing that bothered me the most at the beginning was the herky jerky camera and the unending very-close-ups. I didn't mind them so much later, but at the beginning of the movie, I didn't know how I could make it to the end.

Would I see it again? No. Am I glad I saw it once? Yes, because it was at a $5 matinée. If I had to pay full price, I would have been very, very disappointed.

Valentina said...

A lovely story, beautifully told and acted with lot of intensity. A perfect cut from the direction. A strong screenplay and powerful dialogues make this movie almost perfect. Not to to be missed. A perfect watch!

Anonymous said...

I saw the stage show twice, once in NY and again in Miami. My wife and I recently saw the two part TV series with Depardieu and Malkovich on netflix and enjoyed that mostly because there were no commercials and the story was done well. This cinema version was for the hardcore Les Mis goer. It would be hard to follow if you didnt not have the story committed to memory and just wanted to experience a new way to see it on a grand scale. We went to Ipic to see Les on Friday. The bad part was two fold. We could not get premium seats at the theatre (think what you want about that), so we had the "cheaper" not so cheap seats which were very uncomfortable. And 2, my wife got off the red eye from CA that morning, was tired and said the plane seat was way better. The good part was the theatre manager took pity on us when we walked out after the first hour, and to our surprise gave us a refund. Way to go Ipic!!!!! THANKS.
I ALMOST DROPPED MY PHONE WITH THE WOLVERINE AND CAT WOMAN POST. AWESOME.

Subzero2013 said...

There was a time when actors shined,
When their voices were aloft,
And their singing, inviting.
There was a time when the audience wasn’t deaf, or blind,
And the screen had songs
And the way the songs sung exciting.
There was a time,
Then is all went wrong.

I’ve seen the scene that Anne won by,
Where she tried
But life was missing.
I screamed that Crowe would just die;
I dreamed that Hugh could be forgiven.
Then I was bummed, for twenty I paid;
My dough and time they stole and I wasted.
There’s no refund I’m afraid,
For songs ill-sung by names profitably pasted.

“But the actors sing it live!”
The media voices yelled with thunder,
As publicists play their part,
As they turn their screams to shame.

DVD’s coming this summer for fans to buy,
To fill their days with anxious wonder:
“Is this really better than live?”
But his cash was gone when autumn came.

And still I dream plays on screen are good to see,
That stage and film can mesh together.
But there are dreams that cannot be,
Good actors don’t mean the singing’s better.

And singing is a musical’s reason to be,
So different from that hell that I was watching.
No different now from what it seemed,
This flick has killed me with the scenes I’d seen.

William McFarlane said...

Bill said:
I thought all of the singing was just fine...in life not every single person has a Broadway voice or any voice...this was reflected in the movie. I did wish however the male lead was one of the ones with the big Broadway voice. I agree there were some epic scenes and some well directed scenes, the sets and costumes were wonderful. I really wanted to love this movie but I didn't. I think this work does much better on the stage. It works on the stage. It doesn't really work on film. I am sure those of you out there with more expertise in film than me can tell us why it sort of works sometimes but in the end as much as we want it to, as much as we are pulling for it to work, it really doesn't.

Supercords said...

I couldn't agree more. Pure torture having to sit through this one, just for the sake of saying I saw all the Best Picture nominees. Terrible!!

Shane
MovieWorship.blogspot.com

Maggie Benjamin said...

Subzero: hysterical!
Ken, I could not agree more, with every single thing you said about this flick. I could go on for days, lamenting about all that was wrong with it. Too many close-ups, too! TOO MANY!
It's actually more of a beautiful thing than a frustrating thing to me, how vastly a play or musical can change on film, with the ability to toy with close ups and Point of View...
I feel like this only solidifies my feeling that theatre and film have no need to compromise for each other on the grand scale. Each have their own peculiarities that makes them unique and unforgettable, and just because something doesn't work on film doesn't mean the musical isn't fantabulous. Take, for example, War Horse. I never saw the play but believe me you I was forst in line to watch it once it came out on DVD. (Note: waiting till DVD. It's a scary thing as a theatre-geek to watch movies based off of plays/musicals because I get the magic! But again, in War Horse the movie, the sublime was missing. The sublime would've been furnished by watching the skill and expertise of the puppeteers and the fact that this is all literal and not CGI. Anyway... I digress. I have a resume to work on.

Anonymous said...

Just saw this and it was awful. Everything was weak. Did not care about any of the characters or the revolution. At least I know not to pay attention to that show ever again.