Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Review - Les Miserables Movie
Of course I enjoyed it - I'm a Les Miserables fanatic. But it was not perfect.
This is a review of the movie for those who know the story, know the musical, and can even name many of the actors. This review spoils everything, does not review the story at all, but rather the mechanics, the casting, writing, and filming.
Here's what was great:
1. New Song: "Suddenly" was very needed because it finally gives Valjean a reason to care so deeply for Cosette. Before in the musical, he finds her, takes her away from Thenardiers, and then suddenly loves her like a daughter with no explanation.
2. Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop: Having the original Valjean in the movie was genius. He sang it well.
3. Adding Marius' Grandfather: It was a needed addition to the story line to show how Marius can have this rich extravagant wedding and care for Cosette well.
4. Gavroche: He was amazing. His face and singing was perfect. The moment with Javert and the pin was very touching. My personal favorite addition was the fact that Gavroche lives in an elephant statue. That is taken directly from the book, and I appreciated it.
5. The Revolution scenes: They look so real. The war is real, the despair is real, and the outcome is real. Tragic, and real. It was well filmed
6. Javert toe's the line: During "Stars" and "Suicide" he literally toe's the line on the ledge, and the symbolism is deep.
7. Fixing the ending. They finally took Eponine out of the song when Valjean is dying and going to heaven. It never made sense. Replacing her with the Bishop made it a great ending. (I wrote a whole blog post about this before)
8. Many singers: Marius, Enjolras, Grantaire, Cosette (old and young), Eponine, Gavroche, the Bishop, and Fantine all did an amazing job. Madame Thernardier sang it exactly like the concert version - which was great. Valjean and Mr. Thernardier were good. Javert was fair.
Thing that they messed up:
1. Russell Crowe. I think they should have cast someone else - but even so - they screwed up worse. They added new lines just for the movie, they were lines that were only going to be sung by one person (Russell Crowe) in one movie. WHY did they write them in a high octave?!?! They made Crowe sound ridiculous by writing him high notes to sing/speak when they could easily have written them in his range. That was dumb.
2. Changing "I have bought your soul for God." They made it "I have saved your soul for God" instead. The book and the original say "bought." Why change it?
3. New lines being sung with odd melodies. Many of the new lines were important, but the music was poor, and they sounded very forced.
4. Bring Him Home - Sorry, but Hugh Jackman couldn't sing it high and soft like it needs to be. He had to belt it out to make it work - which ruined it.
I thought was a very good movie. It tells the story very VERY well. It all makes sense, it is emotional, and it draws you in and makes you weep. I'll buy it. I wasn't perfect, but I recommend it.
To prove how much of a Les Miserables nerd I am:
Here are the prediction I made about the movie back in September
Here is my abridgment of the entire book (500 pages)
Here is my comparison of Valjean with Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof