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When thinking of my least favourite genres Horror and Musicals come to
mind, so as you can imagine I wasn't exactly ecstatic to see this film
but I ended up very impressed with one of the better musicals I've seen
in my life. I think for the most part this film was very impressive,
it's not without its flaws but found this film to be very much worth
the watch. When Tom Hooper won the Oscar for The Kings Speech the only
thing that really bothered me about that was the fact that it didn't
really put his talents on full display but their front and centre here,
all the musical numbers and character direction is perfect, it really
did make you believe the dire situation that these characters lived in
and it truly proved to me his talent as a director. Hugh Jackman was
absolutely brilliant in this film, not only is his singing voice
fantastic but he carried a real burden and shame with him that Jackman
perfectly portrayed. Few performances limited performances have
impressed as much as Anne Hathaway in this film, her absolute emotional
destruction was perfectly conveyed through her performance and created
for some truly emotionally tragic scenes. When I hear bad things about
Russell Crowes performance all I can do is scratch my head, I thought
he was amazing in this film, he was a true antagonist who was not all
the different from Valjean and I though Crowe brought true complexity
to the character. This film also looks stunning, all the French
streets, dirty alleys and poverty ridden areas truly gave out an
impression that truly hooked me. But I don't think this film base some
issues for one, after the first 20 minutes the film failed to really
grip or interest me, it slowed the film down completely and seemed to
spend to much time devoted to setting up the final act rather than give
a compelling narrative of its own. The run time is also a bit excessive
and the pacing drags quite a lot for me. Also seeing as it is a film
called, The Miserable it's got a lot of really sad scenes that while
obviously need to be there just don't make me want to go back and watch
Everything from a technical and performance standpoint in this film is incredible, it's one of the best looking films in recent memory, while there's not a whole lot to drag me back to watch this again it's definitely a film worth watching that truly leaves an impression.
Wow, just wow. I didn't expect much coming into this movie, though I am
an avid lover of musicals. The French Revolution just didn't appeal
that much to me, but two hours later when the credits were rolling down
the screen and tears were rolling down my face, I realized how wrong I
Les Misérables is a movie based off a musical based off a book, and there's a reason this story has so many adaptations. It's a romantic tale with many thoroughly developed characters and story lines all woven together with music. Oh man, I've listened to the soundtrack a countless number of times already.
The actors are perfect in their imperfections. Since the songs were sung while filming rather than lip-syncing, they are able to convey more emotion, and emotion certainly is the one word that comes to mind when I think of this movie. Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream" is especially heart-wrenching and gave Hathaway a deserved Oscar.
Just--it's good. It's really good. If you enjoy musicals or historical movies, you'll probably love this as much as I do. 9/10. Great stuff.
"Can you hear the people sing?" Audiences can hear the people
sing...but at times, they may not want to. Adapted from Victor Hugo's
novel and the musical of the same name, Les Misérables, or Les Mis,
sings loud and clear with its star-studded cast, all while exploring
themes of righteousness, redemption, love, and forgiveness.
Les Misérables stars Hugh Jackman, supported by Oscar winners Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Eddie Redmayne. Set in France, this musical drama begins in 1815 and spans nearly twenty years over the course of its two and a half hour run time. Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is released from prison, but is put on parole for the remainder of his life. Because of his criminal record, he struggles to obtain a job, shelter, or good reputation, and decides to make a new start, destroying his parole papers and going into hiding. Eight years later, Valjean has become mayor of a small town and a factory owner, but is shocked to cross paths with his old parole officer, Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Seeking to live a godly life, Valjean provides care for his former employee (Anne Hathaway) and her daughter (Amanda Seyfried), all while running from his past.
Les Misérables is a true form musical; nearly the entire film is sung. While this makes for a unique film experience, muffled lines and the complete lack of spoken dialogue can oftentimes cause confusion regarding plot details. The music takes advantage of the leitmotif technique, giving each character a short "theme" that they sing recurringly. Each theme is linked with its character and creates an identifiable musical identity.
The film focuses on character, using their lyrics and leitmotifs to show viewers the thoughts and feelings of each character. The characters were well rounded and developed nicely. Although singing to express emotions is a straightforward way to develop characters, it is incredibly effective at allowing these characters to become relatable. For instance, when a character sings "I love him," audiences immediately know the mood and feelings of that character, and can focus on how that character's actions, expressions, and words relate to that phrase. Jean Valjean, the protagonist, is somewhat of a tragic hero. Although he does not experience a transition from good to evil, he experiences relatable emotions (fear, sadness, love) and tragedies (imprisonment, loss of loved ones, running from the law).
The music is the centerpiece in the film, but it never quite hits the mark. The beautiful accompaniment is often hidden beneath sound effects and vocals, and the singing itself was often breathy and out of tune (although to the actors' credit, the music was sung live during filming, not recorded in a sound studio). The sets and costumes were the true showstoppers, elaborate, well- made, and giving the film a realism that it could have never achieved as a stage musical. The cinematography contained a few unique angles and shot selections that contributed to the musical nature of the film. Oftentimes, the singers stared either directly or indirectly into the camera, as if they were singing to the audience (not unusual on a stage, but an odd choice for a film adaptation). There were also many wide shots and aerial views of Paris, which would normally be an impossibility in a stage performance.
As a whole, the film's acting, score, and set design were exquisite, but the poor singing scattered throughout proved to be a major distraction. The film (PG-13) requires a mature audience; it contains some suggestive material, but also explores deep themes beyond the grasp of most young viewers. Despite the scope and effort behind the film, Les Miserables can't quite reach the high note it strains to achieve.
Most people may not be good at spotting this but if your social circle
includes actual singers you'll know what I'm referring to. The acting
was good but the vocals killed the movie for me. It was also a little
too slow for my personal taste. The movie score itself was obviously
superb, can't really argue about that.
On a side note: as others eluded the actual musical (the original) is superior in almost every aspect. But if you're into "mediocre singing" this movie might be just what you're looking for (it sure made me cringe a couple of times when Russel Crowe opened his mouth).
Final remark: sometimes more is more (especially when it comes to post-production editing in terms of the audio).
p.s. not all vocal performances were equally bad. Some were OK but sadly Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman's performances undermined the entirety of the few good performances, I'm afraid.
I have been a big fan of Les Miserables since I was very young. I
remember watching the 10th Anniversary concert on PBS as a kid and just
being blown away by the singing, the music, and the story. I became so
transfixed by it that I had my mom buy me the unabridged version of Les
Miserables by Victor Hugo and read the whole thing .... twice.
With all that being said, I was really excited to see this movie. The previews made it look great. I had seen the last version of Les Miserables with Liam Neeson and had been thoroughly disappointed afterwards, especially with the ending. I was really hoping that this one would take the ending further, like the concert does. On that aspect - I was not disappointed at all. The production, the visuals, the costumes, it was all very good. I loved the ending, and I loved the cameo by Colm Wilkenson at the beginning (who played Valjean in the musical). What I did not like was the singing. Yes, they inserted some great big actors to get interest ... but they can't sing worth anything. They can sing better than I can, but when you watch the concert and then you watch this, the songs feel somewhat ... emptier. I was highly disappointed that the casting decision had been aimed more at big names than actual musical talent. Songs that are supposed to be overwhelmingly powerful have been reduced so much that almost none of the emotion you want to feel can possibly be expressed, due to the lack of both the vocal range and the vocal power of the actors.
It was a good try .... I suppose for those that never watched the concert it would be very enjoyable. For us life-long fans ... not so much. I am going to stick with the 10th anniversary concert.
When it comes to Broadway musicals and basically theater in general
ranging from opera to Shakespeare. It's the form of storytelling I
haven't really been as immersed into as films, books, TV Shows and even
video games from time to time. I can see why people enjoy it, it's just
as someone who spent 2 years being in the orchestra of a really
amateurish theater group I am not really apt to sit down and watch them
when I really know nothing about the scene of what's good and what's
not in the area I live in aside from the one amateurish group. So, I
decided to use this movie as a jumping on point to arguably one of the
top 5 most celebrated musicals ever. For me, I may watch a stage
version... However, I didn't really like this.
Okay so the plot (and also a big problem) Jean Valjean is a criminal who stole a loaf of bread, this catches the attention of Javert, a guardsman who becomes obsessed and to say he's strict about the law is an understatement. He gets his parole but he can't get work because he's unfairly judged, he then finds peace when he enters a church and attempts to steal silver but the priest lies when they catch him doing it and this causes Valjean to change his ways. 8 years later he's mayor for an unexplained reason and in a factory he almost settles a dispute because of a worker trying support her kid but gets distracted by Javert visiting which causes the worker in turn to get fired and sell everything of hers including hair, teeth and eventually herself. Javert has suspicions about Valjean but catches a false Valjean but then the real Valjean clears up his name and he meets the fired worker in his factory and he promises to take care of her child and dies. He decides to do this by taking her from thieves who take advantage of the fact that she can work and they evade capture by Javert, then the movie skips 9 years and we're only in the first third of the movie... I'll stop now, I think you get the point.
Okay, the story has too much plot in it! I heard this is supposed to be a musical of heart but the filmmakers seem adamant to try and keep everything in AND a song to get them a "Best Original Song" Nomination. I'm not a fan of this musical in the sense that this is the only version I've seen but while it's not hard to follow the characters don't even stop to build on their character enough to have me care, leaving us with 2 and a half hours of the broadest possible brush you can give any character. Sometimes the actors do pull through something for me to latch onto in terms of a dramatic moment but it's nothing concrete except for Anne Hathaway as Fantine (who by the way has only 12 minutes of screen time). Either way, I think in order for development and caring to come through they should have cut stuff out.
Okay, what else? The live singing at times hurts the music. I like the music for the most part (in the sense I hated the original song they put in) and I just think they should have recorded singing multiple times because while there are okay notes being hit, more often then not I think "They really should have done that twice". I also don't like the cinematography and editing. The cinematography especially considering the locations they got and how good it SHOULD look has some insane insistence on using close-ups and shaky-can. Close-ups that quite frankly I believe a Dentist would be able to tell what condition their teeth are in and also able to tell how long ago it was since the male cast members last shaved, the shaky cam combined with this should be self explanatory as to why I don't like it and the editing is the "It moves so fast I can't see anything" type. it gets worse as the movie goes on though.
So what did I like. Well despite the plot needing a huge cut down I do like the story, I think the actors do well and I quite enjoyed the music even if I didn't enjoy the singing 100% of the time. So in a way this movie has convinced me to see other, better versions of the musical adaption. I'd say this is something to miss if you haven't already seen the play and even then I'd suggest seeking out other versions. While it has good elements a lot drags the movie down.
Thought parts of this film outstanding. I wasn't enamoured by all the casting. Some offered great marquee value, but mediocre vocal value. Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and actress playing Epinome were brilliant. For a musical to be turned into a film, this was one of the better one's I've seen, but still prefer this one live. Nothing beats seeing the volume of live singers on stage singing One More Day and Do You Hear the People Sing. The film can't capture close to this. Aside from that stylistically, I disliked the number of close ups and found the fact that they went in and out of focus as the performer moved singing irritating. Really pulled me out of the film.
For fans of the musical, it is spellbinding to watch Les Miserables finally come to life on the big screen. However, for the typical movie goer or even a fan in retrospect, it's clear that the movie doesn't know quite what it wants to be. It's a mess of gloomy, gritty sequences mixed with animated, silly, or downright ridiculous imagery. Although there are some great voices, the majority of the film consists of terrible singers, which feels so out of place with all of the great instrumental. Mix in some awkward, unbelievable CGI long shots and strange, uncomfortable camera angles, and now we have the Les Mis movie, and we aren't going to get a new one any time soon. However, the film is better than most of the movie musicals that we get. And, at the end of the day, Les Mis is like pizza. Even when it's done poorly, it's still pretty good.
I don't CARE which "represents the book" better; what matters is the
movies! I have't read the book, and I'm not about to start. But as far
as STORY goes, Liam Neeson's version takes the cake! I will say that if
you like musicals, you may get a kick out of this flick. But I think
this film is overrated, and it did NOT make me "cry".
I really deeply feel the 1998 with both Geoffery Rush and Liam Neeson was atrociously missed by the Academy Awards!
What I felt what the remake's biggest weakness was it was RUSHING over a lot of important plot points of the story, and there was hardly any emotional connection - and just sugar-coated it with all the singing.
I really found it odd that both Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were brought into this; I almost felt Johnny Depp was soon gonna show up! As far as I know, both these two nearly RUINED the movie for me, if was supposed to be FEELING anything serious.
And Anne Hathaway... oh my word, I couldn't LOOK at her, for almost looking like a female Gollum; again, HOW does she become the "most desirable woman" after having her teeth pulled & her hair cut??? Neither did I like it when she was singing - I thought she was gonna open her mouth and EAT me. She was *barely* in the movie, but Oscar in hand, bizarrely. (And I'm certain she's rather overrated as an actress, though I kind alike her during her "Princess Diaries" years.)
To be fair, this film does have a good score - and have a couple of them on my iPod, but also as well as the soundtrack for the 1998 version.
A lot of the actors, I rather don't really like or care about; and plus, I just can't see Russell Crowe as a bad guy (Javert) - Geoffrey Rush was a WHOLE LOT more convincing as a menacing villain. Eddie Redmayne played a rather dimwitted and less attractive Marius in this version, than the guy back in the 1998 version; he just randomly sees Cosette and and just falls in love; how CLUNKY! And Amanda Seyfried is just another actress I don;t like for her reputation. Just about the whole CAST is unlikable!
Oh and the "boy who gets shot" in the story, it really shocked me in the original when the boy got shot by the troops; I gasped, totally saddened. But the boy in this adaptation... oh my HECK was he annoying - all his singing & mannerisms were just undeniable irritating! Instead I was like "Thank You!" when he was shot.
And and WHY is the camera man horrible at his work!? Too much close-ups of people's faces, wobbly frame, out of focus shots, etc. Somebody should fire him!
Though many years later, I do thank a Les Miserables remake is necessary, but I think they did a mediocre & clunky job, IMO.
Again, 1998 version was so much better than the 2012 version. The 2012 version was so pushed and in your face like damn it cry already. If you have good acting and good direction you don't need that extra push because it can happen naturally. And more than 50% of the singing in the 2012 version sucked. They chose certain Broadway actors but some weren't and their singing hurt my ears. And if you are going to do a musical don't talk during some of the most beautiful singing parts that was just dumb on their part. The acting was so much more powerful in the 1998 version and they didn't have to sing what was on their mind for you to understand what they were going through. I love the Broadway/concert version too but out of the film adaptations 1998 version is far better than the 2012.
But I talk in full detail about the films compared in this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NiJT9mQzok
The 1998 version is the best! Watch it and enjoy it!
PS: And the ending made absolutely NO friggin' sense whatsoever! I thought this "Free France Heaven" where everyone who died is a live was just laugh-out-loud ridiculous!
Oh god. Let me start out by saying that I have seen what people seem to
say is the best version of the stage production on DVD, but I have not
read the original book, so I am essentially speaking about the musical.
I personally extremely dislike the story of Les Mis. First off, the
book looks like its longer than the bible, so the idea that you can
cram all that into a 2 hour and 30 minute movie or a 3 or 4 hour stage
musical is crazy.
With both the film and stage version, the plot of Les Mis is all over the place. First its about a man who stole a loaf of bread for his sister and was arrested, but then he is release and he steals some stuff. Forget the sister, cause we gotta cut to 8 years later with no info on anything in between! Now he's a mayor. He feels bad for a woman who he kind of was mean to and now he is taking care of her kid. BOOM MORE YEARS LATER! Suddenly we are focusing on a revolution and the character drama becomes more of a side plot. We also don't get any explanation for the revolution except "we're poor and we don't like rich people so lets make a wall out of chairs and kill soldiers", which is not good for people who have little knowledge of the French revolution. The movie seems to have so much to deal with that it just decides to fly around like a drunk bird hoping we get the idea. I'm sorry, but under the assumption that the book is better, the film and stage versions of Les Mis are a complete mess plot wise.
Lets talk about the music, seeing as it is a musical. One issue I have is that although I kind of like musicals, I find it hard to take seriously a musical that is singing about a serious subject matter. It feels odd when you sing about someone dying. Musical like Grease or The Producers allow you to have fun with the songs. This movie uses the music to make you feel...miserable. All of the singing was done live on set, and it shows. While this style of filming greatly benefits the actors ability to give strong acting performances, it can make their singing take a serious hit. I felt that Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks were the only too that let their emotions in their acting also benefit their singing and make both work. Occasionally Hugh Jackman did, but I feel like he sings kind of strange. Russel Crowe is good in certain moments, but can also be fairly monotone, which I understand is kind of the style of singing for that character, but still. In the end it feel that live singing while acting doesn't work for everyone.
A big plus in this film is its costumes and some of the sets. The costumes look very good and even the makeup and hair, except for Eddie Redmayne's character who seems to have some kind of hair gel, which they do because he's supposed to be the heartthrob for young girls (except he looks more like a frog with spikey hair). The sets can sometime feel quite real and well done, but other times feel fake and very set like, or even use too much CGI and feel unreal.
In the end, this film just doesn't work. It feels rushed and is so bloated with plot that it feels like it goes on and on and on. Also, I have never hear so many English accents in France. I understand that this happens in Hollywood films where they take place in Europe, but it really just seems insulting when the film is so heavily about France and the FRENCH people. I wouldn't recommend this film. Go see a fun musical, because you will be quite happy that you did instead of watching this.
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