Les Miserables (2012)

I saw the local high school perform Les Miserables, went to the concert screening at the local cinema, watched the non-musical film with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush, and read chunks of the novel.
I obviously enjoy the story, I prefer the musical version because believe it or not compared to the novel it is a feel good experience!
I’ve seen the new Les Mis film once at cinema and recently on DVD.
I like it, it delivers and I wasn’t left with any overall disappointment.

I thought Anne Hathaway as Fantine was the best performance of the movie and “I Dreamed A Dream” made me cry, yet I was surprisingly unmoved by her death scene – I’d like to watch it again without distractions, see if I can really get into it.
Everyone else was fantastic, including Russell Crowe – I occasionally wanted less calm to the character, I thought he’d deliver his lines with more aggression, but his singing was as fine as any one elses.
I wasn’t a big Marius fan but “Empty Chairs At Empty Tables” was perfect.

Honestly, I expected a little bit more from Hugh Jackman particularly his vocals in “Bring Him Home” but that’s my favourite song so maybe I’m picky.
I found his accent and some of the directing in the “is there another way to go” scene jarring, but it’s still really touching and they were probably going for a really honest portrayal… he’s torn, his feelings are hectic, and he’s a less educated man than later in the story.
I also struggled with when they changed lines or what lines were said and what were sung, it was a little awkward… There were some lines missing that I really like too, like “as for you, take this too”.

The stand out scene in the film to me is Valjean and Javert’s duel, it’s incredible, it has so much depth in the lyrics.
I also love Enjolras’ death, but I probably embellish it with the novel when I think about it (viva la revolucion!)
Other good visual moments are the flag dragging along the ground and the fade from the river to Marius’ grandfathers house.
A scene I did not like, however, is the transition between the opening scene and the church, I think… “lets see what this new world will do for me” – the music was all wrong and I felt nothing.

Now, to the original song “Suddenly”… well, it doesn’t harm the film overall and it even expresses some touching sentiment otherwise unsaid.
The good – “trusting me the way you do, I’m so afraid of failing you”… Theres the touching sentiment I mentioned!
The bad – “how was I to know at last, that happiness can come so fast”… This shit makes no sense, you’re just rhyming.
Also, it’s easy to paint a creepy picture of Valjean in my head. And kinda amusing.

Oh yeah, I did not like Valjeans last words
“It’s the story
Of one who turned from hating
A man who only learned to love 
When you were in his keeping.”
Excuse me, what about Fantine? Her ghost is standing right there!

8/10 shiny things


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