Title: Les Misérables
Based on the book by: Victor Hugo
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried
In 19th century France, Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who escaped from lifelong parole who has been hunted by Inspector Javert, agrees to adopt the child of an ex factory worker-turned prostitute, Cosette. That fateful decision changes their lives forever.
Okay. So I for one have no idea how that summary even applies to the movie. But well then.
I was a fan of Les Miserables from way before there was even talks about a movie. I finally got to watch it live on West End when I went to London for holiday. And I thought Eponine was brilliant. What what even more brilliant was the fact that my Eponine performed at the 25th Anniversary Performance.
She became Eponine in the movie. I freaked. So I totally freaked. And the rest of the cast was star-studded. Beautiful. But I had a few reservations, because the cast consisted mostly of movie stars who weren't that well known for their singing talents.
So I finally got to watch the movie, and let me tell you, I was way wrong. For the most part.
Let us first examine the production for this movie. The costumes and sets were perfect, of course. Realistic dresses mixed in with enough color and exaggeration to make the musical element plausible. It did win an award for the makeup, right? I can't comment on that much further. And all the huge gatherings at the barricade were awesome. I felt like exploding. And the camerawork was great, working together with the actors to create a dramatic atmosphere. Perfect.
Now. Let us talk about a very important part of the movie. The singing, and by extension, the casting. In my opinion, some parts were cast perfectly. For example, Anne Hathaway. She was seriously dedicated to the role. She lost a ridiculous amount of weight and cut her hair and all that. Awesome. And her singing (she's classically trained) was fantastic. That was probably the part where I cried the most. She managed t perfectly convey the desperation and agony her character was going through.
Hugh Jackman. He played Valjean. He was extremely dedicated. He lost weight too, and his acting was marvelous. My one issue was his weird voice. It was a classically-trained voice, but it was really weak. And thin. But I guess that's alright because it's a movie. But he brought more emotion the character than any other Valjean I've seen.
Other great singers in the cast were Eddie Redmayne, who played Marius (his rendition of Empty Chairs and Empty Tables was heart wrenching) and Aaron Tveit, who played Enjolras (Oh my god that guy is hot and his songs were so inspiring, I felt like starting a revolution.) Samantha Barks' singing was perfect, because, well she did perform it on stage, though her acting was a bit...eh.... because she's mostly a stage actress. But it was great. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen were hilarious as the Thenardiers. But I thought they somehow fell short of the theatre versions of their characters. On stage, they're portrayed as more ruff and comedic. While the comedic element was there a lot of the time, they weren't as visually hilarious as their stage versions...Next, Amanda Seyfried. Her voice was sweet and conveyed exactly what Cosette needed, but it was sort of thin and whiney at the same time. It was alright, I guess.
And now. GAH time.
Russel Crowe, m'dear. He initially didn't want to play Javert. And he shouldn't have. There are plenty of good singers out there who could play Javert so much better. Alright. I won't judge. His acting was actually alright, although it wasn't as raw and open as the other actors. But I guess that's in line with Javert's character. But his singing. That guy can't sing. He barely hit the high notes for Javert's part, and his voice was gravelly and rough the whole time. I mean, for that last note, before he jumps, the stage version is that he's supposed to hold the note as he jumps. But no. NO. *headdesk* You could have cast a better singer.
Yeah, so there. I won't comment on the plot, because it was written, literally, in 19th Century France. So I really can't comment on the plot.
Grade: B+/A-. It was an amazing movie, with a few casting problems that kind of ruined it, but otherwise awesome.