Sunday, December 30, 2012

What I Thought about "Les Mis" (SPOILERS!!)

Well, I've seen the musical a couple times before and have the music on my iPod, so I've listened to it enough times to know the lyrics and know the story enough to know what's going on. I wouldn't say that I've listened it enough times that I've become super-obsessed with the show. I like it, but I don't LOVE it like any other "Les Mis" fan would admit. But that doesn't mean that I didn't like the movie when I went to see it. Here are the things I liked about it (feel free to skip over this post if you haven't seen "Les Mis"/you don't want the whole franchise ruined for you b/c you're such a huge fan):
  1. Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine. Heartbreaking and passionate, which deserves an Oscar (PLZ!)
  2. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers. 'Nuff said.
  3. How the movie set its tone. Instead of the happy, bright mood that the musical usually goes through, Tom Hooper went for the dark and gritty underbelly of the French Revelation (?), which was very refreshing than the happy-go-lucky, "even though some people's lives sucked in this play, it's totally fun!" attitude
  4. Tom Hooper bringing people like Colm Wilkinson and Samantha Barks, who've done "Les Mis" so much that they know everything about the play, into the main casting
  5. Hadley Frasier was in it! If you missed it, he was the soldier from the opposing force in the Barricade fights with the manly mustache and yelling all that stuff about "you have no chance, no chance at all, etc."!

Of course, where there's good, there's bad stuff. Prepare to break down and cry at my accusations, "Les Mis" fans.
  1. Hugh Jackson as Jean Valjean. Didn't really work with this choice of casting. I mean, I kinda know why they did it, since he's been on Broadway and Hollywood for a number of years now and has a built-up career, but it didn't work. I really, really wanted to laugh out loud whenever Hugh was belting out a climactic solo because he sounds like a singing goat instead of the grand voice that the previous Jean Valjeans gave the audience. My respect for Hugh (whatever was left) has gone from watching him as being Jean Valjean for about three freaking hours.
  2. Not that much time on the Thenardiers. This was a HUGE problem for me because I consider the Thenardiers as a treasured "Les Mis" classic. I mean, they spread out the Thenardier couple and their humor so much in the play but in this movie, it's just like "oh, here they are and we need to go back to Hugh Jackman's awesome-azing singing". I would have loved it if Tom Hooper had spent A LOT MORE time on Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers. I probably would have laughed harder at all the jokes that were being sped by.
  3. The camera shots. Some of the choices for the camera shots bothered me. There's this one scene at the very end that had a person on one side of the screen and a huge chunk of empty wall space on the rest of the screen. It was really distracting.
  4. Here, I should be criticising how Russell Crowe wasn't a good-enough Javert and how he can't sing, blah, blah, blah, but I actually liked him in this role. Sure, he wasn't that great of a Javert, but he was better than other stars would have been. I certainly thought that he did better than Gerard Butler had in that cursed POTO movie (a bit off the point, but I digress). Anyway, I liked Russell Crowe as Javert.

Anyway, go see it, but expect a lot of cringing. Dream of a better Dream, or go see the 25th anniversary concert.
<3, RS