Thursday, February 14, 2013

Les Misérables (2012)

As a musical film, this version of Les Misérables is rather disapponting. When I see a musical film, I expect to see the songs sung properly: the melody are sung well(some spoken parts here and there to enhance the acting are understandable) and the lyrics can be heard clearly. However, in this movie, acting is put first; it's okay to sing and weep at the same time, with the result that the singing is weak and the dialogues cannot be heard clearly (unless you are a fan of the musical and know the lyrics by heart). I think this is something between regular drama movie and a musical movie, where the writer is too lazy to write dialogues for the characters and borrow them from the musical.

I am even disappointed with Hugh Jackman. I know he could do better than that. I watched him in Oklahoma! and I knew the guy could sing. Russell Crowe was also disappointing. I am not a fan of him, but I was impressed with him in Virtuosity and I watched several of his movies and knew he was a wonderful actor and that he had a band. Perhaps the director told them to play it that way? Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop of Digne almost didn't sing either. Of the main actors, I think Samantha Barks did the best job, and the guy who played Grantaire.

It is not that hard to sing properly and act at the same time.

At first I thought Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter did a good job, but the song 'Master of the House' apparently had been shot and edited many times. It was hard to see what was going on (unless you have the DVD to pause again and again) and in the end it looked unnatural to me. It's over the top.

I like the additional parts, which are not in the original musical, such as: Marius's grandfather appearance, Fauchelevent's opportunity to return Valjean's kindness, Valjean buys a big doll (Catherine) for Cosette, Javert's chase at the city gate, Gavroche brings Valjean Marius's letter.

After Fantine sells her hair (I prefer that she is a blonde. The book says 'The gold was on her head and the pearls in her mouth'), she sells her teeth. I believe 2 of her front teeth were taken because it's said she was ugly after. However, when she sings 'I Dreamed A Dream' I see all her teeth are there.

The ending is so ordinary. I hoped that because this was a movie, special effects could be used. Couldn't they make the spirit of Fantine look better than that? And after that, when 'Do You Hear The People Sing' was sung, I hoped to see Valjean and the deads in heaven... They will live again in freedom, in the garden of the Lord. ... not in the streets of Paris.

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