Monday, January 13, 2014

Les Miserables [2012]

Okay, this is the Japanese poster, but I liked it. Despite the fact that Jean Valjean is totally giving us the death glare. "Grrr!"
And Javert looks like he smelled something really rank. But to be fair, he almost always looks like that.
And I did my best to translate the white caption on the side, and if my Kanji dictionary is to be believed, this reads- "The Power to be able to Love and Live"

When I watched this movie, it had been a while since I listened to our CD recording, so it was kind of like a re-introduction to the story, in fact it was partially the reason why I read the book (the other part was that it was sitting there on the shelf calling my name.).

So... For the most part, I really liked it.

I really liked all the things they kept in from the book. It makes the movie feel like a fusion of both the musical and the book together, which is really neat. It helped to flesh out the parts of the stage play that wouldn't have worked on film. The execution of the story was really good, and I loved the way they moved Stars to before Look Down/Paris. It made for a really cool transition.
The sets and costumes were really well done, too. I loved the Rue Plumet garden and the Barricade.
Look at that, it's just lovely, isn't it?
Hm. Coffins. Subtle. Very, very, subtle. I wonder which
student thought it would be a good idea to put those
Okay, I'm very interested in filmmaking, specifically: Cinematography. When I watch a new movie, Cinematography is outranked only by the Soundtrack in terms of what I'm anticipating. In this movie, I thought the Cinematography was sort of a mixed bag. I thought the crane shots were really powerful, and there were a few scenes where I was just blown away. Like in Stars for example, in the second verse, there's a shot where the camera goes in a half-circle around Javert. It's shot from below, and you can the sky around him, and it looks really neat.
Then there was the jitter-cam and the extreme close ups. I thought the jitter-cam was effective in the battle scenes, adding to the chaotic feel, but sometimes it got a little hard to tell what was going on. And as for the extreme close ups... Well, they were fine when they weren't too close. But there were  a few shots where I was like "AH! PULL BACK, PULL BACK!!"

Now. The Music.
I thought that they did a stellar job with the orchestrations. Seriously, they were beautiful! The one complaint I have is that usually there's a flute solo at the end of A Little Fall of Rain, but in this they give it to a violin. Hey! No fair! That was the only flute solo in the whole thing! But that was compensated for during In My Life and A Heart Full of Love. The flute in those songs sounded like butterflies, and I think that flute actually does fit Cosette better. XD And excellent use of Cello, Piano, and... heck, every instrument.
Oh, I feel like I'm forgetting something... something important... oh right! The performances... give me a minute to find out all the actor names. :P

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman)

 His singing was a little patchy sometimes. I thought he got a bit off-key sometimes, and when singing Bring Him Home, he looked and sounded like he was in a bit of pain. That having been said, his acting was great, and so was the rest of his singing. I loved the way he acted the scenes with Cosette. They have a really good Father/Daughter dynamic, and I think that Suddenly really amplified that. (Sniffle... that was such a sweet little song.) I think he does my favorite versions of Valjean's Soliloquy and Who Am I. You know how in the latter song, the actor usually belts out the line- "I'm Jean Valjean!"? Here he sort of just says it, but I thought it was really cool. He sounded like he totally meant business.

Javert (Russell Crowe)

Okay, it took me a while to get used to his voice. It's very different from what I was used to hearing, but after a while it started to grow on me. I feel like Russell Crowe brought out a side of Javert that isn't usually there. He seemed a lot more thoughtful and calm than usual. There were scenes where he just was Javert, and others where... well, I don't want to be uncharitable. But let's just say that the scene where Valjean let him escape from the barricade was interesting. But overall, I thought he was pretty good!

Fantine(Anne Hathaway)

I am not allowed to say anything bad about Anne Hathaway's performance unless I want the secret service to kick down my door and drag me off to Room 104. But in all seriousness, I think she did a pretty good job with the character. I love how her Fantine didn't just sit around and let herself get fired, she was literally dragged out! She had a certain toughness about her, and I liked that. Her singing was pretty good (when she wasn't sobbing), but I felt like she could have been a little more... I don't know, less sobby with I Dreamed a Dream. Okay, I'm gonna hold up in my room until the angry mob leaves. ;)

Cosette(Amanda Seyfried)
I hate to say it, but she was originally the reason I was reluctant to watch the movie. XD But now, ironically, she's one of the reasons I like it so much. Her Cosette is very well acted and sung, you can see how much she loves and respects Valjean, even if she gets impatient with his secretiveness. The lyric changes in In My Life helped too. And her acting during the Epilogue... oh my goodness, it was so heartbreaking.

The Thenardiers(Sacha Baren-Cohen and Helena Bohnam-Carter)
They were pretty much like the Book Thenardiers. Really disgusting and slimy. But they were still really funny at times, even if I think Monsieur Thenardier had an irritating fake accent. Seriously. They're all French! And nobody else talks like that. Just him. Why? [eye twitch]

Marius Pontmercy(Eddie Redmayne)
Well, let's just get this out of the way now. I thought his voice sounded like Kermit the Frog, and I wasn't exactly fond of it. Now that I've got that out of my system, allow me to say that I liked his acting. He was so adorkable in A Heart Full of Love, the way he was stumbling over his words, it was so cute! And his performance in Little Fall of Rain... wow. His version of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables was pretty good (aside from the aforementioned Kermie voice.), but I wish that he hadn't looked STRAIGHT into the camera. [shivers]

Eponine(Samantha Barks)
I loved Samantha Bark's take on Eponine. Her singing was really beautiful, and her acting was more than just being sad. I also noticed some rather strange eye twitches, and you get the sense that she really resents Cosette. Of course, she wasn't mentally unstable like in the book, but she was tough. I like how in Attack on Rue Plumet, after she screams, she totally hits Thenardier. Her version of On My Own was so pretty, and even though it was softer than other versions, it's still just as powerful. And I loved A Little Fall of Rain. I don't even care that they cut half the lyrics, I loved it.

Enjolras(Aaron Tveit)
As was the case with Javert, he was really different from the guy on our CD. Where CD guy was all hyper and loud, this guy was more calm and thoughtful. In that way, I think he was pretty close to Book Enjolras. I like how he had more emotions than just being loud and obnoxious (But I still love you, CD Man! Whatever your name is!), and his singing was fairly decent. My sister describes his voice as sounding 'Like a Muffin', and I think I'll just leave it at that. He has some really good Blink-And-You'll-Miss-It moments in The Final Battle, helping guys into the Wine Shop, etc. And he was comforting Marius at the end of A Little Fall of Rain. :D

Gavroche(Daniel Huttlestone)
I liked this kid, he was good! I had a minor problem with him, and that was that sometimes it's a little hard to tell just what he's saying behind his charming cockney accent. (Why do French orphans talk like Charles Dickens characters?) Something I really like about Gavroche is that he's just as brave as (maybe even more so than) the grown-ups he hangs around with, and I think this came across quite well in the movie.

The Verdict: A
I was forced to deduct points for Master of the House(it was funny, don't get me wrong, but YIKES! I do not remember it being that rude.). But that's pretty outweighed by all the stuff that I did like about this movie. The sets, the actors, the orchestrations, the actors, etc... I loved the way it took the stage play and adapted it so well for the cinema. It was neat how they stuck in little odd details from the book and melded them in, too. Huzzah!

-Xochitl (why do I even bother with the alias anymore if I accidentaly stuck my real name in a comic? XD)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I have enabled comment moderation, but you have nothing to worry about unless your comment has swearing, vulgar language, or is rude and uncourteous.
Feel free to subscribe to follow-up comments, since I'll probably respond sooner or later.
Oh, and if you're commenting with the anonymous setting, please leave a name or alias at the end of your comment, so that I can have something to call you. :)