kaitak From Ireland, joined Aug 1999, 12562 posts, RR: 35 Posted (1 year 10 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2517 times:
The new movie, Les Mis, with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Ann Hathaway, opened on Christmas Day in the US and in the UK on January 11th (I can't understand why that was the case, as it is a British made movie). Anyway, that aside, I was wondering what people who had seen it thought of it.
I've seen it, myself, and I have to say that after waiting for it for well over a year (and fearing an anti-climax), it was one of the best movies I've seen it years. It was everything I'd hoped it would be. Hugh Jackman was superb in the title role (funny that he plays a 6' tall easter bunny in his next movie, "Rise of the Guardians"! - bit of a change!), Anne Hathaway was mesmerising as the tragic Fantine, so many other highlights:
- Colm Wilkinson, the original Valjean, as the bishop - a beautifully sung role too, and nice to see he hasn't been forgotten
- Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the comically villainous Thenardiers - superb performances both
- Samantha Barks as Eponine - another beautiful voice
- Eddie Redmayne's fine tenor voice as Marius
- The overall look and cinematography
- The new song, "Suddenly" - wasn't sure about that, but it's growing on me
- Russell Crowe's Javert. Wasn't sure about it voice first time around; it is growing on me too, but I still don't think it compares to another famous Australian Javert, Philip Quast.
It's a film I'd happily watch over and over again and I hope it does well at the Oscars. I can see Anne Hathaway winning one for her role; HJ should, but I think Daniel Day Lewis will give him a tough run for his money, for his role as Lincoln.
Aeri28 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 709 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2500 times:
Quoting kaitak (Thread starter): The new movie, Les Mis, with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Ann Hathaway, opened on Christmas Day in the US and in the UK on January 11th (I can't understand why that was the case, as it is a British made movie)
It's still a Universal Studios picture. If it were only released early for Oscar consideration, it would have been released only in New York and Los Angeles, but it went nationwide Dec 25. But that's beside the case..
I enjoyed it. Knew ZERO about the play, just that it had to do with the French revolution, but I love musicals and plays and theatrics and all that and much more lol.
I thought it was stunning. Very beautiful. I actually was moved when the trailers were released several months ago and looked forward to it. You absolutely cannot wait for this to come on DVD. It deserves to be seen in a proper theatre with a big screen. Even the opening with the ship is powerful and awe inspiring. Anne Hathaway was a revelation, and her number in the film showed well her pain and abandonment. I have no opinion on the stage version, broadway or west end, on previous singers. Hugh was wonderful too, and I had heard mixed reviews on his "let him live" (?) song, some were saying he was not powerful enough, some said he overpowered the song. I dunno. I thought it was quite moving and one of the best in the film. My opinion. And I really did not mind Russell Crowe, I'm no operaphile so I was not concerned he be a great singer, psuedo singing for his role was fine by me. lol.
At first, when I left the film I did not particularly like Sasha B Cohen and Bonham Carters parts in the film. I thought it odd comic relief, but then again it WAS comic relief and was quite welcome. Initially I had thought "my god, I continually see Helena in these types of roles, and I am expecting Johnny Depp to pop into the film any moment". Oddly enough, there was a trailer playing for a Johnny Depp film (with HBC co starring) , some western, Lone Ranger or Tonto or something, and there they were together, minus Tim Burton. I also thought SBC and HBC scenes reminded me too much of Sweeney Todd, the scene where they're preparing the food, completely reminded me of the Meat Pies from Sweeney Todd. But in hindsight,they probably added a nice distractioin from the drama of the film.
[My pedantic comment], so basically pay no mind: Since it was primarily a British background cast, I found it a bit odd when that young kid spoke/sang in a very strong cockney'ish accent, can't remember his name, the martyr, the one where Javert places a medal after he [SPOILER] ...................... is killed. I wondered how a cockney got into the French revolution. And it very well may not have been a cockney accent . It's just one name I pulled out . To you, he probably had no accent lol. It was almost as if the thought was "let's show this kid to be the lowest of social classes, so we'll give him the strongest english working class accent there is to portray a french kid who is the lowest of classes". Again, remembrances of "OLIVER" came to mind . "Please sir, can I have more pudding?". I think an attenpt at some accent would have been appreciated. But I am a francophile so that is probably just what I viewed. Probably the same for the above Helena and Sasha scenes (and probably why it reminded me so of Sweeney Todd as HBC played the role in that). Maybe they could have got Marion Cotillards son to play the part? I remembered a similar incident with that film "the Boy in the striped Pajamas/Pyjames". They werer playing Germans but all had English accents even the little Jewish concentration camp kid. I guess I don't see too many British film set in foreign countries playing foreign characters. A nit picky comment or two, but it stuck with me. And yes I do see many English films. Mike Leigh is one of my favorite directors. [/My pedantic comment]
Overall, I am pleased that it has been a successful film. Even here in Honolulu it was on several screens and was packing them in. Imagine that. A singing film. Very teary eyes throughout the film (including mine). I actually loved reading several of the reviews from average ordinary movie goers who were ' a mess' after watching the movie, or 'inconsolable" or "who started to cry at the very opening of the film and had to be escorted out the theatre at the end" lol.
Braybuddy From Nepal, joined Aug 2004, 5793 posts, RR: 32
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2493 times:
Quoting Aeri28 (Reply 1): British background cast, I found it a bit odd when that young kid spoke/sang in a very strong cockney'ish accent,
It was a British production which opened in the Barbican in London twenty eight years ago and cockney accents were used to differentiate between the classes. The show was panned by the critics at the time, and I'm sure this was one of the reasons, but the public loved it and it sold out by word of mouth.
Haven't seen it yet but hope to go next week and I'm looking forward to it. Love the music from the first time I heard it and love it still. It's a classic.
tootallsd From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 562 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2487 times:
I've had the good fortune to see the stage presentation several times in several cities. I've taken friends to see it because I think it is one of the best musicals ever staged. I love the story. I love the fact that you laugh out loud and cry. I think the music is brilliant. I love the lyrics. Yeah everything, OK?
I was also VERY excited when I saw the first trailers. You're always afraid when a favorite moves from one medium to another. How will it make the transition. Will the best elements make the leap? Does it become something different?
I thought the movie was stunning. From the first scene until the last -- I was hooked. I can happily recommend it.
I loved the fact that all actors did their own singing and live. Clearly Russell Crowe was the weak link but his presence in character made up for it and in balance he was fine. I would say the big difference between the stage and movie versions is that at the movie I heard all the lyrics very clearly. This deeply enriched the experience and added depth to my understanding of the story.
Goldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6092 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2366 times:
Quoting Aeri28 (Reply 1): I found it a bit odd when that young kid spoke/sang in a very strong cockney'ish accent, can't remember his name, the martyr,
Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 2):
It was a British production which opened in the Barbican in London twenty eight years ago and cockney accents were used to differentiate between the classes.
The funny thing about Gavroche---for those of you who have not read the book---is that he is the Thenadiere's son, who is shown to have a relationship with his parents in the book (a somewhat broken relationship, but still acknowledged,) but is totally disregarded in the musical.
I did like that Gavroche's introductory scene shows him, and a bunch of other kids, popping out of the head of an elephant statue. That's true to the book---even if the book barely touches upon the other kids and their history, and the musical normally ignores it due to budget.
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Ken777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8412 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2353 times:
Actually I was disappointed in the film. There were stunning scenes and obviously the music was wonderful (even though "unknown actors" in the traveling stage plays had significantly better voices than the movie.)
Biggest problem for me was that it seems to have been one song clip after another - sort of an MTV of the French Revolution.
The movie also had unnecessary violence - sufficient for us to tell our 11 year old granddaughter that she was not seeing that movie, even though it is one of her favorite albums.
There was a program (maybe available on DVD: Les Miserables: 25th Anniversary) that is a better performance - especially since those performers were from the actually stage show. It was a huge show because there was no need to toss in all the props, to film clips.
ANITIX87 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 3308 posts, RR: 13
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2352 times:
I'll start of by saying I liked the movie a lot, but disagreed with the casting.
It seemed to me that the casting was done with "big names" as the primary focus, rather than performance and singing.
Though Russell Crowe was great, I felt his voice struggled in some of the higher registers (he has a nasal tone that does well with lower stuff as in the start of Act II) but I think I would have preferred Gerard Butler in the role of Javert, personally.
I found Anne Hathaway to be incredibly disappointing (fine acting, didn't like her voice at all) and I vehemently claim that Amanda Seyfried didn't have the right kind of timbre and range in her voice to play Cosette. I would have preferred to see Nicole Kidman as Fantine (people say she's too old, I disagree) and someone like Emmy Rossum as Cosette for the soprano side (Rossum was trained in classical opera as a soprano).
I loved Hugh Jackman, I loved Samantha Banks (might have been my favorite song in the film because of her voice), I loved Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, and I loved Eddie Redmayne.
Overall, the production of the movie was just incredible. A gorgeous piece of cinema, but I've never been a huge fan of Les Miserables so it made it tough to really love the movie.
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I had some issues with the movie, most notably Russel Crowe's voice and his inability to sing the iconic Javert songs, and the problems with orchestration. I did love the live singing as they filmed. It worked much better than an overdub in the studio or lip syncing on set. I liked the addition of more of the book into the show, it answers some holes in the original musical. It will for sure become part of my collection.
PACOTS From Austria, joined Nov 2009, 11 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2261 times:
I have been involved with 2 different productions of Les Mis (1 professional, 1 semi-pro) in the last few years (though in the Lighting Department) and it's also clearly one of my favourite musicals. So I was very excited to see the movie at last - it isn't aired in austrian cinemas till end of february, so I had to use other sources.
I really loved the cameos:
Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop has been mentioned before
but also Frances Ruffelle (Eponine from the original London Cast) as one of the whores in Montreuil
Hadley Fraser (various roles in Les Mis in London, but mostly known as Raoul from the Annivery Production of Phantom of the Opera) as the army officer singing at the beginning of the final fight ("You're on your own, you have no friends, give up you guns..")
Kathie Hall (Cosette at the 25th Anniversary Concert) as one of the "Turning"-women washing the streets after the final battle
and of course a lot of actors known from other Les Mis productions (for example, I've seen the lovely Fra Fee, who performed as Courfeyrac, one of the students, as Marius in the Queens Theatre last year).
There are also a lot more references to Hugo's book than the musical is able to make. For example Gavroche living in an elephant statue and being the leader of a boy gang, Marius leaving his and later returning to his rich grandfather, Valjean and Cosette taking shelter and working as a gardener in the Abbey with Fauchelevant...
In the first few minutes the sound mixing bothered me very much - sometimes the (wonderful) music is more like a background sountrack then an intregal part of the movie (for example, the powerful Introduction/Ouverture isn't really noticeable), but I got used to it and looked at the whole thing as more like a film with music than a film musical.
I can't comment the singing (my profession is Lighting and unfortunately not singing , but most of the main cast did very well in my opinion. At least for a film
Of course, Russell Crowe is not Philip Quast and I've seen a lot of better singing Marius', but all of them were able to catch my heart and I really enjoyed the movie. And if I want to listen to a Les Mis production with good singers, I have a large collection of Original Sountracks ready...
JJJ From Spain, joined May 2006, 1882 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 2234 times:
Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 2): It was a British production which opened in the Barbican in London twenty eight years ago and cockney accents were used to differentiate between the classes. The show was panned by the critics at the time, and I'm sure this was one of the reasons, but the public loved it and it sold out by word of mouth.
But the original was a French production in, IIRC 1980. It's true that the British production added the prologue and some tunes were reworked (some were even sung by another character) generally using heavier orchestration but it was still originally French.
I like the idea to portray cockney as the working class accent, though.
planejamie From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2011, 576 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 3 days ago) and read 2210 times:
I loved the movie, but having seen the West End show, I preferred it live. However it is great to see it in full cinematic effect and I think the choice of cast members was excellent (except perhaps Russell Crowe to begin with, he grew on me later on in the film, great actor but not the best singer). Anne Hathaway was fantastic and Eddie Redmayne, well his voice and looks were excellent!
JetBlueGuy2006 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1662 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2191 times:
I actually had the fortune to be in the production in high school the year that Les Mis produced a school version, and have seen it on stage (the touring production) 2 or 3 times. It was a great movie. The only character that didn't grow on my right away was Javert, but looking back on it it was a very solid performance.
I think Anne Hathaway should win for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars, and I think would have a better chance it the Lead Actor and Best Picture categories were it not for Lincoln, which should take home for those 2 categories.
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Braybuddy From Nepal, joined Aug 2004, 5793 posts, RR: 32
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2129 times:
It must be ten years since I saw it on stage, so my memory of the characters and plot was somewhat sketchy, but the film seemed to flesh-out the tale much more than the play, which isn't surprising, given the constraints of the stage.
Hugh Jackman is a superb Valjean; indeed the part could have been specifically for him. Not only can he act: he can certainly sing too. And likewise for Anne Hathaway -- I'd only seen her act once before and rated her average. Her Fantine certainly blows that theory out of the water.
I really didn't expect to take Sacha Baron Cohen seriously as the innkeeper (and thought it wasn't going to work after he launched into Master of the House), but casting him, and Helena Bonham Carter, as caricatures worked wonderfully and provided some much-needed light relief, and there were even a few guffaws during the scene where he throws various animal and human parts into the mincer, which happened to be particularly topical given the horsemeat DNA story over the last week.
It took me a while to warm to Eddie Redmayne's Marius, but warm I did, partcularly during his powerful rendition of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, which sent a few tingles running down my spine.
This film is an absolute classic, and one that will be repeatedly enjoyed 50, 100 years from now.
There is also no ned to push it out of the 10 - 14 age group. My granddaughter has no problems handling the rougher parts of the story, just as she took to Jekyll & Hyde with out a problem. (That was in the first grade and her teacher grew a bit pale as she told the story to the class.)
Quoting Braybuddy (Reply 13): partcularly during his powerful rendition of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables
That is one of the best songs to come from the musical stage and it was performed so well in the movie.
Next week, in retaliation, Kim Yung Un and his military will be presenting the great original work of the party, Pyongalot, a comedy about five legendary comic heroes of the people's revolution, and their exploits against the evil south, including such hits as "Knights of the Round Turret", "Always look on the bright side of the DMZ" and "You won'tsucceed in Pyongyang" ...