Pavlov's Cat (othellia) wrote,
Pavlov's Cat

Thoughts on Les Miserables, the Movie

So I pretty much have to start with I think the musical is flawless, so most of this will be comparison between the musical and film as well as my thoughts on each individual actor. I'm mostly acquainted with the 25th Anniversary in terms of soundtrack I listen to most often, so if you see a lot of comparison's with that in particular, now you know. (Also Norm Lewis and Alfie Boe are a spectacularly fantastic Javert and Valjean who - not only shine in their own right - but really mesh well together as a forever encircling yin/yang.)


General Movie Thoughts:

- No really. It was the most adorable thing ever, and she and Hugh Jackman had so much father/daughter chemistry together I wanted to watch all of their scenes over and over and over again.

- They made Thenardier's Colette/Cosette slip up a running gag throughout the movie; I'm still decided on whether or not it stayed funny or was dragged out a bit too long.

- It was extremely graphic in parts, especially in the Master of the House sequence, which included vomit, a guy going to the bathroom, and Santa having sex with an elf girl. The sewer scenes at the end were just pure YUCK. At one point Marius and Valjean got submerged in excrement and were both just literally covered at the end. Also, Javert committed suicide at this very shallow point in the Senne where the water level changed, so there was a very audible CRACK that rang out as he hit the water/river's bottom. (Personally I didn't think all of that was necessary.)

- There was a strange aversion to the word "winter" in the movie's song lyrics. I caught at least three separate instances where they changed "winter" to something else and can remember two off the top of my head. And yet winter itself was still portrayed with snow and ice and everything.
----At the End of the Day: "And the winter is coming on fast, ready to kill" was changed to "And the plague is coming on fast, ready to kill"
----Come to Me: "Don't you see, the winter wind is crying" was changed to something about the dawn IIRC

- A lot of the individual character songs (On My Own, Stars, etc) were shuffled around and lyrics - like I mentioned - were changed, which I didn't mind so much... with two major exceptions:
----On My Own: This was shifted forward in front of One Day More, and Eponine's scenes were rewritten so that Gavroche delivered the letter to Valjean, which - honestly - I didn't mind too much. (She was actually given a much more heroic death, tbh.) The part I didn't like was that they cut out all the opening lines of On My Own, thus changing the feel of the song. You almost need the "The city goes to bed... and I can live inside my head" to sort of open up Eponine's own ethereal dream world, a parallel to Cosette's childhood castle on a cloud. The images she paints with her lyrics are one of a beautiful Paris at night, even in it's loneliness. And THEN that fantasy gets ripped away and she admits to herself her own delusions in just wanting to hope. Starting off with her crying down a rainy street sort of dampens the entire effect of the song.
----Come to Me (Reprise): Towards the end of the story, Valjean is dying and gives Cosette a letter with his last confession on it. In the play he sings "It's the story of those who always loved you. Your mother gave her life for you, then gave you to my keeping." In the film, Fantine isn't even mentioned and it's all about Valjean's past, which felt extremely exclusive, seeing as how Cosette doesn't know much about her mother at this point either. It's only one half of the story and underwrites Fantine's sacrifices.

Individual Actor Thoughts:

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) - He had really great facial expressions and chemistry with the other actors around him, but I just could not stand the way he sounded. Which sucked because so much of the movie/songs revolved around him. Once again, I bring up Alfie Boe who is phenomenal. (I don't care if it makes me sound like a stuck up fan.)

Javert (Russell Crowe) - I heard a lot of negative things about him going in, but he really wasn't that bad. He had a pretty solid voice. The only downside is that he wasn't very expressive. He can act and he can sing, he just needs to improve on acting through his singing.

Fantine (Anne Hathaway) - NAILED IT. She was a much more quiet and bitter Fantine than I've seen before, but it totally worked.

Thenardiers (Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen) - If you've seen them in Sweeney Todd, you've pretty much seen them in this. HBC channelled a lot of Mrs. Lovett into her performance as a poor, apathetic, swindling shopkeeper. Lovett was a lot nicer to stray kids though. To give HBC credit though, it's hard to follow someone like Jenny Galloway who I swear is in, like, half of the official recordings ever.

Young!Cosette (Isabelle Allen) and Gavroche (Daniel Huttlestone) - I don't know what it is about musicals and child actors, but they always seem to be able to pick out the best. Both of them were wonderful, and - as I've mentioned - I especially adored the scenes with young!Cosette. Her role was greatly expanded from the play version, and she and Hugh Jackman really worked well off each other. (Gavroche didn't get his Little People song, fyi.)

Marius (Eddie Redmayne) - Pretty solid voice although there was something a little off about his diction. I don't know if it was an accent or what. He positively shined in Empty Chairs though. His lips remind my of Burn Gorman's.

Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) - She was a bit breathy with a very noticeable vibrato, but I thought it fit the character fine. At points it did seem like her notes just cut off rather abruptly. I assume they planned it that way, but sometimes it sounded like "ran out of air" cut off instead of "planned to stop there" cut off.

Eponine (Samantha Barks) - FLAWLESS. I am so, so fucking glad they went with her instead of Taylor Swift. I already knew her from her performance in the 25th, so it was really interesting listening to her parts. (Same singer. Difference adaptation.) A lot of her lines really resembled each other; she was very consistent in her phrasing and which words and syllables got stressed, but a lot of the dynamic levels varied from stage to film.

Enjolras (Aaron Tveit) - Ramin Karimoo is my ultimate Enjolras, since he just emits this feverous passion, but Aaron did a good job as well. Although it was more of "blend in" job than a "stand out" job.

Whew... and I think that's it.
Tags: fandom: les mis
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