First of all, I shall have you know that I have seen both the 10th Anniversary and 25th Anniversary versions of the broadway musical. As much as I try not to compare the movie to this, it is almost impossible. I will however keep in mind that it is a movie, not a broadway musical. It is going to be different, blah blah, etc, whatever. Ok, here it goes:
Wait! And there are spoilers. But seriously…….you don’t know what happens already?
Ok, NOW here I go:
Overall, the movie was good. Best Picture? No. Best movie I’ve seen in a long time? No. Will I rush to see it again? Probably not. Will I see it again? Yes. In theaters? No. Ok, that’s enough.
Let’s take a look at the Pros first shall we? (In no particular order)
1. Anne Hathaway: Perfection. Gonna win the Oscar. Best voice in the group. Done.
2. Eddie Redmayne: Way to steal the show man. Seriously top notch performance. Singing was beautiful. He was beautiful. If his rendition of Empty Chairs at Empty Tables doesn’t get him nominated…………..well the Academy sucks anyways so I won’t be surprised. But you get what I mean. Damn, that ginger was marvelous. (Now marry me so we can have freckled flaming red head babies) Done.
3. The dudes of the revolution…………Red and Black, Drink With Me, Do You Hear The People Sing……………all were sung wonderfully. And that guy who played Enjolras was great (hey isn’t he from Gossip Girl?), anyway, he was awesome.
4. The kiddos. Little Cosette and Gavroche……….don’t worry, I’ll adopt you and you can sing to me all the time. What great singers. Wow. Basically lost it when little Cosette whispers, “I love you very much.” THE most adorable children. So young and already better than most of the leads. Sigh.
5. Colm Wilkinson’s itty bitty cameo. They really should have just tried to make him look younger and have him play Valjean again. Oh well.
6. The new song: Simple, cute, sweet. Loved it.
7. Changes and additions to the story: For example, the little tiny addition of Russell Crowe balancing on the edge of the building during both his songs. It showed that he has always been miserable and living with the thought of “should I jump or not?” It explained his character a bit more. His conflict between what is right and wrong, the law, God, mercy, ability to change, etc. This guy is just one conflicted dude, and that little tiny addition was awesome. Also, anyone else think Cosette (older Cosette) was a bit (I mean a really tiny bit) more likable in this? It could just be me. One more example is the addition of Eponine turning herself into a boy while singing “one day more.” Not sure why that got me so emotionally. It was just so raw and desperate.
8. Cinematography, camera work, directing, editing………..well some of it. For example, Javert on the rooftop of where ever that was, the people singing in the street all filthy and nasty, the beginning of the song One Day More. Yeah, you have no idea what I am talking about. In simpler terms, some of the shots were lovely. Some were awful. And now that brings me to the cons.
CONS: I apologize in advance.
1. Hugh Jackman: Don’t get me wrong. This guy is a great actor. He cried the crap out of those scenes. I mean, he magically created new wrinkles on his face just from the expressions he made. You could feel his pain, you could hear……it…..in……his…….voice. Maybe that is why I wasn’t thrilled with it. He isn’t a bad singer, but not right for this. He sounded too……….what is the name of the gay character he played on broadway with the maracas? Anyway, he just sounded awkward. First of all, he was yelling at me during all of the “sing-talk” scenes. Seriously, I can hear you, you don’t need to shout. And then his rendition of Bring Him Home…………….no, no, no. It wasn’t good. He was just trying way too hard which resulted in yelling the words rather than singing it the emotional way it was supposed to be sung. He wasn’t a total failure. But he ranks lowest of all the Jean Valjeans (even Liam Neeson who didn’t sing a note).
2. Live Singing: While it proved well for Hathaway and Redmayne, it just ruined poor Hugh and Russell. At least voice over a few of the parts. Sheesh. I think what it hurt most of all was the sound quality. Everything was just so……..quiet. It wasn’t grand. I don’t blame the actors. I blame the sound guys and composers. If the broadway musical can blast the music behind the voices and both still triumph, then come on, you should too. Example: Master of the House. It was still good and funny and all that, but it just seemed too much like……….singing in the kitchen while I clean the dishes sort of thing. Same with One Day More……………pump that shit up!
3. Cinematography, camera work, directing, editing: Yes, I know this is very hypocritical. While it had its pros, it also had moments of failure. Example: At The End of The Day and Lovely Ladies. Ouch. Also………….could you get any closer to the actor’s faces? Apparently you can. While it worked for Anne Hathaway, it didn’t for others. I mean……this movie probably can’t get nominated for art direction, because you never see any of it.
4. The sing/talk scenes: This sort of thing works for broadway. Not for this movie. Poor poor Russell. And Hugh…………stop yelling at me. Wait, wait. I mean…………..STOOOOOOOOP YEEEEEEEELIIIIIIING AAAAAAAATTTT MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. And scene.
5. Russell Crowe: While he didn’t bother me as much as Hugh Jackman, he didn’t exactly wow me. However, I may be the only person on the planet who enjoyed his version of Stars (and that is my favorite song of the whole show). He has a rugged, rock and rollness to him, which I liked, but the stars couldn’t help him with the rest of the movie. The first scene……………eek. And that fight scene……..I thought he was gonna start dancing or doing the waltz with Hugh. Thank goodness he is still sexy as hell. Apparently the director thought so too, since Russell didn’t age during the 17 year span of the film. But anyway, Russell is the Gladiator (which was probably his mantra throughout filming…………..”screw you all, I am Maximus”). Poor poor Russell.
6. Makeup: Russell Crowe. Poor Javert. He had no idea he probably would have outlived them all.
So, if you think all of the above didn’t tell you a thing about whether this movie was good or not, I will give you another short version:
Not best picture, but I’d see it again. Some of the actors were amazing, some were not. Overall it was still a beautiful story and the music never gets old. But once again, it doesn’t matter what I say, since you will most likely go see it anyway.