Escape to the Movies: Les Miserables

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Les Miserables

See if MovieBob thinks that Les Miserables is really that miserable.

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A fair assessment. Since this was my 'first' exposure to Les Mis, I really liked it. Though, you do have a point that I liked it more for the songs than for the staging.

But I thought Russell Crowe was miscast as Javert.

I'm already biased since I fucking hate... nah, what's stronger than hate? Oh, I megaloathe musicals. But seriously, why couldn't they make a real movie with this?

And then it had to star Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman... I don't think they could have made this film less appealing to me.

Edit: OH! And then there's having to listen to anglophones keep pronouncing French names... Oh how much better it (and indeed any movie) would have been with Cristoph Waltz.

Okay, Okay you weren't just being ahltunative. You really don' like this movie do you.
Can't say I'd like the idea of a constantly sung movie either, especially since I've seen one of the old black and white versions (not sure which but it was one of the American ones)

Andrew Siribohdi:
But I thought Russell Crowe was miscast as Javert.

If anything he should be the one to play Jean Valjean.

Your accent slipped out a lot more than usual this time Bob,it's kind of unsettling and creates inconsistency.

EDIT: I'm not saying Bob's accent creeps me out,quite the opposite,I'm saying the quick jumps between his normal speech and broadcasting voice just distract me.

All I got from Bob on this one was:
I've read the book and it's not as good
and
I don't do musicals and here's why

This made my day :D
You should have to review once a month a movie you really hate :)
Love how the accent gets stronger as you get more irritated, even if it is "staged" it's a nice little trick :P

Damnit Bob, pick an accent and stick w/ it! This back and forth shit within the same review hurts my ears.

DVS BSTrD:
Okay, Okay you weren't just being ahltunative. You really don' like this movie do you.
Can't say I'd like the idea of a constantly sung movie either, especially since I've seen one of the old black and white versions (not sure which but it was one of the American ones)

Andrew Siribohdi:
But I thought Russell Crowe was miscast as Javert.

If anything he should be the one to play Jean Valjean.

If anything, he shouldn't be in the movie.


THAT is how you perform Jarvert.


Here's the whole concert. Guess the guys like it up on youtube or something.

why does everyone act like bob is not allowed to dislike things... its a review show...thats his review... suck it up

First video I've seen in 9 months on this site without a WoW: Pandaria ad. Thank God.

Having seen the Worst of 2012, and it still being relatively fresh without too many forum comments yet, let me be the first to say "dis gon b gud."

foxtrot3100:
Damnit Bob, pick an accent and stick w/ it! This back and forth shit within the same review hurts my ears.

Yup.

The alternating accent thing absolutely takes me out of the review and annoys me quite a bit.

Okay, so I'm going to not quite disagree with you on this one(if that makes any sense). As a Hollywood blockbuster, a movie designed to be watched and enjoyed by people that tend to watch and enjoy movies... yeah, this doesn't quite work. And maybe that's enough to condemn the movie. Speaking personally, I grew up on film adaptations of musicals and Nelson Eddy/Jeanette McDonald movies. And from that standpoint... well it's still not perfect, but overall I am glad that I saw the movie.

I think that the biggest problem with Les Miserables is that it needs a break from the singing. You are not wrong about the Cliff's Notes feel. It actually kind of reminded me of the recent big screen Berserk adaptation in that it felt like a movie running in fast forward the whole time. I loved most of the scenes in Les Miserables, but it lacked glue to hold those scenes together.

I'm not sure that I would recommend the movie to anyone, but I wouldn't try to talk them out of watching it either. My wife and I both liked it overall(which initially surprised me since my wife is Japanese until I learned that she had read a translation of the book when she was younger).

It's nice to know that the mainstream critics seem to agree... if any part of this movie wins anything besides Anne Hathaway (I can stomach her winning an Actress Oscar) I'm giving up on the old men's club that is the Oscars. I still think it will probably be Lincoln.

This was the first time I've seen anything Les Miserables, and overall I did enjoy the movie. Absolutely LOVED the songs, saw some really good performances, and I really liked Jean Valjean as a hero.

That being said, there was something that did bug me about the movie and I'm not sure if it's the same in the theatrical production or not (someone tell me if it is). The first half of the movie with Valjean I thought was great. It painted how fucked up France was during the time period, and watching Valjean, Fantine, and Cossette's plights was a great way to illustrate it.

But when we moved to the second half with the revolution itself, it felt really rushed. If everything we've seen before is supposed to lead up to these climactic battles, then why breeze through it all? It's like, "Oh, here is everyone now, GO FIGHT!" How can I sympathize with Valjean's struggle as a concerned father figure when I barely know how Cossette is like as an adult other than the fact that she's in love with Marius? Hell, why should I care about Marius at all? I see that Eponine is a beloved character and all, but I just couldn't get into her struggle since I really didn't give two shits about the guy she's in love with.

I kinda can't help but feel as if this should have been 2 movies, this way we could get more details and more attached to the characters before and during the revolution. But if that's how the stage version was then I guess we can't really do that. Or maybe I need to read the book.

The flow of the movie you described is the same as the musical. I have seen it once and been dragged to it 3 more times. Bob, I am assuming you have not seen the staged version, but it is basically listen to pretty song and move on. You get to fill in the blanks with how things flow. Example, Valjean gets sliver from the bishop, he is told his soul has been bought by God. Next scene we are at a factory and Fantine is getting fired and then Valjean appears, she dies, he now is on a quest to find a kid. Oh, and Javert pokes his head in on occasion to sing about how he is going to track Valjean to the ends of the earth. (In an awesome Baritone voice) Remember, it is a musical. You are just suppose to take girls to them so you can get blowjobs.

Mr.Tea:
I'm already biased since I fucking hate... nah, what's stronger than hate? Oh, I megaloathe musicals. But seriously, why couldn't they make a real movie with this?

Because they already did...like...a bunch of times. Hell, there are even Anime Adaptions. You can pretty much pick by country and length.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_Les_Mis%C3%A9rables

...I don't like the notion of "I don't like musicals" though, because i very much think to hate Musicals in General you either gotta hate Singing or Movies.

I love Little Shop of Horrors, Repo, Once, The Rocky Horror Show, South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (wich 1: Shut up, it's totally a Musical and 2: Is in many ways a Parody of Les Miserables as much as it is one of Disney Movies), Reefer Madness and Perhaps Love as much as i H A T E Moulin Rouge, Nine, Cats, Rent, Glee, Mamma Mia and Rock of Ages. Even those wich i like oftentimes cannot be more different from one another, so yeah, i think saying something like that seems like a rather uninformed opinion.

Devin Barker:
why does everyone act like bob is not allowed to dislike things... its a review show...thats his review... suck it up

To me, the problem isn't that he hates things. It's that his attitude is so often "if you disagree with me, you're an idiot." See also: Amazing Spider-Man (which, while far from being a classic, I thought was at least decent), any given FPS (more true in the Game Overthinker than here).

For the record, I thought Hooper's direction during the solos was boring and sleep-inducing, even when the actor was giving a good performance. Uninterrupted solo close-ups get tiring after the first 2 minutes. More or less everything else, I really liked. Except Russell Crowe, of course, that almost goes without saying.

I love the slippery accent. It actually conveys an idea in and of itself that he's more emotionally invested than usual.

As far as Les Mis - Love the story and the stage production, this movie was silly.

Aw, you didn't enjoy it? Lol everyone I know who saw it loved it. But then, you and they have vastly different tastes. I'd like to know, tho--is there a movie musical out there that you do enjoy, MovieBob?

Frybird:
...I don't like the notion of "I don't like musicals" though, because i very much think to hate Musicals in General you either gotta hate Singing or Movies.

Musicals are like going to a bar. I never really get the urge to go, but once I get dragged there I have a good time. For me, the music heightens the emotion of the scene and has a tendency to "lock it in". Hearing the song in the future brings back the emotional state of the acted scene pretty easily.

As an old straight dude, this frightens me more than I can say.

Love your avatar by the way! Scary Smash! Joss was a real sport for squatting through that one.

I read some of the original book in my French class a few years ago, and then we watched a movie based off of the book rather than the musical. It focused a lot more on Jean Valjean's transformation, and a lot of characters such as the inkeepers and Eponine (is that her name?) got all but written out. Also, the final time period, leading up to the battle at the barricade, lasted a lot longer, and people like Marius, his friend, Cosette, and that little kid got a lot more time to round out their characters.
So when I went to see this musical, I realized just how much all the potential of Les Miserables had been gutted. It really is all about the songs, as can be seen by the completely stationary camera focusing on a person's face and nothing else whenever someone starts to sing. As someone who prefers instrumental songs to anything with lyrics, the songs didn't even do much for me. I wanted to listen to the notes, but I was afraid that stuck in was some sort of character development that would come up later. Spoilers: that didn't really happen.

Hate to nitpick, but it's a 19th century melodramatic social justice polemic, not a 17th. It was written in 1862, and takes place starting in 1815 and ending with the 1832 rebellion. Very much the 19th century.

Anyway, the story itself is fantastic, but I've only ever seen it done properly once, and that was with the French miniseries staring Gerard Depardieu. Would have liked them to do the story itself rather than the musical, but even then I don't think it would have topped the miniseries, just because the book has far too much to cover and it can't be watched in the limited time of a single movie. The damned thing is nearly 2000 pages long!

SlightlyEvil:

Devin Barker:
why does everyone act like bob is not allowed to dislike things... its a review show...thats his review... suck it up

To me, the problem isn't that he hates things. It's that his attitude is so often "if you disagree with me, you're an idiot." See also: Amazing Spider-Man (which, while far from being a classic, I thought was at least decent), any given FPS (more true in the Game Overthinker than here).

For the record, I thought Hooper's direction during the solos was boring and sleep-inducing, even when the actor was giving a good performance. Uninterrupted solo close-ups get tiring after the first 2 minutes. More or less everything else, I really liked. Except Russell Crowe, of course, that almost goes without saying.

Maybe its just me, but i dont get the "your stupid" impression at all he is just a guy that is very passionate about his opinion like most "nerds" (i use the word kindly as i identify my self as one) i feel like he is more just drawing his line in the sand saying this is where i am your with me or your not but i have never got the "your stupid" impression... guess its just a difference of view

Alcaste:
I love the slippery accent. It actually conveys an idea in and of itself that he's more emotionally invested than usual.

I like it too, not sure why it bothers some people or "takes them out of the review", like they need to feel immersed in a movie review anyway, haha.

DVS BSTrD:
Okay, Okay you weren't just being ahltunative. You really don' like this movie do you.
Can't say I'd like the idea of a constantly sung movie either, especially since I've seen one of the old black and white versions (not sure which but it was one of the American ones)

Andrew Siribohdi:
But I thought Russell Crowe was miscast as Javert.

If anything he should be the one to play Jean Valjean.

Well, I don't know if it would have made the movie work any better, but it makes the stage version flow a lot better than most musicals. Rather than awkwardly transitioning from traditional script to 'Big Musical Number' at every convenient plot point with no regard for pacing, having singing all the way though changes the singing from a token distraction to a narrative technique. That way, the 'story' doesn't have to suffer for the benefit of the 'show'.

Being a big fan of the musical I will probably go to see this for myself regardless, but thanks to Bob I'm not going in there with my expectations set too high.

and this is why they shouldn't make movies out of stage musicals; both have such different sense of flow that things have to be heavily adapted in order for them to work.

Also, this all but confirms to me that Hooper didn't get his Oscar because of his actual skill as a director.

foxtrot3100:
Damnit Bob, pick an accent and stick w/ it! This back and forth shit within the same review hurts my ears.

I agree. Pick an accent and stick it, Bob. You were doing so well until recently, now there's this schizophrenic voice thing going on. If you want to use your MovieBob standard voice, do it. If you want to have a whole video comprised of your roots Raging Boston self, do it. Stop slipping on ice with it throughout one video like you can't make up your mind. It only moves to distract at this point. There's nothing cute or endearing about it.

Amazing how he can pull the curtains out from in front of my eyes like that. I had always been a fan of Les Mis, but I guess I was just distracted by the great music and the melodrama. I guess Bob's right. The story is pretty wonky when considered on its own merits, with Valjean becoming mayor through a hunk of silver and a divine epiphany. I guess some things just aren't meant to be adapted like that.

I like the accent slip-ups, it means bob is really passionate about the subject and his true emotions are breaking through his professional veneer and it takes a lot to make that happen.
And I agree, this would have been much better as a movie. Just because someone made a successful stage musical out of the book doesn't mean that's the only way to do it.
It's a good story, just tell the story!

Speaking as someone who first saw the stage production waaaaay up in the nosebleeds on Broadway, there is one thing this film excelled at beyond any stage version I've seen. On a big stage with half your audience hundreds of feet from the action, performers can't really do nuance or subtlety. Even vocally, they can't get too dramatic in their dynamics. The only real acting tool they have is exaggerated gestures. Whereas the film format means the performers can actually act. The way Jackman's voice goes from weak and broken in the early numbers, to strong and sure as Valjean becomes more resolute is extremely effective. He does a lot with just his eyes, too. And before Hathaway, every version of "I Dreamed a Dream" I've heard sounded like wistful regret. Her version was utter soul-crushing despair. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

Aiddon:
and this is why they shouldn't make movies out of stage musicals; both have such different sense of flow that things have to be heavily adapted in order for them to work.

Also, this all but confirms to me that Hooper didn't get his Oscar because of his actual skill as a director.

Let's see, he had two of the best actors of this generation in a single room with a great script. Giving him Best Director was the equivalent of giving the guy who took this picture credit for winning World War II:

image

Oh boy, this song and dance again...

Okay, yes, as a huge blockbuster film, Les Mis isn't the best thing you could choose to go see. I agree that Hooper's directing, particularly during big solo or duo numbers, is extremely boring.

But as a musical, the film works just fine.

It captures the inner turmoil of the characters far better than the Liam Neeson/Geoffrey Rush Les Miserables, which was a 'traditional' film that most of the people who like the stage production didn't like, because it wasn't a musical.

Yes, it feels a bit rushed, and they definitely did a worse job of the connection between Marius and Cosette than the Neeson Les Mis, but I feel it's a bit disingenuous to judge it purely on the merits of how it exists as a film when it's an adaptation of a stage musical that wasn't attempting to be a normal film. It's not even trying to be a 'normal' musical, where the big numbers are placed in between expositional speaking segments, it almost completely omits any non-music segment and instead opts to be completely about the music.

I get that as a film critic, Bob has to judge it as a film, but I can't help but feel that something is lost in translation when doing that. And, quite frankly, it sounds like Bob isn't the biggest fan of musicals in the first place.

EDIT: I feel I should mention I've never seen the stage production, either.

Hmm, holds 71% at Rotten Tomatoes. Anyway, you can't force someone to like something or not. What Bob should do, is drop the stupid Boston accent, it makes him sound like an idiot with speech impairment. Before about 2 months ago I would never have guessed by his accent where he is from, but now I get a feeling that he is nearly exaggerating it.

From what I've heard about this film, it would've been better if they did more than one movie. If you're going to adapt a huge book with so many characters, you would probably need to give things a bit more time to develop. ... And Russel Crowe would've had a lot more practice for his scenes.

samus17:
All I got from Bob on this one was:
I've read the book and it's not as good
and
I don't do musicals and here's why

Um...Have you watched the review for only 15 seconds?

-Did you miss the part where he said that there's too much characters with not much time to develop them?
-Did you miss the part where he said that Anne Hatawhatever's part is pretty much a fat Oscar bait?
-Did you miss the part where he wasn't surprised that the movie sucked because it was the King's Speech's director?

Amongst other things...

Note*Sorry if it sounded like I was pissed at you.

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