Escape to the Movies: Les Miserables

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I saw this movie with my vocal coach and we both enjoyed it.
I am a very patient moviegoer; I can watch any of the Lord of the Rings extended cuts in one sitting and barely noticing their immense length.
I connect very emotionally with music, more so than any other medium. I would guess that that is why I had such an easy time connecting with the characters and their struggles, although more development of the young'ns would've been nice.
I did, however, dislike the whole love-at-first-sight crap, but what else is new? I've always hated that angle.

Why is everyone hating on Russel Crowe? I thought he was fine. Or was I reading an apathetic performance as a nice representation of his character's inner conflict of doing things he finds morally questionable in service of the unbendable sense of justice he has depended on his entire life?

Wow, I can't decide what makes me hate Bob more. This review, or his openion on ME3.

I for one absolutely loved this movie. I'm a french history lover for starters, and I'm not easily confused. "Juggiling" all of those diffirent stories was as easy as shit for me, and I have a fucking horrid attention span. The movie didn't feel long to me either, I had hardly noticed that 3 hours had passed by the time I'd sat in the theatre. For the most part, I loved the singing, and I actually think it helped me keep track of the movie more so than a non-musical would have. I love music, and it's for more fun to listen to than a bland conversation. And I think it almost necisary to keep people's attention with a movie as long as that. When I went to see the hobbit last week, I could barely keep myself listening.

I actually didn't mind Russel Crowe after hearing him sing for a few minutes. At first it really bugged me though.

I loved the story, and I loved the emotion they were able to convey with song, rather than monologue or conversation. Yeah, you couldn't go that deep into characters that way, but why must we know every godforsaken emotional detail about every character? Do you even realise how boring that would be? Believe me, as a guy that writes a lot, I know how people react when you go too deep into characters, sometimes you have to get to the point.

I was entirely prepared to dragged along to the theater with a female friend because I'd read the original and thought it was actually kind of ok. I didn't know about the actual songs till I had come here. Based upon Bob's criticisms, I'd say that the songs themselves don't carry the film to an acceptable extent - then again, I've never experienced the adaptation this adaptation is adapting, so I don't know what I should be expecting. From a point of comparison between this and the original based off of what I know about both instances, I don't think seeing the movie would be worth it, but that's just me, hence the emphasis upon 1st person singular pronouns.

tbh I prefer the french TV series adaptation with Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich they released a few years ago rather than this stage-adaptation tripe - seriously, what's with all these musical creations of late? Moulin Rouge sucked people, stop trying to emulate that.

Has everyone forgotten that they already made a good movie that had Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush?

This movie could never be truly good, it is inevitable that it would fail to present the story as well as the book and the songs and emotional music could never compare to the stage musical. As such, it was doomed from the beginning to be a mediocre mix of the two.

What conserns me is the way they have shifted the story slightly, so that Eponine becomes less sympathetic, Valjean becomes more heroic and Javiert more villianous. Javiert is a tragic figure, and Valjean is no saint, and the film is even less nuanced in showing this than the stage version. Are we as a public really that intolerant moral ambiguity in our blockbuster movies?

Skyweir: Actually, the movie hews closer to the novel on all those points. Eponine WAS less sympathetic in the book. Sure, she wasn't as bad as her parents were, but she was hardly the tragic heroine the musical transformed her into. Likewise, Valjean was a saintly figure, a violent and brutal robber transformed into something beautiful: "A benevolent malefactor, merciful, gentle, helpful, clement, a convict, returning good for evil, giving back pardon for hatred, preferring pity to vengeance, preferring to ruin himself rather than to ruin his enemy, saving him who had smitten him, kneeling on the heights of virtue, more nearly akin to an angel than to a man." Hugo was using him to demonstrate to his readers that a criminal could be changed through love and forgiveness, rather than hard labor and harsh imprisonment, and could even possibly become better than the ostensible agents of the law.

As for Javert, he's not a particularly tragic figure in the book, and I was glad that the musical tried to implement a few scenes from the novel to reflect that (the part where he demands punishment for himself from Mr. Madeleine for reporting him to the police as an escaped convict being but one example). He's pitiful, yes, but he's not very sympathetic at all. He doesn't believe in good or evil, only the law and lawbreakers, and it is his own lack of compassion and mercy that ultimately brings about Fantine's death - and, in the end, his own.

As a fan of the Musical... I agree... this was pretty crummy, Les Mis is about GRAND songs, not sticking the camera up the nose's of the actors and just... sitting there. Also the actors constantly flub notes, sing off key and just deliver horrid performances. I know they're going for "raw" but the stage version of Les Mis was always about polish so going for a "raw intimate" feeling is kind of bonkers to me.

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?

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.

I may have been ninja'd on this, but they already did a non-singing version with Liam Neeson as Valjean and Geoffrey Rush as Javert. Very cool film.

I hate musicals. Les Miserables in particular.

However I loved the movie with Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Claire Danes, and Uma Thurman. I think it was one of Rush's best performances, but these days that just means its better than House on Haunted Hill and the Pirates movies which isn't saying much.

Heres the thing, its a 2+ hour music video with disjointed abstract story telling through music videos.... Its like trying to review anime when all you have seen are modern cartoons from the Disney channel. Bob dose his best to try and interrupt it as a film and dose well at it since it dose suck as a film... as a music video not so much.

Hollywood hasn't exactly had the best track record when it comes to making film adaptations of "popular musicals". Especially in the last 5-10 years.

Phantom of the Opera - starred Gerard butler (That's right King Leonidas) and he couldn't sing to save his life.

Sweeny Todd - starred Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow voice sans beard, but granted he can actually sing and it was a Tim Butron film, but that doesn't excuse it.

Mamma Mia - a cute pet project for the MUSICAL THEATRE that did a tad better than everyone supposed. Hollywood picked up on that, had James Bond make our ears bleed (Pierce Brosnan) and some sort of Oscar for Meryl Streep (again) but it wasn't as bad as it's bastardized child...

Accross the Universe - No... just... no leave the beatles alone. It's fanbase within the dramatic arts community was even worse than the film.

And of course now Les Miserables, casted by people who have to do Falcetto to sing Bari parts?! Close ups for an entire 5 minute solo? I'm sorry, but the original cast anniversary edition was better put together...

How many more good musicals must we lose to the hollywood monster?!

Oh wait... I guess they've already killed all the really big-named ones...

I went into the movie theater expecting the movie version of Les MisÚrables to be an even mix between Theater Performance and Movie Magic.

The "movie" was almost all theater though.

I agree with Bob, more could have been done besides just hanging the camera in front of the singer's face for their entire performance. More shots would have made the movie more interesting as a single extremely long shot tends to slow down the movie's momentum.

I call this movie: 'Uncomfortable close ups."

Seriously, there's something other than peoples faces. There's something called body language and composition.

I love musicals. I enjoyed the play version. Honestly, I would have been happy with a theatrical release with all of Bob's criticisms if the movie had been shot well. But it was not shot well. The cinematography was horrible. Half the movie is someone staring into a camera so close you can see their pores as they sing. The amount of jarring cuts between characters faces while their literally 5 feet from each other was infuriating.

omgwtfabgkjbsdlkand.

Also that 'smack' sound effect was hilarious.

Not that I really care for the movie, but Bob: Les Miserable is not set during the first French Revolution in the 18th century; it's set during the June rebellion, nearly half a century later. This should not be a difficult fact to check.

I took the GF to see it for her b-day. I have hear dof Les Mis b4 but never read nor seen it. I also don't usually like musicals with some exceptions (Newsies, Across the Universe, and a few others). Les Miserables was pretty decent i thought, now this may be because I haven't seen it performed on stage (which i hear is crazy good) or had any other exposure to it before seeing this movie. I am surprised Bob has such a strong negative review about the film, usually his reviews are fairly close to my own thoughts about the films he reviews. I'll choose to watch his reviews for movies i'm still on fence about seeing and if he gives a positive review i would tend to enjoy it. Many films i can tell by the trailers that i would definitely not want to see them, and usually bob has a negative review of them. There are few exceptions to where i havent agreed or didnt at least see his points as understandable.

Les Mis is one, i found myself actually not hating it... despite practically being dragged to see it. It was long, yes, but i tend not to mind long movies (my attention span isn't that short i guess [mind you that i saw Les Mis about 30min after i just saw The Hobbit during a double feature]) It was a musical, yes, but i don't mind singing if its done well (i enjoyed most of the acting/singing save for Crowe [i concur that his part could have been better cast]) and some parts of the film are drawn out a bit boring, yes, but i thought the story overall was good enough to merit a look into possibly reading the novel. Also i did not expect to see Borat, his and his wife's characters were quite amusing.

overall, Les Mis will not end up on any of my top ten list (excluded top ten musicals i suppose) but i would not call it a Bad film.

sageoftruth:
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.

It's a musical. It's all about the great music and melodrama. I don't know why you would believe Bob's opinion over your own experience.

I thought the film was fantastic. Complaining about the musical aspects is like complaining about the action sequences in an action movie or the scary bits in a horror. The music was stunning, the performances were great and the visuals were gorgeous.

It was a magnificent big-screen version of a great musical. It was everything that a reasonable viewer should have expected and could have asked for.

In my opinion.

Zydrate:

As for the current topic; I'm still going to see this eventually. I want to see what the big deal is.
And I'm kind of frustrated that all these apparent "classics" keep cropping up that I've never heard the existence of. Not a single mention in any of my several English classes or textbooks throughout school.
What gives?

Go see it, it's a fantastic transferral of musical theatre to the big screen.

wrt not hearing about the book, I'm not sure what country you went to school in but generally it wouldn't be covered in English class because it is a French book, and translations tend to get passed over in favour of original English texts. Also, depending on the imprint it's generally about 1500 pages long, so it's quite a hefty chunk of work to go through in a class.

That said, I personally loved the book, certainly enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than Catcher in the Rye. Of course, as with all matters of taste, your mileage may vary.

You can tell that Bob is serious because he's going Boston on us.

The video glitches out into a green screen after "Hoo boy, where to begin..."

mikespoff:

sageoftruth:
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.

It's a musical. It's all about the great music and melodrama. I don't know why you would believe Bob's opinion over your own experience.

I thought the film was fantastic. Complaining about the musical aspects is like complaining about the action sequences in an action movie or the scary bits in a horror. The music was stunning, the performances were great and the visuals were gorgeous.

It was a magnificent big-screen version of a great musical. It was everything that a reasonable viewer should have expected and could have asked for.

In my opinion.

Very true. My only concern is how my expectations will be when I see it. I guess it's important for me to remember that it is still a musical, even if it's no longer taking place on a stage. Sometimes the Escapist can make me forget what I really want in films. Thanks for the save.

The reason my knee-jerk reaction is to hate "Le Mis" is because of the people who like it and tout as some grand stage musical, and not an opera or a book. Everything Bob said is pretty much the best one could expect out of a 'third generation' rehash, and, let's face it, when he uses his real voice, you know shit is real.

I know this is nit-picky, but it's really not the "Then-a-deers", it's something more like "Then-are-dee-ays".

Also, I generally think you're going too far in your condemnation. It had weird pacing (kind of Return of the King style multiple endings thing) but it's not a disaster by any measure. As someone with basically no previous exposure to this (beyond my SO talking about it non-stop for the past year, and lecturing me on the correct pronunciations :P) I followed the story easily, and I think that Jean Val Jean and Javert at the least had some depth to their characters. On top of that I felt the "spinning plates" carried over the books real moral intelligence- noone is perfect; the revolutionaries are well-intentioned but naive, Val Jean lets obsessive desire to make amends for his crimes endanger Causette (he tries to turn himself in) and Javert most of all is beautifully complex, a perfect expression of the difference between morally right and lawfully right.

But main point, "Then-are-dee-ays".

Terragent:
Not that I really care for the movie, but Bob: Les Miserable is not set during the first French Revolution in the 18th century; it's set during the June rebellion, nearly half a century later. This should not be a difficult fact to check.

Especially since the fact that he missed is in the beginning of the movie. Which kind of shows he didn't really pay any attention to what he's being paid to review.

I started questioning my faith in Bob when he hated The Amazing Spiderman before he even watched it. My faith was then teetering on the edge when he lectured us in multiple parts about how those of us who hate Sucker Punch just didn't "get" the supposed grand art of it. When he listed this movie as one of the worst of the year, and let that Twilight abomination slide... my faith in him as a movie reviewer threw itself off the cliff. Especially when it's so glaringly obvious that he didn't actually pay any attention to what he watched and made amateurish, lazy mistakes about basic facts of the story.

From now on, I'm bringing a whole truckload of salt when I watch his reviews.

faeshadow:
I started questioning my faith in Bob when he hated The Amazing Spiderman before he even watched it.

He did not hate The Amazing Spider-Man before he even saw it, he just thought it looked terrible and his expectations were met.

There are so many problems with Bob's review it's hard to figure out where to begin. The biggest problem with the review is that his criticisms leveled for the first half of the review (fair or not (they're not)) apply as much to the broadway production as they do to the movie. That doesn't make this a bad film, it makes it a faithful adaptation of the musical. Bob keeps throwing pictures of and comparisons to the book, trying to compare the narrative therein to the narrative on the screen. Newsflash, the abrupt scene changes and late to the game characters he has a problem with in the movie are the same abrupt scene changes and late to the game characters in the stage production. You can't start a review off telling us how great the source material is and how tremendous the musical adaptation to stage has been and then tell us the movie is bad for being a successful adaptation of the second adaptation.

Example
"Marius doesn't turn up until the thing is well beyond half way ovah (Bob, please stop accenting your Boston accent, you didn't have it when you started reviewing and it's just distracting now)".

^also true of the broadway production

Then he goes on to be critical of the camera angles used in the film to show off the actors actually singing. Other reviewers, to be fair have been critical of this style choice too. Because man, it sure is uncomfortable to look at the faces of human beings for any significant length of time.

Earlier in the review he describes the film as an "endless, punishing 160 minutes spaced out by a bunch of song numbers". Gee, Could it be that this is a musical? That describes a lot of them. It's unfair to condemn a work because you don't like or understand the medium in which it's delivered.

Then there's Russel Crowe's Performance. Bob only hints at it here, but blasts it in other reviews and in print. Here's the problem. Crowe delivers a fantastic job acting. His bearing, his body language and facial expressions are all dead on. He just can't sing. That is an issue, and worthy of harsh criticism. He was miscast because he looks the part. But to say his overall performance was awful is demonstrating a complete misunderstanding of the problem here.

Said it before, I'll say it again. Bob is a really bad critic. Only reason I watch is to get a 5 minute or so trailer to decide if a movie is worth my time. To be honest, when Bob likes something, that is a big fat check mark in the "REASONS NOT TO SEE" column of my mental pros and cons list of going to whatever film it is.

I somehow feel much more at ease when I'm disagreeing with Bob.
It really wasn't that bad. It wasn't great, don't get me wrong, but it certainly wasn't as bad as he made out. Anne Hathaway was amazing and having her solo strewn with pointless shots of people we're not supposed to care about would have just made it into a pointless music video, if it's oscar bait then great. Having said that, other solo pieces would have benefited from a bit of mtv-ing, and cosette just wasn't very likeable. So it would have been better having been done differently, but as it was, I still rather enjoyed it.

I went to see this movie with my fiancee last night and we loved it. I thought the sons were all great and the romance stuff wasnt as interesting but it wasnt boring at least. The only character I had a problem with was the child who seemed way too adult for his age and even that wasnt a dealbraker.

The whole reason Movie Bob seems to think so little of this movie is because it doesn't work in the traditional form of a film in terms of plot/character development etc. But guess what, this isn't a film about this book, which is what he seems to be reviewing it as. This is the musical taken from stage and plonked on a film set with some famous actors so that people who can afford to go see Les Miserables every other weak on Broadway or the Westend, can enjoy it.

At the very start, he even says that stripping the book down works fine on stage. I don't know if he notices, but the film is just as much wall to wall singing as the stage production.

All in all, this film should be judged as a musical (which it is) with all the problems or narrative and development that have to come with having to convey everything through singing.

So if you love the musical, you will atleast like the film.

*Also, it's hardly fair to but the tag of 'Oscar bait' on Anne Hathaway as, again like you said, the character she's playing was written about 70 years before the academy awards even existed.

Bob's central complaint here seems to be that combining the abstractness of a musical with the realism of the scenery "just doesn't work." Well, I recognize that this is a matter of opinion, but I saw the movie the other day and I thought it worked fine. I think it's just a matter of going into the movie with the right expectations; I expected realistic scenery combined with people randomly singing at each other, so it fits my expectations perfectly.

His other complaint was that the whole idea of having uncut scenes of the actors actually singing isn't worth showcasing, but I'd say he's missing the point. Shooting the scenes like that makes the emotion feel rawer and "more real." It makes the passion come through more. Some people have complained about the extended uncomfortable close-ups in the movie and I recognize that it's not for everyone, but for people who enjoy musicals for the music will appreciate the raw passion that comes through in those scenes.

The bottom line is that if you like musicals, you will love this movie. If you don't like musicals, you probably will not enjoy this movie. I'd say that Bob's assessment that it "sucks" comes more from the fact that he doesn't like musicals than any particular shortcoming of the film. It wouldn't bother me so much if not for posts like this:

Padwolf:

It's a shame the film is bad, I really wanted to see it. No doubt I still will go and see it, but if it's so bad it brings Movie Bob's accent out I wouldn't want to waste money D: but I love musicals so much, so I will probably end up liking it by the end.

This is someone who would most likely really enjoy this film who may not actually see it because she took Bob's word for it that it "sucks," and I think that's sad. :( For the record, I have many friends who are into musical theatre who enjoyed the movie immensely and highly recommended it. Padwolf, if you're reading this, I hope you ended up watching the movie. :)

Tormuse:
Bob's central complaint here seems to be that combining the abstractness of a musical with the realism of the scenery "just doesn't work." Well, I recognize that this is a matter of opinion, but I saw the movie the other day and I thought it worked fine. I think it's just a matter of going into the movie with the right expectations; I expected realistic scenery combined with people randomly singing at each other, so it fits my expectations perfectly.

His other complaint was that the whole idea of having uncut scenes of the actors actually singing isn't worth showcasing, but I'd say he's missing the point. Shooting the scenes like that makes the emotion feel rawer and "more real." It makes the passion come through more. Some people have complained about the extended uncomfortable close-ups in the movie and I recognize that it's not for everyone, but for people who enjoy musicals for the music will appreciate the raw passion that comes through in those scenes.

The bottom line is that if you like musicals, you will love this movie. If you don't like musicals, you probably will not enjoy this movie. I'd say that Bob's assessment that it "sucks" comes more from the fact that he doesn't like musicals than any particular shortcoming of the film. It wouldn't bother me so much if not for posts like this:

Padwolf:

It's a shame the film is bad, I really wanted to see it. No doubt I still will go and see it, but if it's so bad it brings Movie Bob's accent out I wouldn't want to waste money D: but I love musicals so much, so I will probably end up liking it by the end.

This is someone who would most likely really enjoy this film who may not actually see it because she took Bob's word for it that it "sucks," and I think that's sad. :( For the record, I have many friends who are into musical theatre who enjoyed the movie immensely and highly recommended it. Padwolf, if
you're reading this, I hope you ended up watching the movie. :)

Hey there! I did watxh the movie, went to see it shortly afyer it was released. I loved it, so very much. I thouhht it had some issues here and there but otherwise it is now one of my favourite musicals. I am glad I checked it out for myself. It wad fantastic. Sorry fpr any typos here, using my phone and it is slow

Padwolf:
Hey there! I did watxh the movie, went to see it shortly afyer it was released. I loved it, so very much. I thouhht it had some issues here and there but otherwise it is now one of my favourite musicals. I am glad I checked it out for myself. It wad fantastic. Sorry fpr any typos here, using my phone and it is slow

Haha, glad you enjoyed it. :) And good luck with your phone; touchscreen keyboards give me trouble too. :P

I found the movie improves greatly if you make the mental adjustment that this is in fact the Wolverine Origin story we have been waiting for. Just watch Hugh Jackman. He starts out as a super strong broken down wreck of a man. That steadily seems to get healthier and younger and stronger as the movie goes on. By the end he's pretty much unkillable. Jean LoGan if you will. It helps if you close your eyes when he confronts Javier and just mentally put in the Snikt. And its still 100x better than the last Wolverine movie.

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