Les Miserables - the movie

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Kruss, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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    ^^ I just watched it yesterday for the first time. Man, Marius is a CREEP. I find it hard to believe that ANYONE could fall in love at first sight with him. Plus, he makes some awfully big assumptions right after meeting Cosette. "What's her last name? Oh, it doesn't matter. When we marry, she'll take mine!" ;)
  2. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Cosette is dreadful in the book -- well, toward the end, anyway. I cannot believe that a genius like Hugo could portray a character like that and think there was nothing wrong with her.
    If your father is acting very strange and withdrawing from you, you don't shrug your shoulders and think, "Oh well, I've got a nice new husband to take up my time and attention, so it's all good!" :duh:
    And he goes on for pages and pages trying to rationalize this, as is his wont, and I'm sitting there thinking, "Dude, you did not understand women AT ALL."

    I actually like her quite a lot in the musical, perhaps in large part because she's a zillion times better than in the book!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  3. MLIS

    MLIS Active Member

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    I saw Terrence Mann when he returned to help close out the original Broadway production, which would have been in 2003 (can't believe it's been ten years already). I'm a huge Terry fan, so I'm biased, but he was brilliant. His vocals were even richer and deeper than when he originally played the role, and his suicide scene was breathtaking. I also saw him in concert this past spring, and he sang Stars, and I was in tears. Beautiful.

    Quast is also an excellent Javert, and I've seen/heard some other great ones over the years. As for the film, I would have been very interested to see Jackman take on the role, actually. When he was first announced I was hoping against hope that they would say it was for Javert, even though I knew logically he would be playing Valjean. But his range is more suited for Javert, and I think he would have acted it beautifully. Jackman as Javert, a real tenor as Valjean, and we would have been in business. (I did very much enjoy the film, btw, but I couldn't help but indulge in a little bit of fantasy casting while I was watching.)
  4. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand this argument. You don't find him attractive, but it doesn't mean that other people feel the same way. Sometimes people act like only folks with movie star beauty could/should fall in love. Well just take a look at the every day folks walking amongst you, including the person staring back at you in the mirror. Most of us aren't movie star beauty, and most movie star beauty aren't movie star beauty without a team of people behind them either.
  5. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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    Well, I was being just a tiny bit facecious there. Trust me, some of the most beautiful people I know aren't physically attractive at all. It was more his demeanor that I found very off-putting. And yes, his appearance isn't my cuppa tea. But mostly, his whole attitude towards Cosette was creepy.
  6. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    I actually find that Hugo's female characters leave a lot to be desired at times. If you ever read Notre Dame, it really is surprising at how naive and obtuse Esmerelda is as a character. She is very different from the fiesty exotic gypsy portrayed in most movies and staged productions.
  7. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    I love Norm Lewis's version too. Perhaps even more than Quast's. Norm's posture, command, and facial expressions are perfect.

    Russell Crowe looks and sounds like a kid doing the "look at me I'm so tough" thing but being so bad at it that it's pathetically funny.
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
  8. peibeck

    peibeck Left in the Kiss-n-Cry

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    I finally saw the movie today and, as a lover of the musical, I truly found it a completely frustrating experience.

    I cannot fathom why Hollywood is hell bent on making musicals again, only to completely destroy them by casting people who CANNOT sing the roles. :mad: I proffer Renee Zellweger in "Chicago," John Travolta in "Hairspray," Gerard Butler in "Phantom," Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in "Sweeney Todd" :scream: (a complete desecration of one of the greatest musical/opera scores ever), Daniel Day Lewis in "Nine," and now both Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in "Les Miz."

    I get that producers feel they need a "name" or "names" to market, but at least in the case of "Hairspray" where Travolta was so horridly miscast, at least he wasn't the flipping LEADING role. All I can say is that "Les Miz" gives me complete and utter dread of an "all star" movie version of "Wicked." :yikes:
  9. RoseAugust

    RoseAugust New Member

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    I saw the movie yesterday. I hae not seen the stage version so there is no comparison for me to make in that regard. I've read the book, both abridged and original. The abridged version I read in the 10th grade and it was the first book I ever enjoyed! Anyway, I loved the movie. The casting of Javert had be scratching my head (mainly because I don't care for Russell Crowe in general), but I got over it soon enough. I want to see it again.

    I love musicals, but there are always a couple of voices I would like replaced. I don't ever go in expecting the casting to suit me 100%.
  10. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

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    I just got home from seeing it and I loved it, speaking as a die-hard fan of the musical. Generally agree with the comments upthread on the standouts being Hathaway, Redmayne, Barks, and Jackman. Loved Gavroche and little Cosette as well. Crowe was not as bad as I had expected from the clips (the only song where I really thought he sounded bad was "One Day More") and I generally like Seyfried's voice, so she didn't bother me, although there were a couple of points where she seemed to have a bit of a bleating or shaky quality in her voice.

    I do agree about too many closeups, which is probably my only major complaint about the movie. Well, maybe also that the sewer scene was way too realistic and I had to keep my eyes shut for it. Loved all of the barricade scenes and the big ensemble scenes. The minor wording changes to songs bugged a bit (in most cases it was unnecessary and didn't help the song make any better sense), but I thought the rearrangement of order of the songs was fine and usually made sense. I did have a bit of concern that they were leaving out "Do You Hear the People Sing", but once they got to it, I thought it was beautifully placed and sung. The only time I teared up was at the end, when they did the reprise of "Do You Hear the People Sing" with everyone who had died and it was very touching. Lots of people applauded at the end, and I nearly did too, until I remembered I was at a movie and not in a real theatre.
  11. MR-FAN

    MR-FAN Kostner Softie

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    Kill me. Shoot me. Spank me. Do as you wish:

    I preferred the movie to the live production I attended 10 years ago. LOVED it. Russel and Sacha were totally miscast, but everything else was practically perfect. Loved the Epic feel of the movie, which you'd never get on a stage. Loved the OTT dramatics and the closeups... was completely caught up with the whole experience. I was left almost out of breath by the end!

    You don't expect that from a movie musical ;)

    Which reminds me, has any skater skated to Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, as part of a Les Mis medley or just to the song??
  12. victoriaheidi

    victoriaheidi New Member

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    FWIW, Sondheim considers Sweeney Todd the best film adaptation of one of his musicals.

    Also, WRT Marius and Cosette, my friends have all had the same comment: "jeez louise! They glanced at each other one time! That's not love! That's nuts!" LOL I think the film made the improbability there seem even less probable.
  13. escaflowne9282

    escaflowne9282 Well-Known Member

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    Just saw it. Loved it. I never cry at movies,but I teared up during IDAD and the scene immediately before it when Fantine was with her john. I also teared up during Jean Valjean's death scene.
  14. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    And, don't forget that Travolta was incredible in Grease. So, the producers probably thought he was perfect for a musical. And, he can be, just not that role.
  15. peibeck

    peibeck Left in the Kiss-n-Cry

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    Well he had little to no creative control on the original "Gypsy," or "West Side Story," and the film version of "A Little Night Music" was a hot mess, so that isn't really saying much. His public stance while doing the promotion for the film was positive (but certainly not effusive), but he also is someone who is known throughout the industry to not publically complain about reviews, performers, etc.

    I don't know what the producers thought. It's not like Danny Zuko and Edna Turnblad are similar characters, so although he might be perfect for a musical obviously they didn't screen test that idea first. :lol: In the case for "Les Miz," apparently Jackman and Crowe did audition for Hooper and he (apparently) felt they acted well enough through their singing to convince him to cast them in these roles. And while that may have been what Hooper wanted to make the film more "accessible and real," it also makes for an aural assualt on standards like "Bring Him Home," and "Stars" for audiences. :p
  16. martian_girl

    martian_girl New Member

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    I thought Jackman was a lot better than you did. In any case, he has some stage-cred, so its not like they just went with a "big star" for the sake of it. While Crowe wasn't a vocally strong Javert (a role that is a true vocal showcase for a great singer), its not like he made me want to jam sharp object into my ears either.

    Regarding your larger point, it is possible to err in the other directions. See Dreamgirls, which hired a singer that couldn't act as their lead and Rent, which brought back nearly the entire Broadway cast despite the fact that they were all far too old to reprise their role on film.


    If I want Broadway-level singing, I'll watch one of the concert DVDs. For a movie version of a musical, I tend to forgive the singing if the acting is excellent.

    Of course, then there's Phantom, where they neither cast big stars, good singers or good actors.
  17. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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    Good thing I had no sharp objects in my purse then. :yikes::lol:
  18. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if Tom Hopper and the producers realized early into the filming that Crowe wasn't working out, but Crowe was too big a star to fire without it being a big distraction. I can't imagine them looking at the dailies and thinking that Crowe was good in the role.

    I didn't think Travolta was bad in Hairspray. The fat suit make-up around the face was awful though.

    What other big musicals are out there to be filmed after this? I know Wicked is still in the plan to be filmed, but I have not heard any songs from that show.
  19. love skating

    love skating Clueless American

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    I remember Todd Eldredge skating to it for an exhibition show, not his Les Mis medley competition number but just Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. I'd have to dig out my old tapes to find it though. lol
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  20. Rae35

    Rae35 New Member

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    We enjoyed it last night. Felt a bit long, but that's minor. Pleased to see musicals back on the big screen and in the mainstream (which historically tends to happens when times are tougher in the real world!). Thumbs up to Anne Hathaway in particular.
  21. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they can get Kristin Chenowith to reprise her role as Glinda. The woman doesn't age!
  22. Kruss

    Kruss Well-Known Member

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    I can return to the thread now because I finally saw it today. I loved it! I agree that Russell Crowe isn't a singer, but I thought he did a good job in the acting department. Everyone else was stellar IMO. Anne Hathaway's Fantine absolutely broke my heart (in the best way possible). I don't think that she overacted at all.

    I adore the stage version, the 10th Anniversary and (except for the awful JoBro) the 25th Anniversary. However, a stage production can't show the grit and grime of the story in the way a visual movie can. I think this raw storytelling brought so much to the story. I really enjoy both stage and movie now, with no comparisons between them.

    At the end, being a huge Eponine fan, I was surprised she wasn't with Fantine here. I always thought that Eponine showed up at the end on stage as a representative of the one whose only love was Marius (as a counterpart to Fantine whose only love was Cosette). However, the more I think of it, I think this movie ending is better. It makes so much more sense. And, given that this story is about redemption (as much as other themes), having the Bishop there was a perfect completion of the redemption angle for me.

    And crying? Oh boy, did I cry!! As in, gut-wrenching, teeth-baring, tears sliding down into my cleavage crying! :lol: I even started crying all over again during the credits. I love it when a movie does that for me.
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  23. chipso1

    chipso1 Well-Known Member

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    Barbra Streisand is heading up a "Gypsy" remake with herself as Mama Rose, and she reportedly wants Lady Gaga to play Louise.

    Back to Les Miserables, Oscar nominations are due this week, and IMDb has an interesting look at the projected favorites: http://www.imdb.com/list/--Aj0TA7c14/.
  24. martian_girl

    martian_girl New Member

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    Into the Woods (which is probably my all-time favorite musical) is also in the pipeline with Rob Marshall directing. No word on casting yet, but they were hoping to get Meryl Streep (isn't everyone :lol:).
  25. peibeck

    peibeck Left in the Kiss-n-Cry

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    Jackman's biggest stage cred is really playing another Aussie, Peter Allen in "The Boy From Oz," where the arrangements were lowered from Allen's original key to something better suited to Jackman's range. The other big musical parts he played on stage were baritone roles (in "Oklahoma" in the West End and a concert version of "Carousel"). His vocal range is not that of a high tenor, which is what this role requires. As to his acting, I thought his acting and comprehension of the character were good. But when the entire libretto is sung-through, I don't think that is enough. This is a 60+ MILLION dollar production, not bad community theater.

    They would have had to buy out Crowe from his contract, plus it would have been horrible publicity. So I seriously doubt that even if they realized Russell Crowe was not the right actor as Javert that they would have gone to the expense to recast the role.

    As for other musicals in the pipe, Rob Marshall, the director of "Chicago" and "Nine" has a version of Stephen Sondheim's "Into the Woods" reportedly in the works. Remakes of both "Gypsy" and "Damn Yankees" have been in development hell for ages, and this summer there was a rumor that George C. Wolff was going to direct a movie version of "In the Heights" which won the Tony for Best Musical several years ago, however that seems in limbo as well since Universal put the picture in turn-around.
  26. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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  27. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    Todd skated to it in a show called "Skaters' Tribute to Broadway" in October 1998. I *think*the show was aired on A&E. I seem to recall that Viktor Petrenko skated to it as well in COI (?), and maybe in a pro or pro/am comp?

    Haven't seen the movie version of "Les Mis" yet, but hope to get to see it within a few days.
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  28. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

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    Into the Woods is a brilliant musical, but I wonder if it will be a big challenge to adapt it to screen-how could they have a narrator without using voice-over? Perhaps they will just use voice-over, but that often comes off as cheesy.
  29. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    I've been listening to the soundtrack, and it basically confirms what I already knew from the trailers: Russell Crowe absolutely cannot sing, and it is unacceptable for him to have been cast as Javert.

    Eddie Redmayne doesn't have the powerhouse voice of Michael Ball, but he has a nice tone and is worlds better than Nick Jonas. One valid interpretation of Marius, when he sings Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, is a young man still shell-shocked and fragile. Redmayne's version expresses that very well.

    I prefer the great stage versions of I Dreamed a Dream when Fantine is despondent but not yet on her death bed--she still has some fight in her. But in the movie, they moved the song so that Fantine is inches from death. So Hathaway's version makes sense. (Side note: Hathaway's technique is generally fine, but her running scale in IDAD is a textbook example of poor technique. I'm shocked her vocal teachers didn't correct that before filming.)

    But I can see no justification for Russell Crowe's "singing". His tone and diction are awful, and he sounds uncomfortable, unsure, and lacking command. It is everything Javert isn't.

    That begs the question, why not lower the songs an octave to suit Jackman's voice? Jackman can sing--he's proven that many times. But like you said, this isn't his natural range. Valjean was originally written for a lower voice, but they raised it to fit Colm Wilkinson's natural range, so why not lower it back to the original?
  30. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Very good point. I have seen Les Mis on Broadway twice. Once with a Valjean with a deeper voice. He hd no problem, because they did exactly what you suggest. They made it work with his range.
  31. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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  32. jenny12

    jenny12 Well-Known Member

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  33. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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  34. Alixana

    Alixana recovering Oly-holic

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    ^^ Awesome!! :rofl::rofl:
  35. UGG

    UGG Well-Known Member

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    Hugh Jackman reminds me of Garry Morris who played Valjean on Broadway, I believe after Colm Wilkinson. He is also on the Symphonic Recording.

    Not saying they sound exactly alike-but that is who I thought of.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbmVAfYTeKo
  36. MR-FAN

    MR-FAN Kostner Softie

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    Thanks guys!!

    *Runs to hunt them down*
  37. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    The octave for Enjolras was also changed from the 10th anniversary concert (Michael Maguire, a high bass who over the yeas has become a mid-bass) to the 25th (Ramin Karimloo, a tenor), and both sounded terrific and looked totally comfortable. But imagine if Maguire had to sing higher and Karimloo had to sing lower. What a disaster that would have been!

    So why didn't Jackman demand that they do that? Singing higher than one's natural range for an extended period of time is bad for the vocal cords too.

    This is my favorite Jackman performance. I love the low notes he hits at 2:10 and 2:40. Also notice that his final note in the song is at the border of his falsetto, and that's around the lowest note in Bring Him Home when sung by a mid to high tenor.

    I really think there may be something to the "conspiracy theory" that they made him sing worse than his potential to compensate for Russell Crowe's ineptitude.
  38. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Right, because directors of big-budget prestige projects are known for deliberately coaxing substandard performances out of their big-name stars.

    (I'm not counting George Lucas.)
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  39. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    He may have tried. But, since most of the "popular"performances of Valjean have been tenors, maybe the decision was to keep it that way. Dumb, I think.

    Mmm, nice!
  40. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    Another possibility, not mutually exclusive of the "conspiracy theory": Certain conditions aren't conducive to the voice. Air temperature, air humidity, time of day, tiredness level, etc. all affect singers. Doing take after take, as is common in films, is terrible for the voice. Doing that day after day takes a serious toll.

    I don't know what order the scenes were shot in, but it's more than plausible that Jackman's voice was wiped out by the end of shooting or by the umpteenth consecutive take, especially considering that he's singing above his natural range. I noticed Samantha Barks' voice also wasn't as resonant as I know she's capable of.

    If Tom Hooper didn't take measures to help the singers (air quality, filming schedule, rest periods, etc.), then that was reckless.