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Les Mis Movie


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#701 paplazaroo

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:08 PM

View PostCaityGlinda, on 12 January 2013 - 03:44 PM, said:


As for the chopping and changes, I thought many of them worked very well. A few line changes annoyed me, particularly one in the Prologue between JVJ and Javert that just didn't seem to rhyme anymore.

I noticed a few of these, for example I think in the factory scene, Valjean rather than singing 'Now, come on ladies, settle down
I run a business of repute, I am the Mayor of this town' he sang 'now come on ladies, settle down, I am the mayor of this town, I run a business of repute'. I know this is major nit picking but I just wondered whether it was intentional or a fluff that Jackman made on the day

#702 paplazaroo

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:09 PM

View PostJavert, on 12 January 2013 - 11:01 PM, said:

Hi everyone - long time lurker first time poster - had to make an account just to ask your opinion on a couple of things from the movie, which I thought was fantastic of course!

Does anyone know, or can think of any reason at all why the lines were switched at the end of the factory scene? I just couldn't think of a possible reason at all, other than perhaps it was an actual HJ mistake, and they didn't have another take to use that worked?

ODD, I think we were both typing that query at the same time, glad you noticed too!

#703 The Scorpion

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:09 PM

I really wanted to love it, especially since it's getting so much attention and hype, but I ultimately came away thinking it was just average and that the hype wasn't deserved. I didn't think it was bad but I don't think the direction was that great (I got serious close-up fatigue) and I think the pacing was rather off, so I actually got a bit bored at several places and started looking at my watch, which is never a good sign. Some of the direction choices seemed inconsistent, e.g. some songs are a lot more muted and toned down, which I understand, but then we have Samantha Barks belting out 'On My Own' and then I start to feel like the piece is uneven. I think the film also brought out some of the flaws of the material, e.g. underdeveloped characterisation, that weren't necessarily so evident on the stage. Some of the messing around with the placement of songs worked (e.g. 'I Dreamed a Dream'), some of them IMHO really didn't ('On My Own').

There was something lacking that didn't make the show come to life for me. None of the songs had any momentum, sometimes because the keys were lowered so drastically as to take all the power out of the material, sometimes because of the casting issues (Russell Crowe - he seems to have concentrated so much on singing by numbers that he forgot to act too). I thought the cast wouldn't be a problem as it's an ensemble piece, but it does throw off the dynamics a bit. I thought orchestra(tions) severely lacking too for a big motion picture adaptation. At times I felt it would have been much better as a straight Les Mis film (especially when everyone seemed to come a bit more to life when there was just spoken dialogue rather than recitative), which kind of defeats the point I guess.

I thought it was to the film's disadvantage that it lacked a sense of red-blooded French flair. The whole thing felt very, very Anglicised, especially with the profusion of British Isles accents, be they RP, cockney, Scottish, Irish or otherwise. This is probably an issue with the stage production but it felt even more so on screen, especially when they're asking an audience to believe that a set which is a well-known part of London is really pre-Haussmann Paris.

As for the cast, Eddie Redmayne, Anne Hathaway and Samantha Barks came across very well. Hugh was OK but it doesn't help that his voice isn't particularly well suited to a lot of the songs and is not the most pleasant of things to listen to, and at some points I found his acting choices cheesy. Amanda Seyfried was not nearly as bad as I was expecting, but she may have been a little out of her depth vocally. But Cosette has had her part so brutally cut down over the years that it didn't really matter.  Would someone care to enlighten me which accent Sacha Baron Cohen was trying to do? It sounded like a weird Irish-Jewish-Russian hybrid. At some points he seemed to be channelling Topol. I didn't like his performance; I actually found it worse than Crowe's. Sadly Aaron Tveit just didn't register. There didn't seem to be enough conviction, soul or charisma coming from him that I would expect to come from Enjolras.

I would probably see it again, but not at the cinema - on DVD. A 3 out of 5 from me. I remain unconvinced that musicals work on film. It's not a Phantom-type disaster by any means, but it's not the next King's Speech. I even thought Sweeney Todd made a substantially better transition to the screen than this did, despite the amount of material that was cut out of it.

Audience reception seemed positive, although there were a few titters at lines that weren't intentionally funny, either because of silly lyrics or because of the way they were delivered. I don't think the new song went down too well (and it was unnecessary). There was a very brief moment of applause at the end from one part of the audience.

#704 Javert's Revenge

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:16 PM

View Postpaplazaroo, on 12 January 2013 - 11:09 PM, said:

ODD, I think we were both typing that query at the same time, glad you noticed too!
lol it's been bugging me since last night - I really think it HAS to be a mistake... Maybe the extras on the DVD will tell all....

#705 thatgirlsophie

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:29 PM

With regards to the line switch in the factory scene, 'I am the mayor of this town' wasn't even on the screenplay that leaked, it was just 'Now come on ladies settle down, I run a business of repute' *sees Javert*
Based on the screenplay, there was meant to be an additional section with the factory women singing about Valjean being the mayor. As this was obviously cut, maybe they decided it didn't work and so added 'I am the mayor of this town' back in just so it was stated that he was mayor.

#706 Javert's Revenge

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 11:34 PM

View Postthatgirlsophie, on 12 January 2013 - 11:29 PM, said:

With regards to the line switch in the factory scene, 'I am the mayor of this town' wasn't even on the screenplay that leaked, it was just 'Now come on ladies settle down, I run a business of repute' *sees Javert*
Based on the screenplay, there was meant to be an additional section with the factory women singing about Valjean being the mayor. As this was obviously cut, maybe they decided it didn't work and so added 'I am the mayor of this town' back in just so it was stated that he was mayor.
I can see why they would have had to put the mayor line back in, but surely there must have been a way to put it back in where it belongs?

#707 poster J

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 12:19 AM

View PostThe Scorpion, on 12 January 2013 - 11:09 PM, said:

Some of the direction choices seemed inconsistent, e.g. some songs are a lot more muted and toned down, which I understand, but then we have Samantha Barks belting out 'On My Own' and then I start to feel like the piece is uneven.

But she didn't really belt it out, half of it was much more muted than it usually is on stage.  And even the bits she did belt were understandable - it's a song of frustration, anguish and heartbreak, not the same as some of the other solos - Bring Him Home being a prayer, for example.  Having all of them muted and toned down would have been a wrong directional choice as they're not all the same.  I didn't agree with a lot of Tom Hooper's directional choices, but I don't think he can be criticised for not having all the solos muted.  The actual cinematography of the solos on the other hand...

#708 djp

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 02:05 AM

View PostThe Scorpion, on 12 January 2013 - 11:09 PM, said:

............... I think the film also brought out some of the flaws of the material, e.g. underdeveloped characterisation, that weren't necessarily so evident on the stage...............

Much of that is the  directors choice - not inherent in the material/lyrics. Some seems to have changed since the leaked script.  Many of the points reviewers have thought lacking - like depth in the Thenardiers, and the retationship between Thenardier parents and daughter,  and reasons for love at first sight between Marius and Cosette - have been clearly and beautifully filled in by some recent actors at Queens. Comic panto Thenardiers, unrelated Thenardiers,  and insipid Cosettes there have been on stage too, but there's also been people who have filled in the detail, and provided characters who were large enough to fill the needs/potential  of the plot. The current cast (or last week's cast did anyway) actually fills in many  of the gaps people have noted in reviews  I have read of the film,  and arguably other recent casts  tied up questions most people will never think of. The film seems to be driven by time available,  and possibly by changes to make it more politically acceptable to US cinema audiences that might find its religious and political themes more difficult. You could argue the film  dumbed down a bit, avoided being a musical masterpiece, and watered down its story and  message, or you could argue thats what you have to do to staff it with known stars, condense it enough, and not stir any political or religious  hornets nests.

#709 Cactus

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 03:00 AM

View Postposter J, on 13 January 2013 - 12:19 AM, said:

But she didn't really belt it out, half of it was much more muted than it usually is on stage.  And even the bits she did belt were understandable - it's a song of frustration, anguish and heartbreak,
It's not actually... the lyrics and music indicate that Eponine is pretty happy for most of the song until awareness and realisation hit half-way through. It's annoying that it's been reduced to self-pity.

#710 Doogie Hoser

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 04:21 AM

I am relieved to see The Scorpion's review because I saw it for the first time tonight and was slightly disappointed.  

What I loved/liked/admired:

Samantha Banks.  Enough said.  Oh, OK.  How marvellous to see a relative unknown make such a stellar impression.  Well done, Samantha Banks.

Eddie Redmayne.  He gave it his all and I really admired all of his effort.  The Empty Chairs scene:  he was giving it!

Amanda Seyfried.  I could listen to her sing all day.  It's a total taste thing but I love her voice (which I gather puts me in a distinct minority.)  I thought she put a real stamp on In My Life.  There was a little bit of anger and frustration there.  I thought Cossette came across as having some strength and backbone than I'd ever seen and somehow, Seyfried seemed to play her as Valjean had done an exceptional job of raising and grounding her.  One thing I think made it easier for Amanda was that Isabelle Allan (Allen?) was so strong as young Cossette.  The little girl made a real impression in character and I think that laid the foundation for Amanda's work as the grown up Cossette.

Hugh Jackman.  He did the best talk singing I've seen.  The acting was terrific.  He impressed me more than I expected he would, as am not particularly a Hugh Jackman fan.

The Bishop of Digne's silver.  Lots of it.  Finally enough bling that you could see Valjean pawning it for a stake in life.  (I've always assumed M. Madeleine International was founded on the proceeds of the honest Bishop's silver tea service.)

The Thenardiers' relationship.  By my interpretation it was really some kind of twisted love match and by my interpretation Madame was actually the brains behind their nefarious operations for the most part.  Though overall HBC and SBC did well with the characters I've seen much stronger Thenardiers on stage.  I thought she was much stronger than him on film.  I did giggle at wee Eponine laughing it up with Daddy while they scammed more money out of people.  That was amusing to me.

Whoever played Grantaire. Hubba bubba.

The raw emotion from whoever it was who collected Gavroche's body.  It was the only point in the whole film I was moved to tears.  (I would have, should have been moved by Anne Hathaway, but we've all been so exposed to her I Dreamed a Dream already that it was more of a confirmation of all the hype.)

Anne Hathaway:  just lovely, just fantastic.  I worry she won't get the Oscar because bloody Hollywood will vote for somebody else out of spite and fatigue.  (Though I did think Fantine was a bit too touchy feely with the dying Valjean.)

The introduction of the La Marque funeral into the narrative.  Worked so well.  Launched the action so genuinely.  The use of Do You Hear the People Sing? as a literal and figurative rally of the crowd toward action was brilliant.

The movement of many of the songs.  Some very good calls.

What left me more disappointed than enthralled:

As almost everybody has pointed out, the sound.  The orchestra sounded as if it was two theatres down Shaftesbury.

The Steady Cam, which should be renamed the Shaky Cam.  Seriously, twice I had to shake my head to refocus.  I didn't mind the close ups, though I noticed Hugh Jackman had an ingrown hair pimple in one scene.  But I found the editing, when they cut away from the eternal close up, was terribly choppy.

The edits to the narrative/songs.  To me it felt like they cut short a lot of the lines that made sense of most of the characters and some of the action or built mood or context.  And the new sections I thought didn't strengthen the film at all.   For example, Grantaire just seemed like a guy who happened to be drinking during the proceedings, not the conflicted drinker who stayed with his friends but really wanted to be somewhere else or at least getting the I am going to die in the flower of my youth part of the proceedings over with fast.  In the last stage version I saw, Grantaire had an affection and protective attachment to Gavroche.  That was sacrificed.  As was Drink With Me, which with the movie cast, might have been quite an effective scene.

Was A Little Fall of Rain reduced?  It felt it but at one point I decided to stop reciting the lyrics in my head and just go with the show.  Still I was often left with a sensation of 'isn't it a bit longer?'  Also, I thought it should have started raining sooner.  All of sudden Eponine and everybody else was soaked.  Which technically isn't a little fall of rain, in my books anyway.

Master of the House.  Shouldn't have been cut down.   Comedy was sacrificed.  

Same with the dire ruin of Beggars at the Feast.  Very sorry about that.  Though it was funny watching the two of them pull their carriage entrance switcheroo and then later being removed bodily.  I am still confused as to why Madame was in possession of Tom Petty's glasses.  A weak exit for what should have been a totally memorable turn.  

Suddenly.  If you have 2:33 for that - and all that emotion was pretty fucking sudden relative to where the song popped up in the script - give me that 2:33 in the lines you cut.

The Grandfather.  Waste of time.

The orchestrations:  I don't know the technical term, but it felt to me like a lot of the bridging music was lost, to the detriment of the flow.   Scene after scene just seemed to be stitched abruptly to the other.

Javert decorating Gavroche.  Totally out of character.  The two barely interacted previously, bar Gavroche outing Javert as per usual. It should have been a great and moving moment, but Javert never gave nor was given an opportunity to give a hint there was anything in him that would secretly find little Gavroche valourous.  

Hugh Jackman's singing:  it was fine, but we've all seen, if I may presume, far superior Valjeans.  That said, his facial expressions were awesome and it was a strong, strong performance in my view.  Marvellous interpretation of the internal conflict, grief, bitterness and regret after the silver.

Russell Crowe.  He did not do a bad job.  He just didn't do a particularly good one and his voice - in addition to making me think of Gordon Lightfoot the whole time - was not up to Javert's job.  There's wound tight and then there's wooden.  There's stoic and then there's stone.  There's a whole raft of memorable Javerts and then there's Russell.   He was miscast.  Not his fault.  He delivered well with what he's got to offer.  But when I recall the number of Javerts who've gone wild with confusion and anger leading up to taking the plunge, it just didn't do it for me.  They obviously invested a lot in terms of the script and story in emphasizing the lifelong hunt/hunted relationship between the two men.  An opportunity was missed.

I suppose making this film was a hopeless task.  The material is so well known and over the years so many massively talented people have left their mark on it.  It's hard to push up against that.  Still, and overall, the piece felt rushed to me with many unhelpful eliminations of well known material that strengthened the richness of the story and the experience.  They seemed to want to have it every which way.  Part the musical, part the book, part 'well you all know it cold anyway so you know what you need to know when we do this, even if we're not actually showing it on screen.'  Well, what about the people who don't know it that well?  

That said, maybe I am one of those who knows it all too well.  And certainly they weren't setting out simply to transpose the stage musical to the screen, that was evident.   Even so, the movie version served for me as a reminder of how powerful and marvellous the stage musical is and I look forward to seeing that again.  And again.  And again.  The movie - I probably will see it again before it exits theatre - be worse on a television screen I think - but I haven't got a firm date in mind.

There was considerable applause, briefly, from the audience at the end.  None at any other point.  I heard people griping about both Jackman and Crowe's singing... not bitterly, but a number of people were underwhelmed as I heard them exiting.

6/10 and I'm sorry to say it.




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