Saturday, February 02, 2013

Sing with me the songs we knew

Because the 10th Anniversary Les Mis soundtrack got me through college (along with the soundtrack to Top Gun), of COURSE I ran out to see the movie with La Madre on opening day. Then I dragged The Planning Committee to see it 10 days later. Both times I sang heartily and proudly (despite La Madre's embarrassed whispers to please stop).

The first third is a bit difficult to get into, mainly because Russel Crowe as Javert is completely horrible. Javert is a pretty nuanced character whose strict adherence to the letter of the law stems from his own background. But Crowe's bad singing doesn't capture any of that. Hugh Jackson as Valjean was good but again, in the first third of the movie, seemed stilted.

However, once the storyline moves to Paris in 1832, then the movie picks up its pace.

It's the first production of Les Mis where I've actually liked Marius better than Enjolras. (At a recent local improv show, an actor imitated Marius by running around saying "Where's Cosette? She's so beautiful!" which has pretty much been my low impression of him for almost two decades.)

I was satisfied with the delivery of all of my favorite songs ("I Dreamed a Dream," "Do You Hear the People Sing,""Red and Black," "One Day More," and "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables." Even Crowe did a halfway decent job with "Stars.")  But both "On My Own" and "Drink With Me" had verses inexplicably cut out, which I did not appreciate because it messed with my personal public sing-a-long.

The last fifteen minutes of the film are a pure sob fest, with Valjean's death and the ending scene at the barricade.

If someone wasn't already prone to loving Victor Hugo's classic or Cameron Mackintosh's theatrical brilliance, I don't see how this movie changes that. It's really only enjoyable if the viewer is already a Les Mis nerd (I literally clapped my hands like a dork when Colm Wilkinson came onscreen as the Bishop).

WaitingwaitingwaitingOMGwaiting to own the DVD!

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