Saturday, February 9, 2013

Les Miserables

I watched Repertory Philippines' production of Les Miserales back in 1993 (I had to google the year) and I absolutely loved it - the story, the drama, the musical score, everything! It was, and still is, hands down my favorite stage play ever. I loved it so much that I read the book for pleasure, and I enjoyed that too. Oddly enough, I have never even attempted to watch any movie adaptation, which a quick google check lists as having 10 versions already. This time however, I made sure to watch the movie. Hugh Jackman is a good enough reason to watch it. That the movie also has Anne Hathaway and a couple of Oscar nominations is additional incentive.

I liked the movie. The acting was great. The singing for the most part were at par with the Broadway versions. The cinematography was great too. The final scene where everyone who died was singing Do You Hear the People Sing gave me major goosebumps (kinda like the ending of Titanic when all those who died were there when Rose, Kate Winslet's character, finally joined Jack, Leo DiCaprio's character. I'm a sucker for scenes like these. Btw, sorry for the Titanic ending spoiler, in the rare event that you haven't watched the movie yet).

Hugh Jackman did justice to the role of Jean Valjean. There were moments there where I actually forgot that he was Wolverine, which was quite challenging especially in the earlier scenes because of his beard and crazy hair. His haunted and hollowed eyes gripped me. His singing voice wasn't too bad, too. I hope he wins an Oscar for this role. He totally owned this movie!

I also enjoyed Anne Hathaway's performance. Although her singing voice wasn't the best (it is hard not to compare her version of I Dreamed a Dream against Lea Salonga's), it was the most heartfelt in the movie, in my opinion. You can almost feel her desperation and sadness in each note. And her acting? Hu-wow! I just watched Princess Diaries yesterday so I am doubly amazed at how far she has improved her craft. In this movie, she was clearly an actress who was singing, as opposed to the others who were singers who were acting. Hmm, I hope I'm making sense. Whatevs. She also deserves an Oscar for this role.

As for Russel Crowe, oh my. I still don't understand why he was cast for the role of Javert. Yes, he acted the role quite well, but by golly his singing was laughable compared to the rest of the cast. I spent the better part of his singing scenes trying to think of other actors who would have been better choices for the role. I first thought of Neil Patrick Harris (too skinny) and John Stamos (too baby faced) before I came up with who I think would have been a more suitable actor for the role - John Travolta. Think about it. His built, demeanor and kontrabida looks would have been perfect for the role. We all know he can sing well too. Oh well, what do I know anyway, right? But it is interesting to think of the possibilities.

A revelation for me in this movie was Sacha Baron Cohen. I have never watched any of his films and I have little tolerance to watch him when he is interviewed or when he guests at any talk show. But I enjoyed his portrayal of Monsieur Thenardier immensely. His timing and screen presence with Helen Bonham Carter was truly pleasant and fun to watch.

As for the others, Amanda Seyfried (Cosette) was pleasant to watch. And Eddie Redmayne's (Marius) voice was great, but his face was a bit too skinny for my liking. His sunken cheeks and narrow nose bothered me. Samantha Barks' (Eponine) voice was great too. But her face reminded me too much of someone and I still can't figure out who. Oh, and Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche) was adorable.

I'm so glad that the movie lived up to my expectations, and that it didn't ruin any of my thoughts on Les Misrables, Russel Crowe's singing parts included. It is a movie I would gladly watch again and again.

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