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GavestonPS
Broadway Legend
joined:6/10/12
Question about
Posted: 1/1/13 at 09:47pm
Marius copes with death very well...

Exactly, Kad. Which is why I am confused whenever somebody starts talking about "character development" with regards to the stage musical OR the film. There really isn't any except for Valjean's transformation early in the plot. LES MIZ is a poperetta/pageant with a number of catchy tunes.

And I really enjoyed it on film, but I wouldn't confuse it with a well-made play.
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OperaBwayLover
Broadway Star
joined:5/17/07
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 12:58am
I saw the film on Saturday with my boyfriend. More on him later.

Here's what I liked:

1)the inclusion of parts from the book: I already knew the elephant mold would be there, but I was thrilled at all of the little things, like "Master of the House" being set at Christmastime, Cosette getting the doll from the window shop, the chase scene into the convent, the snow down Fantine's dress, Enjolras calling out "French Revolution!"...you get the idea. I've reread the book so many times, so the book lover in me squee'd at how much was included.

2)Fantine, Marius, Gavroche, Eponine- out of this group, Eponine has always been my favorite character. When I first saw the stage version/read the book when I was 11, I had a hard time feeling sorry for Fantine. It didn't help that the actress I saw seemed to be in her 40s or so (that's what she looked like photos and how she read onstage). There have been only two Fantines to move me: Ruthie Henshall from the 10th Anniversary, and now Anne Hathaway. I loved that she fought back against the Foreman, and I enjoyed the movement of "I Dreamed a Dream" as well. And it made sense to me that she would be crying so much. Really rooting for her to get the Oscar.

Eddie Redmayne was a pleasant surprise. Marius is a thankless role if the right actor isn't playing him, and I enjoyed how he appeared in the film. I will say that there were a few times where he did sound like Kermit the Frog, but not too badly. Slightly disappointed that so many of his interactions with Eponine were cut; as my boyfriend said, it just made him look like a jerk (and yes, that's how he sort of is in the book).

As for Gavroche, it's the first time I've liked him since the book! I hate how he is portrayed onstage- this little snot-nosed kid with a Cockney accent who hangs out with the students. But here, he was cute and likeable, and it was great how he was included during "A Little Fall of Rain." I just wish they had kept in his "Watch out for old Thenardier..." though I liked the new lyrics there as well.

Eponine: Samantha Barks is awesome. That is all.

3)Some of the changes: the staging of "Do You Hear the People Sing?" was a high point for me. I liked some of the new lyrics. The Bishop in place of Eponine during the Finale made sense, even though I am a huge Eponine fan. Putting the Thenardiers in as student 'sympathizers' during "One Day More" worked very well.

Here's what I didn't like:

1)Valjean, Javert- Hugh Jackman was very good during several parts, and it would be intriguing to see if he would ever do the role onstage. But at the same time, there were several moments where his singing was strained. And it was pretty obvious.

Russell Crowe- how did this man get cast as Javert? I'll admit, I came into the movie a little biased, because Javert is my other favorite character, and I adore Philip Quast and Terrence Mann's portrayals on record, and Todd Alan Johnson and Andrew Varela from the tours. But my God. What I said about Jackman straining, I found Crowe to be so much worse. During his Suicide, I was actually saying out loud, "Just jump already!" And I have never said that before about M'sieur L'Inspectur. :-p I so wish they had relied on the star power of Jackman, Hathaway, HBC, and SBC's names, and cast someone from the stage as Javert. The "Confrontation" was so weak because of the differences in vocal strength between the two men. And was it me, or did they have Crowe's voice louder than everyone else's during "One Day More"?

Also: why did Javert have a beard? Back in the 19th century, men would not have had beards, especially not police officers/military. Maybe a thin mustache ala Napoleon III (as the history major boyfriend pointed out), but not a beard. And why did Javert get a new uniform/hat every time he walked through a doorway? :-p

2)the cutting/omission of lyrics. There were several parts that should have been left in. For example, the whole section with Thenardier and Patron Minette in "Attack of Rue Plumet" should have been there; otherwise, they either randomly pop up out of nowhere, or it seems that they've followed Eponine. Also, as others have noted, during "Every Day," Marius's lines before Cosette says "Don't think about it, Marius" were sorely needed. I didn't mind "Dog Eats Dog" being cut (less of that weird accent flip-flopping from SBC), though.

3)it was too short- I'm not a fan of this recent trend of making the show/movie shorter. You lose a lot of plot development/understanding that way. I disliked the cuts made in the 25th anniversary tour, and I disliked them as well in the movie.

4)the new song, "Suddenly"-it just seemed sort of bland and thus not too memorable. During this part of the movie, I kept remembering how Hugo portrays Valjean's growing affection for little Cosette, instead of focusing on the song.

5)Colm Wilkinson, Aaron Tveit, and Samantha Barks having to hold back- we all know what they can do, and it was unfortunate that they had to mute their singing to an extent. I really missed having an Enjolras who could boom out his lyrics and truly be inspirational. Not Tevit's fault, though. I blame the director.

All in all, it was about good as one could expect for a movie version. Still holding out for a full soundtrack to be released. And I'm looking forward to the Oscar nominations.

Now for the boyfriend: he does like musical theatre, but prior to seeing the movie, he was unfamiliar with the music or the overall story, beyond seeing the 1998 Liam Neeson trainwreck. As a result, I was interested in what he would think. And guess what? There's a new Mizzie in the world, folks! He did like Jackman's singing and agreed with me about the straining, and despite being unfamiliar with the score, he could tell that the role of Javert 'was meant for a more powerful voice.' BF also asked several questions about the plot due to the cuts in lyrics, which I was able to answer (but should not have had to). He also enjoyed Colm Wilkinson and Samantha Barks. Not a fan of Cosette, though; he agrees that for being a central character, she really doesn't have much to do or sing. And he thought the Thenardiers were a bit too over the top; in his words, "it's like Tim Burton hijacked part of the movie."

To make up for Russell Crowe's singing, I let him borrow my 10th Anniversary Concert CDs so he could hear a real Javert, and he's already listened to the whole thing twice(and likes almost everyone in the cast). I may never get my CDs back. :-p

And he has also watched the 2000 miniseries with Gerard Depardieu and John Malkovich (which is fabulous if you haven't seen it), and he has expressed interest in seeing the stage version someday, along with reading the book. So, if nothing else, the movie has brought us closer together on a musical/book I dearly love.

Updated On: 1/2/13 at 12:58 AM
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CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 05:31am
I might have this all wrong but--the factory scene where all the workers were in blue uniforms and bonets-compared with all the misery and illness outside-didn't they all look too neat and dry-cleaned,as if dressed by Dior? Plus..I couldn't work out why the workers were so bitchy to Fantine and reported she had a child[big deal]-did they all suffer because she wouldn't sleep with the foreman?
Someone will explain it--save me having to read the book.
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 05:49am
Their uniforms went over their own clothes/hair -- to cover up dirt and germs.


Why were they so bitchy? It wasn't a plesant time. In thier opinion, she was a tramp and didn't deserve to be treated well. I suggest, as the foreman says, she was a little uppity to everyone -- and they want to cut her down to size as know they have proof she is less than perfect.


But reading is still good for you.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Updated On: 1/2/13 at 05:49 AM
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 06:43am
"I couldn't work out why the workers were so bitchy to Fantine"

Some people are just plain evil. I worked at a musical last year and my colleagues were exactly the same. I don't know if it's jealousy or projection of their own misery, but it happens.
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SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 10:57am
"I might have this all wrong but--the factory scene where all the workers were in blue uniforms and bonets-compared with all the misery and illness outside-didn't they all look too neat and dry-cleaned,as if dressed by Dior? Plus..I couldn't work out why the workers were so bitchy to Fantine and reported she had a child[big deal]-did they all suffer because she wouldn't sleep with the foreman?
Someone will explain it--save me having to read the book."

In the book, it's just gossipy coworkers who think that she's uppity because she keeps to herself and is always running mysterious errands. They're also jealous of her pretty blonde hair. They find out the truth, over a length of time, by doing things like following Fantine when she sends letters to Cosette. The news gets around the town and to Fantine's (female) boss, who fires her without Valjean even knowing about the situation. Her coworkers don't intentionally get her fired.

Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
Updated On: 1/2/13 at 10:57 AM
Kaliko
Swing
joined:5/31/12
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 01:56pm
Am I the only one who actually liked 'Suddenly'? I thought it was very pretty and sweet, and really added to the relationship between Valjean and Cosette.
eatlasagna
Broadway Legend
joined:10/6/04
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 02:20pm
no I liked Suddenly as well... and I liked that Cosette got to sing a little reprise of it at the end of the movie (well melody wise that is)
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CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Question about
Posted: 1/2/13 at 04:00pm
I appreciate your response SportGoddess and others-looks like I will have to read the book-no wonder there were so many things I didn't understand.
Somehow on stage,as it is not so 'in your face' as a film, you don't tend to question the 'holes' as much and are just carried along seeing real people performing live.
BWNUT
Stand-by
joined:9/26/07
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 12:59am
"Am I the only one who actually liked 'Suddenly'? ..."

This guy did, too.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/336789/iles-mis-rablesi-hugh-jackman-and-blessing-adoption-david-french#
Plum
Broadway Legend
joined:3/4/04
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 01:08am
I was expecting "Suddenly" to be an atrocity, the way people were talking about it, but it was fine. It's not a standout in the score, but it's certainly not a stain on it either.
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jimmycurry01
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/05
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 02:24am
I finally saw it, and quite simply, I loved it.
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AwesomeDanny
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/09
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 02:27am
I just saw the movie for the fourth time, so I obviously liked it a lot. I know that a lot has been discussed at length, so I'd like to just share my thoughts on little things that I don't think have been discussed here (although I haven't read this entire thread).

I love the new orchestration of Stars. The beginning is just gorgeous and really makes it work with Russell Crowe's voice and this interpretation.

Am I the only one who noticed when Cosette killed the butterfly? During A Heart Full of Love, there's a butterfly on the fence for most of the song, and then it cuts to Eponine for about two seconds, and when it cuts back, Cosette's hand is where the butterfly was.

One of my friends was bugged by the fact that Eponine didn't have sleeves. We agreed that her incredibly tiny waist was a strange sight. Oh, and it doesn't make much sense when Eponine is prettier than Cosette.

I've never read the book, and I have just one question: Is there supposed to be a time jump between when Valjean leaves and the wedding? On stage, I always assumed that there was and that was when he became old and started to die. In the movie, it was like Valjean was suddenly old with no warning. Maybe he worked too hard saving Marius or something, but I found it strange.

Oh, also a question about the book: what season does the rebellion take place during? Because in On My Own, Eponine sings "the trees are bare..." but in Turning (although this line was cut), someone sings "no one ever told them that a summer night can kill," which sort of contradicts the bare trees.

One last thing: Isabelle Allen was the best Little Cosette I have ever seen. Absolutely adorable (more so than her grown-up counterpart), except the whispering of "Cosette, I love you very much" was an awkward choice. And the Young Eponine looked strikingly similar to Samantha Barks. Very good casting.
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dramamama611
Broadway Legend
joined:12/4/07
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 05:46am
WHAT doesn't make sense when Eponine is prettier than Cosette? Marius falling in love? Pretty has little to do with it, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 05:53am
If 'Suddenly' was written just to be nominated for new best song,if it is up against Lullaby to Pi--it's not in the same league.Breaking away from this thread--wait till you see Life of Pi-now THAT is a film of beauty/imagination and REAL emotion-genuine tears watching this movie-glorious in every aspect and the soundtrack-sublime.An Oscar winner for sure.
Dave19
Broadway Star
joined:12/23/11
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 06:32am
Lullaby to Pi is not even a song, just some weird sounds like you hear on a general relaxing "Indian moods" cd.

I don't understand the beauty of this film, it's way too "woolly" and distant.

I prefer real emotions. And songs that actually mean something.
wskrs4
Chorus Member
joined:7/9/11
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 12:57pm
I went into the movie with some previously formed opinions (can Russell Crowe do this?, Amanda Seyfreid's voice drives me nuts, etc.) A lot of things I thought would bother me, like Crowe, didn't really distract me too much. It saddened me that Javert essentially became a background character vocally due to casting in this movie, but it wasn't so horrible that I couldn't just focus on other things. His voice wasn't BAD - he just didn't make me shiver. I also lost some of the fire from the character, which is strange because we all know Russell Crowe can act. It seems like he was just in his head the whole time. The live singing thing worked against Crowe, in my opinion, because he was so focused on singing since it's not something natural to him (that style of singing). I've also seen some not-so-great Javerts on stage (Norm Lewis, I'm looking at you), so perhaps I've learned to just look past them which is weird since he is such a major character. It's too bad Phillip Quast can't be Javert all the time.

Hugh Jackman was not perfect by any means, but I thought he really connected with the character so some of his singing shortfalls didn't bother me. I did not hate "Bring Him Home" as much as some other people, but it's never been my favorite song. Amanda Seyfreid looked the part, but I couldn't stand her singing. That, however, was made easier by the fact that notes normally held were shortened, etc., and as usual, Cosette is a minor character and more of a plot device. I thought Anne Hathaway was great, but I think the buzz is overblown. Yes, she did a great job, but Fantine is also more of a minor part. Yes, she was emotional and sang it in a way that probably wouldn't work for the stage but would be the only way to do it for film. Personally, I still prefer somebody like Ruthie Henshall, but it's a personal preference, and what works on stage doesn't necessarily work on film. Beyond "I Dreamed a Dream," Hathaway was strong in the arrest, but anger/sadness can sometimes be easier emotions to portray. Again, she was great, but I'm not sure it should be enough to win an Oscar, which it appears she will win. The hype, however, is not her fault, and she WAS one of the strongest in the film. I though Eddie Redmayne was the best surprise. He got a bit throaty sometimes, but overall, I appreciated his little choices (like smiling at Enjolras during "Do You Hear the People Sing?" like "oh my gosh, we're actually doing this!") and thought his "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" was the most powerful I've ever seen. The only thing that bugged me: holy jaw/throat tension! I thought he was having a seizure at some moments, though I appreciate his acting.

The smaller roles were the BEST parts of the movie, in my opinion. The little girl was really good while she was briefly on screen. The kid who was Gavroche was probably one of my favorite cast members, and all the students were great (but almost all of them (if not all)) are musical theatre people, so I expected nothing less of people like Aaron Tveit, etc. I thought Samantha Barks was great, but her part got caught in this weird place between what the musical tried to make Eponine and what the book wrote her to be. I couldn't tell what her place was and, if not for "On My Own" and the fan base behind her character, I'm not sure she wouldn't have been cut entirely from the film. She wasn't "musical" Eponine but she wasn't "book" Eponine either. The Thenardiers were too over the top but they were exactly what I expected from casting choices. It was like Sweeney Todd part 2. I wish both of them would retire from movie musicals.

When it came to the actual way the movie was shot, I really had little problem. A few times, the shaky "handy-cam" style camera shots got on my nerves, but it was no big deal. Additionally, the extreme, extended close ups bothered a lot of people (apparently) but didn't really bother me. I actually enjoyed being able to see what people were doing with their mouths and found it to be a more enjoyable experience than watching people try to mouth along with pre-recorded tracks.

I never had confusion exactly about what happened in the show (been into it since I was 6, so I've had a lot of time to work out plot points in my head), but this movie so clearly laid out things like order of events of the "battles," what an actual barricade might have looked like from a rag-tag bunch of students, how Valjean dragged Marius through the sewer, etc. It clearly made you feel like all of these guys gave their lives for nothing and gave me a sense of futility, which is something important to the overall mood of the show. I also appreciate the way that Enjolras died, which was a nice homage to the staging of the show. I also enjoyed some of the new placement of the songs (I started to panic when "Do You Hear the People Sing" didn't show up where it's SUPPOSED TO BE but actually really loved the way it was incorporated).

Musically, where did the percussion go? Some of the vocals in Evita were lacking, but the orchestrations for that movie were GORGEOUS. I thought the orchestrations for this were lacking compared to the stage show, and I would have expected the opposite.

I did not appreciate the new song "Suddenly." I thought it added nothing to the film and we didn't really need to hear how much Valjean wanted to become a father figure to Cosette. We knew that by the end of the movie when he risked his life over and over to save both her, but eventually Marius because she loved him. The song itself wasn't memorable and I would have appreciated it if they'd just kept "Dog Eat Dog" in, though I can understand why it was cut. Just not sure it should have been replaced with another song. I also wasn't sure why some of the lyrics were changed - the changes did nothing to better the story or the songs. The film felt slow (I think that was mainly because it was just about as long as the musical but with no intermission) until the second Marius woke up after being injured. From there to Valjean dying at the end it felt so rushed because they cut some little bits that connected Marius to Valjean to Cosette. As for the end, I understand why Eponine was cut out of the ending trio, but I missed the harmony. Nevertheless, I still cried like a baby when the ghosts of all the people appeared.

Overall, despite all the nitpicking, I think this movie musical was the best in recent years. My personal favorite of recent movie musicals is still "Chicago," but it's a completely different kind of show than this, and I thought this could be more comparable to something like "Evita." I thought there were some things that could have been done better, but overall, I'm not sure another "Les Miserables" movie (of the musical) could have gotten so many things right. I did appreciate, beyond the people at the top of the billing, the amount of theatre people - mainly west end - included in the movie. I suppose they needed to make sure their foundation was strong since some of their "names" were not as strong.

I really enjoyed it, though it could use an intermission. I don't understand why new movie musicals don't add an intermission if the movie is long enough to warrant it (like My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, etc...) Lastly, and this is a technical note: the CGI looked really cheap (like Showtime's "The Tudors" cheap) in some points (eg. the ship in the beginning, sweeping shots of Paris). I'm assuming they had a budget big enough to make the CGI better.
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SporkGoddess
Broadway Legend
joined:7/27/05
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 01:48pm
I think that "Skyfall" is a bigger threat to "Suddenly."

The rebellion happened in the summer.
Jimmy, what are you doing here in the middle of the night? It's almost 9 PM!
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StageManager2
Broadway Legend
joined:10/21/05
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 02:08pm
Hence the name "June Rebellion."
Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiae
Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra
Salve, Salve Regina
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Eva
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
O clemens O pia
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Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 02:25pm
I thought the June Rebellion was when she ran away with Tulsa.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
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AwesomeDanny
Broadway Legend
joined:7/30/09
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 02:52pm
Right, thank you. But then I guess there's no justification for "the trees are bare..."

Dramamama, I guess I should pay more attention to my pronouns, but I think you got the gist of what I was saying. Yes, obviously it's subjective, but beyond that, I felt that in this movie, Eponine was a lot more put-together than in most stage versions in which Eponine is covered in dirt.
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sabrelady
Broadway Legend
joined:5/16/03
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 02:56pm
SporkGodess, I suspect u r right re "Skyfall". I guess they just wanted to have *something* eligible for the actual musical creators since score is out. And as we know too well, Best Song is a woefully limited category.
Words that confuse censors:Fecund,penal,taint, titmouse, cockatoo,coccyx, ballcock, cockeye, prickly,kumquat, titter,cunning linguist, insertion, gobble, guzzle, swallow, manhole, rimshot,ramrod,come, fallacious, lugubrious,rectify,Uranus, angina, paradiddle,spotted dick,dictum, frock,cunctation, engorge,turgid,stiff, bush, uvula, crapulence, masticate, Dick Butkus, gherkin and of course the always bewildering lickety split. As you can see, context is every thing. Chuck Lorre Addendum: 555 382 5968 "Sexarama, Hexarama, Queeriosis, Feariosis!" Alec Baldwin "Happiness is up to you. You just have to understand what it is before you get it." -Elaine Stritch
Henoa
Swing
joined:1/3/13
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 05:51pm
I thought Russell was really good in the part his singing was fine, Hugh Jackman was fine, and Ann was great. Samantha was great . Samantha and Ann are both featured and both great. Ann will get an Oscar and Hugh will get a nomination.
Plexsis
Understudy
joined:9/29/04
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 06:34pm
AwesomeDanny:
I'm pretty sure the bare tree's Eponine references are related to the trees that "are full of starlight" mentioned earlier in the song. In reality, the trees lackk the starlight in her dreams.
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CHOOKA2
Understudy
joined:12/2/12
Question about
Posted: 1/3/13 at 06:55pm
Lullaby to pi has words-even though not english, so would consider that a song.You can do whatever you want to it-meditate,do yoga,have sex or just sway in the midnight breeze-up to you--me--I just drool to the sheer enchanting beauty of it--I'm out the door to buy the CD.
broadwayfever
Featured Actor
joined:6/15/08
Question about
Posted: 1/4/13 at 04:31am
Just saw the film and I loved it. From beginning to end it was it was amazing!

Hugh and Russell did much better than I expected...especially after hearing all the critics on this site. Everyone else was amazing as well.

I took my Mother and Aunt to see it, both have never seen the muscial or even heard the music, and they both enjoyed it immensely.

I can hardly wait to see it again.