Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Les Miserables (2012)
*singing a parody of I Dreamed a Dream* I dreamed a dream when time gone by, I dreamed a film that would bring Les Mis' wonder. I dreamed that love would never die, I dreamed that Russell Crowe would be forgiving about my Gladiator review. But the tigers come at night, when the casting's about star power, as they tear your hopes apart, as they turn your dream to shred.
And still I dream Les Mis would be a film that I will love forever. But there are dreams that cannot be, and there are choices you can't help but wonder. I had a dream Les Mis would be so different from this hell I was living- so different now from what it seem, now life has killed the dream I dreamed.
Plot: The film starts 25 years after the events of the French Revolution where convict Jean Valjean is finally released by Inspector Javier. A bishop give him food and shelter despite who is is and even saves him when Valjean is caught stealing his silver. This eventually leads Valjean to change his life by ripping his parole ticket and convert to be Christian. Years later he's a mayor of a town while Javier is looking for him for breaking his parole. But while this is happening, one of his employees, Fantine, is fired for having an illegitimate daughter named Cosette. Fantine is forced to become a prostitute and cut her hair, but when she hits a customer, Javair arrests her only to be saved by Valjean. Before she dies, Valjean makes as promise to her to raise Cosette, so Valjean goes to do just that while Javair chases him after finding out he's the one he's looking for.
Okay first off, I want to point out that I'm a man who has grown up with the musical Les Mis; primarily the 10th anniversary. So I'll try to be unbiased when I review this movie. But I want to point out that even if I do, I have to play it rough because Les Miserables is not a musical one should take lightly at all. You have to - I repeat - HAVE TO give it your all and make the whole thing spectacular to give your audience what makes it one of the greatest musicals of all time. So with that said, in my point of view, that's exactly what you have to give when you're making an adaption of the musical by right if not by just pure. ultimate. logic. The result of this case...it's a fair share of hit and miss. The best part of the film bar none was Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Holy crap did she steal the show. Her performance in I Dreamed a Dream was powerful hand down to the point were I personally think she deserves an oscar nomination. I doubt she would win, but I would be happy if she did. Outside of Hathaway however, generally most of the performances were just between good and mediocre. One example would be Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thénardiers. On one hand, they were funny and energetic, but at the same time you feel like they're not really giving it their all. Especially with how they were being very quick with performing Master of the House, which is NOT okay because that's a great song that's full on energy and fun and while you get a couple of chuckles...you're just not quite complete with how they did it. Actually I think that's the real way to explain this film. Occasionally they give you some of the great moments of Les Mis that make you teary eyed, but everything else just doesn't completely give you the power that a film version of the musical needs. A lot of that shows with some of the choreography. They seem to focus more on using medium, normal or sometimes extreme close-ups on the characters then on anything else. While sometimes that really works with some of the big emotional parts, it also grounds us from seeing the all around world that the people live in and with what is happening during certain scenes. A big example is a moment when a rebel raises the flag and yet we see just the rebel and hardly the flag. The flag is a great big part of the story and they limit its appearance just to show the character. If you make a film of Les Mis you have to show both. While the characters are the soul of the experience, there is a whole world to show where they are and what their lives are like that strengthen their stories to the fullest. But I think the bigger problems are Hugh Jackman being Jean Valjean and Russel Crowe as Javair. When it comes to a character like Jean Valjean, like the musical itself you HAVE to be spectacular at performing this character in both acting and singing to truly give out what makes him a part that practically any male singer would want to perform as, it's that great and important of a role. When you're Jean Valjean, you either go big or go the frick away and stop wasting our time. Sadly despite doing some moments right, Jackman did not entirely go big. I mean acting wise he was great, but while his singing shows that he has experience in the singing world, he just shows that he's good but not entirely worthy of being Jean Valjean. Just that alone is where I would disagree with him being nominated for his performance if he does get nominated. But then we have Russell Crowe as Javert. I hate to say it, but the moment he started singing in the beginning of this film, that's when my brothers and I knew that it was going to go downhill with him. Because like Jackman, while he can sing, it's nothing that one would really find worthy of being Javert. But at least with Jackman he had some strong acting. Crowe...he was just giving the same face he gives us in films like Gladiator and Robin Hood. Ultimately, Jackman and Crowe's lack of worth of being these characters prove that when they made this film, they wanted to focus more on the drama and the star power and giving us just a good film out of it. There's no doubt that some of those ideas have some importance to the film, but the fact of the matter is, this musical has very high standards on how to be performed. I mean as a film, the standards are practically as high as would making Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. At the end of the day, I would agree that it's definitely a good film all around for sure. Because despite its flaws we still get this great musical turned into a film. I mean even with the issues, my mom for one wants to buy it when it comes out on Blue-Ray and DVD, and my grandfather finds it to be the greatest movie he's seen all year. But I think most people will be like me were...well...if I buy it on Blue-Ray, then I buy it on Blue-Ray. And if I don't...no loss. Because while I am glad that they made this film deep down, I'm not happy with it's big flaws and how they settled for good when they should've aimed for great.
And that's my review for Les Miserables. It has some disappointing moments and lacks most of the real spark that makes the musical one of the greatest known to man. But even then, they still gave us the musical as a film with some of the powerful, teary eyed moments and a great performance from Anne Hathaway that at the least makes it an enjoyable film that's worth seeing at least once if you like the musical like me.
here's the link for the video version of this review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9V1xqIcyDU