How could I, one who claims to love musical theater, have waited 5 weeks to see this movie?
Eh. Chalk it up to any number of excuses, the fact is I couldn't get to the theater to see this movie before now. And the fact that it was showing at our local little movie theater where ticket prices were only $5.50 a piece, plus a medium popcorn, large cherry coke, and peanut M&M's came to less than $20...yeah, I'm happy to say I was a cheap date tonight.
At any rate, five weeks after the movie opened, I was finally getting to see Les Miserables.
Mr. D. and I have seen it on stage...decades ago...way back when we were still young and stupid in love. I've read the novel...the ridiculously long novel. There was the screen version awhile back with Liam Neeson, and it was adequate enough, but let's face it...in my musical loving heart, that film was missing something. The music! I've always loved my soundtrack that I've owned (for decades), it was actually the first Broadway cast recording that I ever purchased. So when I first caught that this movie...this MUSICAL movie version was going to be released, I had hopes, but still remained cautious about getting too excited. What would they do to my beloved musical?
Thanks to my five week delay in getting to the theater, I was able to catch numerous reviews - both professional and from my friends. I had yet to hear a single negative comment about this movie. Major award nominations have been announced, and this movie was a favorite to win. Each passing week, my expectations were raised considerably.
I wasn't disappointed. Not much. Not really.
The movie soundtrack began, and I was instantly sucked in with the huge, full orchestra and familiar strains of music that I've known for so long.
WIthout further ado, here are my thoughts on the movie...both positive AND negative.
Remember how I said that I had yet to hear a single negative comment about this movie? I'm going to give you one now. I can't help it. I've thought twice about keeping my comments to myself, but in all honesty Russell Crowe was incredibly disappointing as a vocalist. I get the overall vibe they were trying to portray with him as Inspector Javert, and sure, he can carry a tune well enough, but his singing voice was not nearly strong enough in this roll. The passion, the emotion, the strength that the good inspector needs to carry himself with was missing. His one saving moment was the "confrontation" moment with Jean Valjean. It was during that song that I caught a minimal glimpse at what I would have liked to have heard from him throughout the entire movie....and all too quickly it was gone, and I could only wait for his exit scene later on in the film.
I was thrilled to see Colm Wilkinson make an appearance - downright giddy even! This genius who originated the role of Valjean, rightfully deserved a part in this movie, and he played his role beautifully!
Anne Hathaway (who will always be Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries) was magnificent in her roll as Fantine - again, I had my doubts if she could pull it off musically. I knew she could act the roll, but sing? As a prostitute with a shaved head who is dying? Yes she could...and she did!
A few odd ball thoughts - there were a lot of English accents going on (sweet little Gavroche, for example) considering that the story is set in France...Hugh Jackman had a "Charles Ingalls" look going on in one scene which Mr. D. was so quick to point out to me, and then I was completely distracted waiting for half-pint to walk through the door before I remembered that this was the French Revolution and not Little House On The Prairie. Also, wouldn't a wounded man who was dragged through the sewer have a high chance of dying from e-coli? Thankfully for our dear sweet Cosette, Marius survives being heave-ho'd through the underground of Paris.
The film locations and scenery were beautiful and striking, and the 19th century Paris streets were breath-takingly grim, lacking any color except for the blood red in the streets and the color on the waving French flags.
I can't wait until this movie makes it's way onto DVD, so I can have my own copy to put in anytime I get the urge to enjoy a good musical. Despite the "questionable" moments that Mr. D. and I may have had at certain points throughout, this was still a fantastic movie, and well worth the $20 for the night out.