After debating back and forth whether or not I wanted to brave the hectic crowds at the movie theater on Xmas Day yesterday, I decided late last night to bundle up and head out to see Les Misérables at the ArcLight Theater in Hollywood. Now, as I’ve mentioned a few times before, I am not a fan at all of Les Miz — the book, the music, the songs, the musical — but, based on what I had seen of this new theatrical production, I was intrigued to see this movie and see if I could become a fan. On the plus side, I can honestly say that this new film version of Les Miz is the best production of the story that I’ve ever seen. Still, it wasn’t really enough to turn me into a Les Miz fan. That being said, I did enjoy myself and generally found myself entertained.
The two biggest weaknesses of this new incarnation of Les Misérables, for me, was Russell Crowe’s “singing” and the very long runtime length. Crowe’s casting is squarely the fault of producers. The runtime couldn’t be avoided. I thought all of the principle actors did a great job with their roles. I was really impressed with Anne Hathaway’s performance and Hugh Jackman, I mean, he is the star. Russell Crowe, IMHO, was very badly cast as Javier. He looked the part, I guess, but in the whole of the world they couldn’t find an actor who could not only look the part but sing the part as well? I literally cringed every single time Crowe opened his mouth to sing. It’s really bad. The film runs really long … like, really long. This wouldn’t be a problem if the excitement level was maintained thru out but once the revolution starts in the second half, the story drags on and on and on. The “hit” songs are sung mostly in the first half so there isn’t even music to keep the excitement level high as the film ends. The film is gorgeous to look at tho. The direction and production are stunning. I was very impressed with all of the live singing (the vocals were recorded as they actors acted out their scenes, not in a recording studio). I can see why Les Miz fans are loving this film but, again, I can also understand the complaints of others. Of the many reviews I’ve read from publications and individuals, people either LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie or they hate hate hate it. I’m somewhere in between. The things I don’t like are mainly not the fault of producers. I’m not a fan of the source material so, it’s a hard sell for me. But I was impressed overall and, as I said, it’s the best production of Les Miz I’ve ever seen. If you are a fan of the book/musical/music, then I think you might really enjoy this film. If you’re not a musical person, then I’d suggest skipping Les Miz.
Not much to share on the personal front. The past few days have been extremely difficult and painful for me. It’s been a bit of a relief to zone out and preoccupy my mind with other things but the in between moments where I’m left to dwell … none of it has been very fun. I’m looking forward to the day when I can fell “normal” again but I cannot see that day just yet. Blah.0