Les Miserables (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 03-12-2013, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
92





Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 158 minutes
Genre: Musical

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathway, Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Music by: Claude-Michel Schonberg, Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Written by: William Nicholson, Alain Boubil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 22, 2013







"Fight. Dream. Hope. Love."


Film Synopsis:

Hugh Jackman, Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway star in this critically acclaimed adaptation of the epic musical phenomenon. Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the story of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean (Jackman), hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe), after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.

My Take:

Discover a nation in the year 1815 in the grip of revolution. After 19 years on the prison chain gang, for stealing food to feed his sister’s young child, Jean Valjean is being released but finds that the ticket-of-leave he must display condemns him to be an outcast. Deciding to forego a life of shame Valjean breaks his parole going on the run. Hunted relentlessly by policeman Javert he takes refuge in the home of the kind Bishop of Digne who teaches the embittered Valjean to start life anew.

Eight years later with a new name, a business and the title of mayor Valjean becomes entrusted with caring for the illegitimate young daughter of one of his factory workers, an act and responsibility that changes his life forever. Keeping his vow Jean Valjean raises the orphaned Cossette loving her as his own. But nine years later with revolution in the air and Javert closing in, he finds that running is no longer an option and he has no choice but to fight for his life and sacrifice everything to protect the people he loves.

I have seen Les Miserables performed off Broadway at West Point’s Eisenhower Hall and it is indeed an enthralling experience. It is an emotional, tragic and epic story of redemption, love, and sacrifice that is beautifully told through its music and stage production. Les Miserables is the longest running musical in the world and is beloved by its fans. When its big screen adaptation was announced I felt a bit of skepticism as to how well it would translate to cinema. It’s not a complicated story but its collated series of small moments make the narrative feel large.

The experience on the big screen captured the majesty and grandeur of the stage production as the essential spirit and emotion of the performances came forth thanks to an incredibly well chosen cast and the wise decision to have them sing/record live rather then recording the vocals in a studio and mixing/matching in post-production. Les Miserables is an emotionally draining and sweeping musical which can play long. That doesn’t change with the film adaptation. The performances by the cast are critical to deriving the most from Les Miserables and the choice to cast Hugh Jackman in the role of Jean Veljean is in my opinion why this adaptation is so good. He gives the performance of a lifetime. Had he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, no one would have disputed the selection.

Anne Hathaways’ riveting and stirring portrayal of Fantine is a testament to her talent and devotion to her craft. Russell Crowe’s singing voice leaves something to be desired but he rarely strays off key and gives a decent dramatic performance in the role of Javert. I liked the idea that Colm Wilkinson, who played Jean Veljean in the original stage production, was cast in the small but pivotal part of the Bishop. The remaining members of the cast, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Aaron Tveit (who just happens to be from my hometown), Sacha Baron Cohen, and Samantha Barks, to name a few, lend credible depth to the film through their respective performances.

Les Misérables dominated the 2013 awards season, garnering eight Academy Award nominations (taking home three), including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, and sweeping the Golden Globes with awards for Jackman, and Hathaway, as well as the prize for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed Les Miserables and in addition to the cast commend director Tom Hooper and his team on a spectacular collaborative effort that presents fans with a new way to experience Victor Hugo’s epic piece.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for suggestive and sexual material, violence and thematic elements.



AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Les Miserables comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.4 Mbps.

Having not seen this film theatrically I had high hopes for this video presentation and wasn’t disappointed. Images have an enriching quality with punchy contrast and high level detail. It’s obvious that Director Tom Hooper and cinematographer Danny Cohen utilize varying visual characterizes to capture the sometimes scene specific aesthetic based upon the thematic look they strove for. The period clothing leans more toward beige, gray and sepia tones that made many scenes appear to be less colorful. The film opens with a limited chromatic scheme that boasts shades of gray, blue, sepia, white and black. As the story progresses colors become more pronounced and warm golden accents are used to enliven them.

Flesh tones have excellent tonal delineation, with the fairer complexions appearing just shy of ashen while remaining lifelike. Resolution is excellent as images have a visually satisfying and crisp dimensional quality that enhances perception in both close ups and wide angle camera pans. Sharpness is rarely called into question and any subtle variations appear innate to the photography. I found this to be a filmic presentation that yielded excellent picture quality with no signs of video related anomalies or artifacts.

The DTS-HD Master Audio multi-channel surround mix is equally impressive and runs the gamut between subtle passages of spoken dialogue/singing and soft music to dynamically charged sequences that deliver rewarding surround sound. Detail is first rate which brings out the finely articulated nuance of background elements within the mix. The lavish music score is carefully integrated into the sound design and sounds wonderfully detailed, acoustically transparent and three dimensional. Surround use is prevalent and achieves a high level of ambient envelopment that is appreciably involving. Later in the film the exchanges in the battle at the barricade have plenty of low level punch, extended dynamic range and seamlessly blended effects that create a detail rich sound field. This is an impressive high definition audio/video experience that compliments the source material.


Bonus Features:

  • Feature commentary with director Tom Hooper

  • (HD) Les Miserables a revolutionary approach (6 segments):
    1. The stars of Les Miserables – 11 minutes
    2. Exclusive The West End connection – 8 minutes
    3. Exclusive Les Miserables on location – 9 minutes
    4. Creating the perfect Paris – 4 minutes
    5. Exclusive Battle at the Barricade – 4 minutes
    6. Exclusive Les Miserables singing live – 23 minutes
  • (HD) The original masterwork: Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables – 11 minutes

  • My scenes bookmark feature

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Les Miserables celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010 and is the worlds longest running musical having been seen by more than 60 million people in 42 countries around the globe. Victor Hugo’s sweeping and extravagant spectacle has been adapted to the big screen and captures the majesty and grandeur of the stage production through thoughtful direction and sterling performances by a marvelous ensemble cast. Les Miserable dominated the 2013 awards season, garnering eight Academy Award nominations (taking home three), including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, and sweeping the Golden Globes with awards for Jackman, and Hathaway, as well as the prize for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring resplendent high definition audio/video and an above average supplemental package that includes Blu-ray exclusive content that looks behind the scenes at the production while offering insights from the cast/crew. If you’re a fan this Blu-ray release comes highly recommended. For those that aren’t familiar with Les Miserables I would recommend a rental prior to purchase.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 27 Old 03-12-2013, 10:10 AM
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My wife has her degree costume designer and so when this came out we had to see it on the opening weekend.

I thought the movie was really good, however, I think the theater we saw it in was set up very poorly as the audio was quite terrible. I could hardly hear any music throughout the movie and the vocals were muffled. So you had to REALLY pay attention to know what was going on.

I look forward to watching it at home with the volume cranked up.

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post #3 of 27 Old 03-12-2013, 05:13 PM
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My teenage daughter is so excited by this movie she can hardly stand it - and I am thrilled as it has a very positive theme. Obviously we will be buying her the blu ray the day it comes out and hopefully it will be good to break in a new plasma.

I am surprised reading the body of the review that the picture quality didn't get 5 stars.
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post #4 of 27 Old 03-12-2013, 09:52 PM
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wait you gave the Osama movie a 100 but Les Miserables a 92???? yeah I think the two scores between those movies need to be flip-flopped but hey thats just my opinion ^_^

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post #5 of 27 Old 03-13-2013, 02:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Chaves View Post

wait you gave the Osama movie a 100 but Les Miserables a 92???? yeah I think the two scores between those movies need to be flip-flopped but hey thats just my opinion ^_^

Greetings,

You are aware that the numeric rating is only for the audio/video right? So technically I gave this an 80 (Four out of Five) for the film rating. Either way is still indicative of a quality film rating but if you would have reversed them that is of course your preogative.


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post #6 of 27 Old 03-13-2013, 06:58 AM
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"Russell Crowe’s singing voice leaves something to be desired"

So many reviews have said the same thing. I just don't get it. I thought his singing was the best of all the men in the film. Jackman or Redmayne's style is just too broadway sounding for my liking (yes, i know this is a movie based on a broadway show....). Russell's vocals were powerful and exactly what his character needed to sound like. Again, maybe that's because I prefer Rock to Broadway....regardless, I thought he was good.
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post #7 of 27 Old 03-13-2013, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

"Russell Crowe’s singing voice leaves something to be desired"

So many reviews have said the same thing. I just don't get it. I thought his singing was the best of all the men in the film. Jackman or Redmayne's style is just too broadway sounding for my liking (yes, i know this is a movie based on a broadway show....). Russell's vocals were powerful and exactly what his character needed to sound like. Again, maybe that's because I prefer Rock to Broadway....regardless, I thought he was good.

Greetings,

I didn't find his singing to be bad as he was almost always on key. What I found lacking was his limited range which required his vocal numbers to remain in nearly the same octave. I didn't feel that his singing in any way detracted from the film.

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post #8 of 27 Old 03-13-2013, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

You are aware that the numeric rating is only for the audio/video right? So technically I gave this an 80 (Four out of Five) for the film rating. Either way is still indicative of a quality film rating but if you would have reversed them that is of course your preogative.


Regards,

But the funny thing is I didn't read you say anything at all bad about the video quality - so why not 5 stars on that item?
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post #9 of 27 Old 03-13-2013, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey_C View Post

But the funny thing is I didn't read you say anything at all bad about the video quality - so why not 5 stars on that item?

I believe he said sharpness was rarely an issue. 92 is still pretty damn good but the video wasn't perfect I believe due to the sharpness thing Ralph was saying. I'll let him elaborate on that.


I must say in theaters I felt this film was a lack luster 7.1 mix

No subwoofer I've heard has been able to produce the bass I've experienced in the Corps!

Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #10 of 27 Old 03-13-2013, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey_C View Post

But the funny thing is I didn't read you say anything at all bad about the video quality - so why not 5 stars on that item?

Greetings,

Per my rating system this presentation is reference quality but falls into the low reference scale. Meaning that while it is reference quality it doesn't quite achieve the levels of the best the format has to offer.


As I stated in my review it looks great. I see no need to expound upon it further than that.

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post #11 of 27 Old 03-18-2013, 08:58 AM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph - I loved the movie and will definitely be picking up the blu-ray. I wasn't impressed with Russell Crowe's singing performance, either, but on the whole, liked the movie a great deal.
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post #12 of 27 Old 03-19-2013, 01:44 PM
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Yeah, will get this if not for the wife and teenage daughter alone! Glad to hear you liked it Ralph! Thx! wink.gif
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Yeah, will get this if not for the wife and teenage daughter alone! Glad to hear you liked it Ralph! Thx! wink.gif

Greetings,

cool.gif


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post #14 of 27 Old 03-20-2013, 02:08 PM
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Thanks for the review, Ralph!

I'm usually not a big fan of musicals but every now and then one comes along that surprises me, and this one looks like it might be one of those. I do like the story and the casting so we'll see how it goes. cool.gif

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post #15 of 27 Old 03-27-2013, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for the review! I enjoyed the film at a movie theatre and look forward to receiving my Blu-Ray. I saw the original Les Misérables staging in a Paris indoor sports arena many years ago and bought the concept LP set not too long after. The West End / Broadway version followed a few years later. Although the stage direction was more polished, I missed the sheer energy and drama of the original when I re-visited the show in New York. I think the movie re-captures some of this. Nevertheless, I've always wished for a stronger English libretto, as some numbers were cut and others reworked to make the show easier to follow for non-French audiences. Gavroche's delightful "Put the blame on Voltaire" and Éponine's sensitive "Each Other" were sadly lost, to be replaced by the -in my opinion- embarrassingly sugary "Bring Him Home".

I must take sides with those who object to Russell Crowe's performance. The man just can't sing the part of Javert! I guess box office pull was the mission here, but this was hardly needed for the movie version of such a popular musical (not the longest-running one on Broadway though, Phantom still holds the record). I suppose it would take more thinking outside the box than Hollywood can handle, but barytones Thomas Hampson or more so, Bryn Terfel could have sung -and looked- -and acted- the bejesus out of that role!

Still, an enjoyable film to watch more than once.
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post #16 of 27 Old 03-28-2013, 08:30 PM
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Let me preface my remarks by confessing that I have loved musical theater since I was a kid. In the '80s my work frequently took me to New York. I always took my wife and we saw several shows on each trip. We also saw national touring company productions of a bunch of other Broadway musicals here in OKC. I also love Les Miserables and have the 10th Anniversary DVD and 25th Anniversary BD concert recordings of both performances in my library.

Now for my take on the film. I saw it twice in the theater and tonight watched my BD, which came yesterday. Tom Hooper sold the store to make the most of the show's considerable emotional impact. Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine of the heartbreaking, I Had a Dream makes me cry every time and tonight was no exception. She was uniformly wonderful throughout, both dramatically and musically.

I am a bit more ambivalent about Hugh Jackman's performance as Jean Valjean. Although Jackman is a musical theater guy, he played Curly in a critically acclaimed West End revival of Oklahoma and starred in a DVD, now on BD too, of the production. In Les Mis though he was rough musically with the exception of his lovely performances of One Day More and Bring Him Home. I suspect that the reason for the roughness was Hooper's insistence on the power of the drama being paramount. I understood but still missed the transcendent beauty of the performances of Colm Wilkinson as Valjean in the 10th Anniversary concert performance and Alfie Boe, a classically trained tenor, in the same role in the 25th Anniversary performance. No matter, Jackman was wonderful and my disappointment with the lack of bel canto in his performance is little more than a quibble.

Russell Crowe was, as would be expected,wonderful dramatically and just fine musically too. He was burdened with a role, which to show at its best requires a really big voice, which Crowe lacks. Despite the limitations of his less than powerful voice, though, I thought Crowe did a fine job musically.

I was impressed with the young and beautiful Samantha Barks as Eponine. She has performed the Eponine role on stage, including the 25th Anniversary concert performance. Her performance of On My Own was heartbreaking and, like everybody else in the film, was terrific dramatically as well. The real surprise of the film to me was Eddie Redmayne. I knew he could act, he won a Tony in 2010, but had no idea he can sing. Brother can he sing! He has a high, clear tenor voice and is totally secure musically. He was great in both Red and Black and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. I would love to see him in the lead in a Broadway musical.

My assessment of Les Miserables is 9 Stars out of 10, 10 out of 10 for dramatic impact, and 8 out of 10 for the musical performances. Anyway, highly recommended, in fact for musical theater fans it is not to be missed.
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post #17 of 27 Old 03-29-2013, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Great post gwsat. Thanks much for sharing your impressions, experiences and insights. smile.gif


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post #18 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 09:42 AM
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I am a big musical fan as well and looked forward to this being made.  I have some grave reservations (not having seen it yet) after reading some stories on how it was made and why things/actors were picked.  I've always been a believer in casting a role based on the role and not the actor (Crowe stands out in this regard).  So many musicals fail as movies because the producers insist on "a name" instead of a singer/actor.  Style is another concern.  I've read that much of this film is done in extreme closeup that can be jolting.  Like the horror of shaky-cam, I don't like looking up an actor's nose or at every hair and mole on their face unnecessarily.  Lastly, the live recording of the singing is a concern.  Of course, being a big fan of the show, I will get this anyway.  Hopefully, my concerns will be subjugated by the overall experience.


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post #19 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flint350 View Post

I am a big musical fan as well and looked forward to this being made.  I have some grave reservations (not having seen it yet) after reading some stories on how it was made and why things/actors were picked.  I've always been a believer in casting a role based on the role and not the actor (Crowe stands out in this regard).  So many musicals fail as movies because the producers insist on "a name" instead of a singer/actor.  Style is another concern.  I've read that much of this film is done in extreme closeup that can be jolting.  Like the horror of shaky-cam, I don't like looking up an actor's nose or at every hair and mole on their face unnecessarily.  Lastly, the live recording of the singing is a concern.  Of course, being a big fan of the show, I will get this anyway.  Hopefully, my concerns will be subjugated by the overall experience.

Since writing my review of Les Miserables, I have rewatched both my BD of the 25th Anniversary Concert performance and DVD of the 10th Anniversary Concert performance. As incredibly beautiful as the singing was in both concerts, the emotion packed into Hooper's film was visceral. He used top of the line production values and wonderful dramatic actors to make what to me is a great dramatic film. Also, Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine is in a class by itself. Although she lacks the huge voice possessed by all the stage actresses who have played Fantine, Hathaway's beauty, dramatic ability, and good taste make her the Fantine for the ages to my way of thinking.

Eddie Redmayne's performance as Marius was the best I have seen anywhere. He is a wonderful dramatic actor but also possesses a big league musical theater voice. In his commentary, Hooper said Redmayne talked him into making a large number of takes of the Empty Chairs at Empty Tables scene. Hooper used take 21 of 21. He said that the emotional impact of the song affected Redmayne more on every take so that by the last one his face was puffy from crying. Powerful stuff!

Samantha Barks was as good or better as Eponine than any stage actress I have seen play the role. No surprise there, of course, because in addition to being young and beautiful, Barks is a seasoned musical theater performer and was given the role of Eponine in the 25th Anniversary Concert performance. Aron Tviet,, as Enjolras, and young Daniel Huttlestone, as Gavroche, gave performances that were wonderful dramatically but also as good musically as I have seen anywhere.

Its true that serious musical compromises were made by casting Russell Crowe as Javert, Sasha Baron Coen as Thenardier and Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier, but all were outstanding dramatically, especially Crowe. My real regret was that Alun Armstrong, who played Thenardier in the original production was far too old to play the role in the film. Armstrong won an Olivier award in the '90s for his performance of the title role in a West End revival of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. You can't have anything, alas.

The bottom line for me is that Les Miserables has such emotional impact, requires so many performers, and is so difficult musically, it's impossible to fully serve both its dramatic and musical requirements. Given the constraints with which Hooper was faced, I don't see how he could have done better. In many ways, his film is the definitive Les Miserables.
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post #20 of 27 Old 03-30-2013, 06:01 PM
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Okay, finally got around to seeing Les Miserables.

I'm not a big fan of musicals (as noted earlier in this thread) but one comes along every now and then that I do like, so I wasn't really sure what to expect from this one. The story itself was extremely good and the actors did a great job in their respective roles. The video and audio were very nice, and the singing was very good for the most part, but I don't think any of them good enough that they should give up their acting careers to launch singing careers. Of course, they all did far better than I could ever have done trying to bellow out those tunes.

The ending was the best part of the film, not only because I was ready for it to be over, but because I genuinely liked the way the story ended. This was a one-time watch for me as 2 hours of 30 minutes for almost non-stop singing is more than I can handle. My wife liked the film quite a bit, but she said that it was a bit too much for her, as well, although she does plan to watch it again in the future..

I can certainly see how big fans of musicals would like this movie very much, and do think it probably deserves all the awards that it won. Should I ever become a fan of musical films, this one will probably be high on my list to watch again.

Thanks again for the fine review, Ralph! cool.gif

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post #21 of 27 Old 04-01-2013, 09:21 AM
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Okay, finally got around to seeing Les Miserables.



The ending was the best part of the film, not only because I was ready for it to be over, but because I genuinely liked the way the story ended. This was a one-time watch for me as 2 hours of 30 minutes for almost non-stop singing is more than I can handle. My wife liked the film quite a bit, but she said that it was a bit too much for her, as well, although she does plan to watch it again in the future..
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Summed up our household's experience as well.

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post #22 of 27 Old 04-01-2013, 10:34 AM
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Having watched both the film both at the theatre and on blu-ray, I have to admit it had more of a visceral impact at the theatre (perhaps because I only have a 55" LCD and not a dedicated HT setup). From the standpoint of the singing exclusively, the 25th anniversary is better, but as a story, the film version is definitely superior. One thing I do wish the blu-ray had was a sing-along mode, like the Sound of Music did. Although much of the content may not quite be bright and happy, a lot of the songs in Les Mis are now quite iconic. I also liked a lot of the close-up shots used; I feel this makes the best use of film as a medium, as does the use of the 16:9 aspect ratio. You can't get that same experience in a live stage setting, even if you were on the front row.

The movie has increased my anticipation for the new stage production opening in Toronto later this year smile.gif
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post #23 of 27 Old 04-20-2013, 08:09 AM
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I’m about to get run out of this café I’m in right now and haven’t read through these posts yet, but I’m in disbelief that this was shot on 35mm – I didn’t notice any film grain at all; I’m wondering if I’ll find any mention of it in any of these posts…. Wow!
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post #24 of 27 Old 04-23-2013, 08:40 AM
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I’m about to get run out of this café I’m in right now and haven’t read through these posts yet, but I’m in disbelief that this was shot on 35mm – I didn’t notice any film grain at all; I’m wondering if I’ll find any mention of it in any of these posts…. Wow!

I tried and generally failed to find anything on the net to back up my thoughts on the absence of film grain – which is saying a lot; you can almost always find somebody who agrees with you on almost anything. I did see several reputable sites make mention of the heavy hand of colorists at work if I recall – which might lend to my impression of this not being shot on film (diminished the ‘richness’ I associate with film?). I also see a lot of comments on the close ups with extreme clarity and detail which may have additionally lent to the impression of digital – with my impression of digital having a unique quality of clarity over film in absence of film grain, etc.

Anyway, my amateur observation on the film vs. digital qualities aside, I can’t believe they sang the whole movie – wow! LOL After the first 5 minutes I was hoping they weren’t going to, but they damn sure did and it was pretty long at that. I acclimated to it though actually and it wasn’t as intolerable as I initially believed it might be. My home theater doesn’t suck too bad – so, it was sort of a unique experience.

I enjoyed it overall. Definitely worth the rent in the least. I don’t believe that Amanda Seyfried and I are going to work out as a couple – so, probably not going to be a purchase for me.
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post #25 of 27 Old 04-23-2013, 10:00 AM
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Anyway, my amateur observation on the film vs. digital qualities aside, I can’t believe they sang the whole movie – wow! LOL After the first 5 minutes I was hoping they weren’t going to, but they damn sure did and it was pretty long at that. I acclimated to it though actually and it wasn’t as intolerable as I initially believed it might be. My home theater doesn’t suck too bad – so, it was sort of a unique experience.

I agree that Hooper's insistence that his performers sing the film "live" rather than rerecording their voices in post production worked better some places than others. Obviously, Hathaway's performance of I Dreamed a Dream was heartbreaking and perhaps the high point of the film. To me, though, an equally moving sequence was Marius and Cosette's A Heart Full of Love, with Eponine. a little distance away, sadly singing, too, knowing that she will never have Marius. Then the film segues into a shot of the heartbroken Eponine standing in a street in the rain where she sings the quintessentially sad On My Own. Eponine, in a wonderful performance by the young and talented Samantha Banks broke my heart in the end when she sings to Marius as she is dying, A Little Drop of Rain. That was powerful stuff!
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post #26 of 27 Old 04-23-2013, 10:05 AM
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I finally got around to renting this and watching it despite my earlier apprehensions.  I should have listened to my apprehensions and most surely will not buy it to add to my versions of the 25th anniv., etc.  For me, the film had more negatives than positives and many of them are glaring.  It's bloated, badly sung in many parts and the swooping, circling closeups were far too many.  The dramatic presentation was very good, on the other hand.  Jackman basically carried the film, though I thought his singing voice was thin and reedy sounding, almost nasally.  I've heard him sing before and thought he would be better.  Redmayne and Barks were outstanding in their parts, but not enough given the depth and length of the story and many other characters.  Some were horribly miscast, such as Crowe, Bonham Carter and Cohen.  For all its visual splendor, it just went lacking in the singing - and it is a musical at its core so that should not be overlooked just to get good actors.  There is no way on earth I could call this the definitive version of Les Mis or even one of the better ones.  But that's just me and my opinion.  When I heard the original planning, scope and budget for this, I was hopeful.  Opportunity missed, IMO. 


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post #27 of 27 Old 04-23-2013, 11:17 AM
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I finally got around to renting this and watching it despite my earlier apprehensions.  I should have listened to my apprehensions and most surely will not buy it to add to my versions of the 25th anniv., etc.  For me, the film had more negatives than positives and many of them are glaring.  It's bloated, badly sung in many parts and the swooping, circling closeups were far too many.  The dramatic presentation was very good, on the other hand.  Jackman basically carried the film, though I thought his singing voice was thin and reedy sounding, almost nasally.  I've heard him sing before and thought he would be better.  Redmayne and Barks were outstanding in their parts, but not enough given the depth and length of the story and many other characters.  Some were horribly miscast, such as Crowe, Bonham Carter and Cohen.  For all its visual splendor, it just went lacking in the singing - and it is a musical at its core so that should not be overlooked just to get good actors.  There is no way on earth I could call this the definitive version of Les Mis or even one of the better ones.  But that's just me and my opinion.  When I heard the original planning, scope and budget for this, I was hopeful.  Opportunity missed, IMO. 

As noted in earlier posts, I mostly disagree with your assessment of Les Mis. I can't disagree with you, though, about what horrible miscasting was giving Helena Bonham Carter the role of Madame Madame Thenardier. The character is half monster, half clown and calls out for a big woman with a bigger voice. Jenny Galloway played the role in both the 10th and 25th Anniversary concert productions and was wonderful. I am a little more sanguine about Sasha Baron Cohen's performance as Thenardier. He can sing some and his comic bits were good I thought. Rather than being bad, I thought Jackman's performance was merely uneven. I agree that Look Down was harsh and unappealing and Who am I was, while not awful, a little disappointing. Despite her rather small voice, Anne Hathaway's performance as Fantine has become the standard beside which I judge all other Fantines. Her performance of I Dreamed a Dream was as lyrically beautiful and overwhelmingly sad as anything I have ever seen on the screen.

Despite the foregoing, I still understand where you are coming from. I too usually give great weight to the need for bel canto performances of music drama. Still, it is as much drama as music. The iconic Maria Callas didn't have a particularly beautiful voice by operatic standards but her looks and dramatic talent were so perfect, so what if she didn't sing as beautifully as Joan Sutherland? Anyway, I thought Tom Hooper did a great job with what to me is the most emotionally wrenching musical there is.
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