The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 158 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
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
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.
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.
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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- Feature commentary with director Tom Hooper
- (HD) Les Miserables a revolutionary approach (6 segments):
- The stars of Les Miserables – 11 minutes
- Exclusive The West End connection – 8 minutes
- Exclusive Les Miserables on location – 9 minutes
- Creating the perfect Paris – 4 minutes
- Exclusive Battle at the Barricade – 4 minutes
- Exclusive Les Miserables singing live – 23 minutes
- The stars of Les Miserables – 11 minutes
- (HD) The original masterwork: Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables – 11 minutes
- My scenes bookmark feature
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
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.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package