Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Les Misérables


Finally, I got my chance to see the latest on screen version of Victor Hugo's masterpiece Les Misérables in cinema yesterday. It was late but it is certainly worthy!

I've neither read the book nor saw the stage play before. My only knowledge of Les Misérables is from 3 sources: A dance remix song of a cover version of the song "On My Own" from a German group called Harajuku, Susan Boyle's version of "I dream a dream" in the Britsh Got Talent, and the 1998 movie adaption of the same title which I loved very much!

That's why when I saw the 2012 version, I can't help to compare with the 1998 version. Certainly, the key difference is that, the 2012 version is full of songs with minimal dialog, while the 1998 version has no songs and only dialog. What I like the 1998 version is that, as I didn't know the background story at all back then, I was captured by the story itself. In addition, the characters were written really well, and the actors/actresses who played the parts were outstanding. I totally bought into the interpretation of Liam Neeson as Jean Viljean, Gregory Rush as Javert, Uma Thurman as Fantine, and Claire Danes as Cosette. All four leads are very good actors/actress that I really admired. I very sympathize Liam Neeson of trying so hard to become a good man, really pissed that Gregory Rush to chase him every turn. I also upset that Claire Dane would fell for the Marius and somehow put Liam Neeson in risky position of being caught. Though I've not seen the 1998 version all these years, I still can recall those footprints of the movie that left in my mind.

Now, here we go the 2012 version. First of all, I did read some reporting of this movie before hand. I can't help it for being a movie fan! What I read didn't affect how I ended up enjoying the movie. I knew that Hugh Jackman can sing. It is not a news to me. Certainly, learning that all actors/actresses did really sing during the filming really add to my admiration of the movie. Particularly, when I saw the heart-wrenching theme of Anne Hathaway singing "I dreamed a dream". That was really powerful. Surprisingly, most critics criticized Russell Crowe's singing, I didn't find him that bad. His singing was certainly bearable. Instead, I found his acting of Javert was actually not as good as Geogory Rush. Russell's acting in the movie is too stiff with a "wooden" face. Hugh Jackman is fine as Jean Valjean. However, I don't know why, even the length of the 2012 version is longer than the 1998 version. I somehow has a feeling that Jean Valjean in the 2012 version has a weaker part than the 1998 version. Particularly, the feeling of trying hard to be a good man in the new version is not as hard as the older version. Amanda Seyfried as the new Cosette is certainly hot, but her role is small and she didn't really act that much in the movie. Perhaps, she didn't try harder to be a scene stealer. Instead, Samantha Barks' role as Éponine who sang "On my own" really caught my eye. This role was a forgotten one to me in the 1998 version. Also, Helen Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen added a bit of comic to the sad premise of the story. That's a nice touch.

Another thing I really like the 2012 version is my exposure to other songs of the play, I made me gotta check out the soundtrack of the movie afterwards. I don't wanna go into the costume, art direction, CG, etc of the movie, cuz, I think they are fine enough to serve the sorry.

Overall, I like this movie and I'm glad that I finally saw it in cinema.

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