We went to see Les Mis last week and the two of us have been singing the music like crazy ever since…seriously, Jeremy has been playing the songs on our piano and the amazing music is just in our heads! We had an awesome date night going to see the movie, and of course Jeremy being the music nerd that he is was a little worried because he is super picky. I guess I could write a review, but it would basically be summed up with the word AWESOME. Jeremy took a little more time to write a well thought out review of the movie, and here it is!
Well, first let me preface my review with the fact that I do have my bachelor’s degree in Music and I have seen the broadway show of Les Mis twice, live. With that said I do think the movie was still good. Some parts were obviously better than others. I will say I was scepticle because I was sorely disappointed with Phantom of the Opera (the movie). Having seen that show also twice in NYC the movie was terrible in my opinion. However, I think Les Mis was drastically better than Phantom.
1 – First, the cinematography was “interesting.” There were times where it was epically awesome and other times where I felt like they used a super wide-angle lens and got super-duper (yes, that’s a technical term, LOL) close on the subject’s face.
2 – The Chorus. since the broadway show is limited by the size of the stage in regards to the size of the chorus, there were times where the chorus was HUGE in the movie and the impact was amazing. Also, the Finale was PERFECT! It may be the best finale ever written in Broadway’s history, and the film captured this climactic music wonderfully!
3 – The emotion. As many of you already know, the singing was recorded live while they were acting. It was not pre-recorded and voiced over. While this did create some “pitch” issues, for the first time in a movie I think the emotion in the voice matched the emotion on the face. GLEE would be a great example of how obvious the voice over is…love that show, but you can easily tell it was recorded in a studio and doesn’t “match” the acting.
4 – Most of the singers. I liked Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman). His acting and singing were great. I think Marius and Eponine were also great singers and actors. I was surprised to hear Anne Hathoway sing so well. For all my vocal pedagogy friends, I think her vibrato was a little wobbly and pushed at times, but still pretty great…especially her emotion…EPIC!
1 – Russell Crowe. Honestly, he ruined the movie for me. He clearly was chosen for the movie because he’s a great actor, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find out he has never sung before in his life. Especially since I am a baritone, I am partial to the role of Javert, and he did such an dis-service. Enough said.
2 – Bring Him Home. This song is at a PINNACLE moment of the live show and to my recollection, it was sung at a different time in the movie which did not have the same impact. First time I saw Les Mis live, the audience clapped for about 7 minutes straight. NO JOKE. The timing is so emotional and I feel it lacked in the movie.
3 – Live Recording. While the live recoding of the voices did allow the emotion to match perfectly, almost every song had several notes that were out of tune…I just think they could have had a few more takes to ensure the notes weren’t flat.
Overall – I would give Les Mis (Broadway) a 10/10…such an epic show. And I would give the movie a 9/10. Still great, but you really can’t compare to live. Everything is better live.
Let us know what you thought of the movie!!!