So I finally saw the long-awaited Les Mis movie today. My mind was rolling over with thoughts throughout the whole movie (it’s a long movie, so there are a lot of thoughts), and I just have to share. This movie has been decades in the making, and many fans have been waiting for the musical to make it to the screen…as a fricking musical. Take out the music, and it’s just a depressing story about a dreary time in history and a guy who gets kicked around by fate. But we’ve finally gotten our musical, so now it’s time to do what we fans do best: Judge the hard work of the people who made it.
Yes, I’m one of the legions who have been waiting years and years for this, have seen the musical live multiple times, and have very specific ideas on How It Should Be Done…so I’m more than ready to arm-chair quarterback my way through the 2.5 hour spectacle and tell the film-makers exactly what I thought of their multi-year, multi-million dollar effort. You’re welcome, film-makers.
But first, I want to get one important thought out there:
Musicals are hot. And they make (most) women hot. Emoting in D major? Here’s my number. I don’t think I’m giving too much away by saying that surprising a woman with tickets to a GOOD musical is a pretty sure ride into Poontang Station. Most men I know like to make fun of musicals as silly and/or stupid. Well, I’ve got one word for you: Battleship. You have your pleasures in life, and I have mine. So before you go picking on mine, keep in mind that most of you are living in a glass house anyway. Plus, geeking out is hot too. I need make no apologies for my passions.
That being said, I could write pages and pages on my impressions of the movie. I’ve mainstreamed it down to 10 thoughts.
Ten Thoughts from a Fan
1) The realism of revolution-era France is spectacular! I know a lot of it was CGI, but the details are amazing…and make me deeply appreciative of modern social programs. I’ve never had to sell a molar to pay for medical procedures. Yet.
2) It looks a lot like whoever was working the camera accidentally hit the zoom button and then went to lunch. After more than two hours of gut-wrenching sobbing/singing at such close angles that I could count the pores on the actors’ faces, I needed a stiff drink.
3) Colm Wilkinson, the original Jean Valjean, pops up as the Bishop. Good move, film-makers, to throw in such a massive insider surprise for the die-hard fans. We appreciate it.
4) Having the actors sing in live time instead of to a pre-recorded soundtrack works out wonderfully. That way, you don’t get theaters full of people singing along to “Do You Hear the People Sing?” …I’m just kidding. We still do that. It just sounds ridiculous.
5) Hugh Jackman should be nominated for SOMETHING for this movie. There has to be some award for such a fantastic performance. He made Valjean waaaaaaaay hotter than the slender little hothead Marius. He moves through a pretty challenging vocal range with charisma, and goes from looking a bit like a strung out meth-head to an imposing hottie.
6) Russell Crowe is miscast as Javert. And Amanda Seyfried is miscast as Cosette. I get that one looks like a raging badass and the other a doe-eyed fairy-girl (I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to sort our who is who), but people cast in a musical should have a wider vocal range than a large mouth bass. By the time Cosette was done with her second song, I wanted to hit someone. Several someones. In the face. With a chair.
7) If you listen to the Les Mis finale, “Do You Hear the People Sing?,” and aren’t passionately moved, then you are a zombie. Might want to look to that.
8) I love the musical so much that for years I’ve overlooked how much of a downer the story is, but damn…it’s a good bit dark! Don’t get me wrong, the message that you can find redemption through faith is uplifting and all, but watching how hard life is for these characters makes me want to go watch something a bit lighter…like kittens playing together. Or ultimate fighting. You know, whichever.
9) Total anarchy and the breakdown of civilization looks pretty scary. I’m pretty sure I’d be one of the people who slunk away from the barricades at the first opportunity to save my own skin. Cowardly, but effective. And I do so like to be effective. Don’t judge me.
10) I’ll be singing the songs for weeks, wherever I go. And that’s cool. If you see me in the grocery store and I’m humming some Les Mis, feel free to join it. Maybe I can start a new flash mob trend, but with singing.
So all that’s been floating around my head. If you’re a fan, I’d enjoy hearing what you thought of the movie. Liked? Disliked? Thoughts?