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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim View Post
    I agree with whomever said that a musical should be cast as that - not necessarily for big names. Even if Colm is too old to play Jean Valjean now, there are a couple of younger Valjeans (John Owen Jones or Alfie Boe) whose voices are amazing. And they should have cast a Broadway star as Javert.
    Funny, I was just discussing this with somebody today. There are so many movies that could be improved by casting the most talented person for a role, rather than the most famous person. That seems to be the exception these days instead of the rule.


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  2. #62
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    To me, Les Mis is more of an opera than a musical. It just didn't do anything for me.



  3. #63
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    I saw it Xmas day and overall really enjoyed it. I thought it was well done for a movie version, all considered. It's a bit long. Wear comfy sweats and don't drink too much soda. And you won't be listening to Russell Crowe's rendition of Javert's songs on your iPod...

    My teenagers (3 of them) all enjoyed it a great deal, wept throughout, and came away very inspired. If nothing else, I felt it was a good value for $10/head and there are so many powerful themes in this story to discuss with them afterward.


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  4. #64
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    I thought it was near-uniformly awful.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim View Post
    I agree with whomever said that a musical should be cast as that - not necessarily for big names. Even if Colm is too old to play Jean Valjean now, there are a couple of younger Valjeans (John Owen Jones or Alfie Boe) whose voices are amazing. And they should have cast a Broadway star as Javert.
    Having heard Alfie Boe sing a very emotional version of "Bring Him Home" live a few weeks ago, I have to agree. The movie version didn't do anything for me, while Alfie brought tears. I too would have liked to have seen a vocally stronger Javert.

    Then again I'm a musician, so musical quality is more important to me over other cinematic qualities.



  6. #66
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    Big huge giant fan here.

    Most of the leads can't really sing. Russell Crowe is AWFUL. Just awful. Sorry. He is. Acting and singing. He's so darn flat and emotionless. And he just can't sing the part. He's really awful, sorry. No two ways around it. And it ruined the movie for me.

    Hugh Jackman's voice is better but still not great. His acting is fine but let's face it-- Valjean is a very difficult part and he didn't sing it well enough for my tastes.

    Amanda Seyfried was awful. Can't hit the notes. Totally outclassed in every way. Just not good enough to sing the part.

    I didn't care for SBC and HBC, too much humor and not enough blackness. I think the humor fell flat. I thought their part was going to be a whole lot better than it was.

    Samantha Barks was terrific, no surprise. Great pipes on her.

    I will say I was very pleasantly surprised by Anne Hathaway. She doesn't quite have the vocal chops but she's close and her acting was more than enough to make up for it. I will accept her version as an acceptable artistic interpretation of the part if not the best sung. They had her gasping/crying at parts, I suspect because those were notes she couldn't quite handle-- but the crying/gasping worked. Overall it worked. And the part she did hit, she really hit. So, not my favorite Fantine but I think it did really work. The acting was terrific!

    Eddie Redmayne was also very good and surprised me. Good voice. Good acting. He made me like Marius and I never much cared for the character.

    Everyone who's NOT famous had lovely voices. Gavroche and young Cosette were both very good. Pretty sets. Almost all the songs were abridged. If you know nothing about the book, have never heard the musical-- you might like this. If you've ever seen a GOOD cast, you're likely to be disappointed. And I don't think really much of ANYONE'S parts are going to be downloaded to ipods. Aside from SB this is not particularly spectacular rendition of the music. Some is good (AH and ER) but most is not all that great. Sadly.
    Last edited by vxf111; Dec. 29, 2012 at 12:00 AM.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  7. #67
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    Saw it and have to agree with most. The singing for the most part was dreadful and a real disappointment. Russell Crowe was just awful, and not just his singing but his acting sucked too in my opinion. Just so wooden. Anne Hathaway's acting was great, singing was so-so, didn't care for all the crying used to cover up the lack of vocal ability in a lot of these songs. Hugh Jackman was great as far as acting but the singing was pretty disappointing.

    I cannot believe that with the incredible cinematography that could have made this just an epic masterpiece that the producer's first and foremost priority when casting this wasn't to cast SINGERS first and actors second. For crying out loud, when the ENTIRE movie is sung you would think they would make sure the actors COULD actually sing before casting them?! Did someone audition Russell Crowe and think, "wow, he's just awesome for this part", seriously?!!

    As someone who just saw Colm Wilkinson a couple of weeks ago in concert (2nd row seats, wow it was SO awesome!), I can't believe that they had that sort of vocal talent AND acting ability in their hands and didn't use it. With CGI these days they could have used him as the young Valjean. And in person he was much thinner and younger looking than what he portrayed in the movie. With his hair colored for the younger years he could have done Valjean and been totally credible. Having seen him in the Phantom in the 80s as well, he can definitely act, not just sing. Unfortunately never saw him onstage as Valjean but most people seem to hold him up as being the best there was. By the way he did sing Bring Him Home at the concert and it sounded absolutely perfect, took your breath away.

    I was so looking forward to the movie and came away pretty bummed. Did a double feature with my son that day as a treat, saw the Hobbit too and wasn't that much more impressed by that unfortunately. $58 I wish I had back LOL.



  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by HJStyleReport View Post
    I just bought the soundtrack but there's no "A Little Fall of Rain". Is that scene not in the movie? We are going to see it this weekend.
    It's in there. Abridged, but it's in there.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  9. #69
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    This discussion of casting famous people rather than talented singers is reminding me of the tv show Smash, which I just caught up on not long ago.

    The plotline of the fictional show concerns putting on a Broadway musical, and when they hire a famous movie star for the lead, and THEN hear her voice, the producer/director/writers have an emergency meeting where they all look at each other in alarm and say, "They told me she could sing!!!"



  10. #70
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    For those who have seen it on Broadway, did you happen to see it when John Owen Jones played Jean Valjean?


    Starts at .44:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YrH-94ef4NY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt7zISpJwao



  11. #71
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    Saw it yesterday afternoon and have to agree with most - not up to par. Bummer because I'd really been looking forward to it. But that's what you get when you hear the soundtrack a million times with trained singers and then watch actors try to sing. Oh well.



  12. #72
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    I just learned of the "Valjean Quartet" that performed "Bring Him Home" at the 25th anniversary special. I almost cried, it was so beautiful! And Colm Wilkinson ... he could still get it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-0MS72uHSQ



  13. #73
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    Ok, as I said, I had no previous exposure to the play, book or movie. I liked the movie a lot. Then I downloaded the Broadway cast recording and listened to that. Absolutely wonderful! BUT, I now know that the perfect, pristine Broadway voices would have been out of place in the movie. The cinematic version is much grittier and the poverty and debasement is much more evident than in a play. Consequently, the not-quite-perfect voices fit the characters and conditions better than classically trained voices. In real life, you would not expect perfect pitch and consistently beautiful voices. And the film is very realistic in so many ways, so the satisfactory, but not perfect singing just fits.

    I also think that given the constraints of Javert, a career officer/soldier obsessed with rules and law, that the somewhat wooden portrayal given by Russell Crowe is not out of place. The character doesn't allow for much stretching as an actor. We know he is capable of it when needed, as in Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind, so it was clearly a choice to play Javert this way.
    Laurie
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  14. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by lauriep View Post
    In real life, you would not expect perfect pitch and consistently beautiful voices.
    I just have to point out that in real life, you would also not expect the inspectors, workers and prostitutes to burst into song, so...

    This isn't a movie where you can suspend disbelief, it's a musical. And while I don't mind the acting for Javert to be relatively "wooden", the singing was just atrocious. There is a lot of understated emotion in both Stars and especially in the Suicide, and that doesn't come across at all. Crowe is just dead flat.



  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coanteen View Post
    I just have to point out that in real life, you would also not expect the inspectors, workers and prostitutes to burst into song, so...

    This isn't a movie where you can suspend disbelief, it's a musical. And while I don't mind the acting for Javert to be relatively "wooden", the singing was just atrocious. There is a lot of understated emotion in both Stars and especially in the Suicide, and that doesn't come across at all. Crowe is just dead flat.
    Every time I see the show, I cry at the last scene with Javert. He's one of my favorite characters... there's just so much conflict to him/so many layers. Russell Crowe was, IMHO, just awful. There should be an arc/development to Javert. He is not the same person from scene to scene. He is full of internal conflict and it culminates in the last scene he's in. To play it wooden and stiff the whole way through-- completely misses what that character is all about. I've seen more depth in Javert in high school productions. And Stars should be a SHOW STOPPER but it was plain old awful in the movie. Blah.
    Last edited by vxf111; Jan. 1, 2013 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Edited to remove spoiler that I thought was already common knowledge
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by vxf111 View Post
    Every time I see the show, I cry....
    Argh! Spoiler alert!
    Last edited by MHM; Jan. 1, 2013 at 06:00 PM.



  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHM View Post
    Argh! Spoiler alert!
    Oh, sorry, I assumed people were posting here having seen the movie already. And it's the name of a song on the soundtrack. And the book's been around nigh on forever. Doesn't everyone know the story already? I didn't mean to be a spoiler. Sorry. I'll go edit. I guess Coanteen needs to edit too.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/


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  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigHorseLittleHorse View Post
    Russell Crowe had a few moments where he was ok, but mostly he was just outclassed. I don't think his voice is that bad, but up against everyone else, he just didn't have the power.
    Yes, and it's unfortunate, because I thought he really captured Javert's personality very well. Javert isn't evil; he just adheres to the "code of the law" and sees everything in black and white. He is actually an honorable man, but cannot see beyond the letter of the law. Crowe was excellent at conveying that and making him sympathetic, not just "the bad guy."

    Edit: I've seen the original cast on Broadway, two touring productions, and another Broadway version. Hands down, Samantha Barks is the best Eponine I have ever seen. The Broadway actresses I've seen tend to screech and wail "On My Own" like they're trying out for American Idol. Barks has so much more subtlety and emotion without all that screaming.
    I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry


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  19. #79
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    I like Barks too. I think she bring a little "cockney" edge to Eponine that really works. And, obviously, she's got a tremendous voice.
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/



  20. #80
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    I'm going to see it again tonight- hopefully we get past Gavroche with sound intact. I think this time, having gotten through Stars once in time to warn my friend to bring her iPod, I'm going to follow her example.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
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