So I want to write more, which I say every year. So I wanted to write a movie or game review each week. I thought this would be a fun way to write more because I would get to watch a lot of movies and play a lot of game. Even though I'm a little late I have a review of Les Mis ready to post. I know this isn't really screened but I didn't know where else to post it. So if you want to read about what I thought of Les Mis comment. If not no worries. Take Care.
Les Mis Review
I first listened to Les Mis when I was in middle school. When I was in Seventh grade I went to see them perform ‘Good News.’ From the start of the show I wanted to be involved in live theater. I remember going to the Library and looking at their CD section. I’m not sure why I grabbed Les Mis but it was the selection I made. It was the two disk original London cast recording. I rushed home and listened to it right away.
From the first notes I was hooked. I listened to those cds over and over again. My favorite recording of Les Mis is the 10 anniversary recording at Royal Albert Hall. I’ve listened to it hundreds of times. I know it so well that it could be a negative. Whenever I’ve seen the show live, which I have three times, I always compare it to that recording.
I bought the film highlights cd before I saw the movie. I did this for a few reasons. After seeing the international trailer for the movie, I was a little worried. The singing while shooting concerned me and Russell Crowe worried me. After listening to the CD the only thing I was worried about was Eddie Redmayne as Marius. Something about his voice bothered me…but I’ll get to that later.
So now onto the film, I really enjoyed Anne Hathaway as Fantine. She isn’t in the film very long but made the biggest impact on me. ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ was the best performance of the film. I thought the live singing was most effective with this song. It can be very soft and low and loud and powerful the next second.
While the live singing worked well for this song I thought the direction in most of the solo songs didn’t work. Most of these scenes seemed to be filmed on one take without a lot of cuts. So the camera was focused closed on the singer so we could see all of the emotion they felt. This didn’t work for me. I thought the tight shots were awkward. Of course I can’t think of a better way to film it but something felt weird with the long shots holding close to each singer.
I also felt ‘One Day More’ fell short. It works so well on the stage because the entire cast is close and tight. On film there had to be many cuts between many different scenes. You lose the power of the song with each cut because whichever character is being focused on you are paying attention to their part of the song, instead of the whole. Overall I wasn’t a fan of the ‘Live Singing’. I won’t fault them for trying but there needs to be more power behind most of the songs in Les Mis and this way of singing didn’t work for me.
Russell Crowe didn’t really work for me. He was able to hit some notes but not a lot. ‘Stars’ is a really powerful song that explains who Javert is. He wasn’t able to use his voice to display that power. I saw him being compared to Pearce Bronson in Mamma Mia; he was not at all that awful. There was something about Redmayne’s voice that I didn’t enjoy. It sounded like the parody that ‘South Park’ did when they had Colm Wilkinson direct the third grade musical.
Overall I enjoyed and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the show or movie musicals. The music in Les Mis should be belted out, in my opinion. So the choice of singing live while filming hurt the film for me. I can’t think of any shows where this style of filming would work in its advantage. The movie is making money so we might see this style in the future, not sure that is a good thing.