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Les Miserables (blu ray): A blu ray (not movie) review…beautiful video and audio…an absolutely enthralling experience!
on March 22, 2013
‘Les Miserables’ arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.85:1 encode. Director Tom Hooper and cinematographer Danny Cohen favour a gritty, and quite often dark, ambience for this film. There is a slow but steady evolution from darkness to light in the film, obviously done intentionally. That means the first part of this film often has a murky, ill defined ambience, though it is to the credit of this high definition presentation that fine detail and shadow detail still remain commendable almost all of the time. Close-ups in fact often offer a staggering amount of fine detail, an aspect which only improves once the film moves into brighter territory. The first half or so of the film has been colour graded fairly aggressively toward the blue end of the spectrum, with the second half imbued with more of a golden amber hue. The blacks are perfectly rendered. Hooper's intended close-ups reveal a ton of fine facial detail: from strained faces, furrowed brows, anguished age lines, pores, facial hair, dirt, scrapes, bruises, and blood. What I like the best is Hooper uses ultra-close-ups on the actors faces as they are belting out their lines. This is something you are rarely privy to when watching a stage play. The sheer distance of the audience from the actors on stage makes it difficult to discern slight facial expressions. Here everything is on display. The grief, the anguish, and the pain. It's all there. It may not be pretty to look at, but it sure gets the story's point across. (4.5/5)
‘Les Miserables’ comes with an absolutely stellar DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track, that truly engulfs the viewer. The weight of the music and the lyrics being belted by the actors is tremendous. The front channels provide a very loud and very clear rendition of the famous songs being sung. Every lyric is crystal clear. The bass is beautifully deep. The deep rumbling of the bass in the opening number is fantastic to hear and feel. One of the best things about this film is the incredibly smart mixing of ambient environmental sounds with the continuing underscore and vocals. This can be rather subtle at times, as with the crash of waves in the opening sequence, or more immediate and apparent, as in the huge barricade sequence. Even the sung elements feature discrete channelization which open the film up aurally and present a well defined sense of space within the frame. Overall, this is an all around spectacular audio experience. The only weak point is Russell Crowe’s singing. However, Anne Hathaway's rendition of 'I Dreamed A Dream' was the highlight, done with lots of feelings and warmth. I have listened to Elaine Paige's, and Susan Boyle's versions, but I like Anne's version the BEST! (5/5)
2013 Academy Award Winners:
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hair Styling
2013 Academy Award Nominations:
Best Actor: Hugh Jackman
Best Original Song: Suddenly
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Best Achievement in Production Design
‘Les Miserables’ has an estimated budget of $61 million, and its worldwide gross was $429 million.
I found the entire movie to be an enthralling experience. It isn't without its faults though. Russell Crowe is outmatched by the immense singing talent surrounding him. Anne Hathaway destroys them all though. Her performance alone is worth the money, with the highlight of her singing ‘I Dreamed A Dream.’ With absolutely beautiful video and audio, ‘Les Miserables’ comes highly recommended.