11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
‘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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
My elderly mother was in town and wanted to see it. I groaned inside then manned up and took her. Not because I hated the idea of the movie but because I knew what was coming. Maybe thirty minutes in I had to run out of the theatre and cry. That was embarrassing. Regaining my composure I returned and had a thoroughly good time with this excellent production. Hugh Jackman is charismatic in any role and as everyone knows Anne Hathaway gives a performance that could draw tears from a stone. I am not sure how this could have been done better. It's easy to quibble about a few points (Russell Crowe?) but this movie does exactly what it set out to do and does it well. Best seen on Sunday night with hankie at the ready.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Say what you want about Jackman's thermonuclear vibrato, and Crowe's vocals: they tore this up. Jackman was a superb Valjean and Crowe was a perfect Javert. All the girls were miles ahead of the boys in terms of vocals, except the kid who who played Enjolras. He was really good. The real star of the movie is the little Huttlestone kid as Gavroche. Also, in case you're wondering, I do not think the French "Les Miserables" translates to "The Wretched Ones" as some people say. I think it actually means "almost everybody dies."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2015
I first saw this in the cinema and having never seen Les Miserable on the stage, but knowing many of the songs from school I had mixed feelings. Some of the voices for singing are better than others. Hathaway and Redmayne as well as smaller characters (Les Amis and Eponine) give beautiful, haunting and amazing performances. Others seem to struggle. Seyfried's voice is arguably the worst and next to Eddie Redmayne's pitch perfect power voice, falls especially flat with a sort of warbly high pitched squeaking. Jackman (surprisingly) seems to struggle, though having heard he prepared for the role by barely eating or drinking that's not so surprising. Crowe's voice is love it or hate it, with me opting for hate and my husband adoring it.
That being said, the decision to use live voices over studio recorded has both it's good and it's bad points. The good points are that the emotions and beautiful acting and passion in the actor's voices comes across much more clearly. The bad is that often the flaws can be heard too and in the case of the weaker singers this is obvious.
Les Miserables suffers from some droning songs that reference God way too much, but it also has rousing and wonderful songs and you'll find even the worst of the music getting hopelessly stuck in your head for days. But it's definitely worth a watch and it is, without a doubt, a movie that will stay with you, full of sentimentality and hope, even as that hope fails.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2014
The momentum of the film never stops and there are some fantastic performances by Hugh Jackman as the convict, Jean Valjean, Anne Hathaway as the sacked factory worker, Fantine and Russell Crowe as police officer, Javert, . The comic talents of Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen provide a counterpoint to the serious side of the story.
“Les miserables” (powerful words inadequately translated as “the poor”) are the focus of the original story. It is not a narrative Hollywood was likely to like. Tom Hooper concentrates on the romance at the expense of the social message. Nevertheless they have not succeeded in emasculating the story.
The story, based on a two-volume 19th Century novel by Victor Hugo, is not miserable at all because it contains within it a message of hope that things can be changed.
It is worth comparing the revolutionaries in Les Miserables with those other revolutionaries in a 19th Century novel – the bloodstained monsters depicted in Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities.” Although the revolution of 1830 was defeated, Victor Hugo sees the revolutionaries as human beings and evokes sympathy for the cause for which they are fighting.
To say it is a revolutionary film would be pushing it. It is a film about revolution and about the appalling injustices of society but the message is about individual salvation through love.
The central character, Jean Valjean, is imprisoned for five years for stealing a loaf of bread, then another 14 for trying to escape (not an exaggeration of the penal code of the period). On release he is condemned to carry a yellow passport – an ID card which is as effective as a brand. Even outside the prison he is not free.
A priest seeks to redeem him with an act of kindness and (without retelling the whole story) the narrative rests on the consequences of that act of kindness.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the original story is the casting of a policeman, a perfectly respectable upholder of the law with no sympathy for the poor, as a villain. We are accustomed to seeing “crooked cops” but Javert isn’t crooked; he is as straight as he can be according to his lights. He simply enforces an unjust law because it is not his place to change it.
The most powerful scenes involve the street fighting in Paris during the 1830 revolution and the idealism of students and young people who are depicted as simply and selflessly fighting for the poor of their own city.
“Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!”
Without the music the words give you some idea of the emotions stirred by the powerful song. I am aware that people talk cynically about “not a dry eye in the house” but it really is an accurate description of how people in the audience respond to this.
In the final scene the selflessness is rewarded when, with Les Miserables, they ascend to heaven. Dickens, for all his compassion, would have had them going to the other place!
The same songs are repeated with a different emphasis at different times in the film but the message of what happens when society offers no future to the poorest members of the community could not be clearer. We really will all be in it together!
“At the end of the day there's another day dawning
And the sun in the morning is waiting to rise
Like the waves crash on the sand
Like a storm that'll break any second
There's a hunger in the land
There's a reckoning still to be reckoned and
There's gonna be hell to pay
At the end of the day!”
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Director Tom Hooper has literally rewritten the book with regards to filming critically and popularly acclaimed musicals like "Les Miserables" in his riveting, excellent cinematic adaptation of one of the world's most beloved musicals, while hewing more closely to the original text of Victor Hugo's novel; it is both a fantastic and magnificent cinematic adaptation of the musical. Hooper gambled that he could film "Les Miserables" by having the actors singing their roles during the actual filming without having them dubbed later in post-production, and not only has it succeeded beyond the expectations of many, it truly feels as though you are hearing a live outdoor performance of "Les Miserables". The cast is superlative starting with Hugh Jackman's compelling portrayal of Jean Valjean, as a conflicted soul trying to escape from his penal past; his singing is exceptional, most notably in his soliloquy "Bring Him Home", hoping the young revolutionary Marais (Eddie Redmayne) escapes from the Paris 1832 student-led uprising, so he can be united with his adopted daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried); so too are Anne Hathaway (Fantine) and Russell Crowe (Javert), with Hathaway giving an especially poignant rendition of "I Dreamed A Dream", widely regarded by many as the unofficial "anthem" of "Les Miserables". (Crowe has been condemned by some critics for his singing, but he shows his ability to sing nearly as well as his co-stars, especially towards the end, and offers viewers an emotionally complex portrayal of Javert that remains true to Hugo's depiction of him as a loyal civil servant intent on upholding French law.) Both Sacha Baron Cohen (Thenardier) and Helena Bonham Carter (Madame Thenardier) are especially memorable as the hustlers who are the guardians of the young Cosette (Isabelle Allen) until Valjean steps in, appearing later towards the end of the film, and so too, Colm Wilkinson - the original Jean Valjean in the London and Broadway stage productions - as the Bishop. Along with the excellent cast of actors, the movie features excellent musicianship from the likes of harpist Skaila Kanga and composer/arranger/pianist Anne Dudley, who has contributed additional music to the film score. "Les Miserables" is one of the best cinematic adaptations of a musical I have seen and will be remembered as such for years to come; without question, it is among the best films of 2012.
I loved the Uma Thurman version. I am also a fan of the stars of this film. I was just not overjoyed to see them all together. Many of the songs worked magnificently. There was a lot of song dialouge that didn't work as well. I felt this should have been a musical rather than an opera. I was surprised at how well the actors could hold their notes, like a professional, yet not sound as well on simpler tunes. There are also professional singers who can act (not 50 Cent). Personally I would have cast them.
How is it all these Frenchmen have British accents? The music enhances the already rolling coaster ride of emotion of the saga, making the highs higher and lows lower. There has been almost a void of decent musicals in the motion picture industry since the 1960's. This one fills the void with a great story and cinematography. You are hooked on the film by a brilliant opening scene with Jackman surprising the bejesus out of me with his singing and Crowe does not.
As a musical, I won't rush out and buy the sound track. Looks good on the big screen. But seriously, 5 stars? Perhaps the most amazing thing is that Russell Crowe, who can't carry a tune in a bucket, got a major starring role in a musical. Don't look for that to happen again.
Parental Guide: No f-bombs or nudity. Brief sex scene.
on June 3, 2014
The high rating is due to the performances of Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway, and those playing Marius, Gavroche, young Cosette and the incomparable Colm Wilkinson (hiding as the Bishop Bienvenue). These perfomances were excellent. Anne Hathaway was the first Fantine who I've heard take the songs and managed to convey the reality of Fantine's existence in all it's agony. Amanda Seyfried is believable as the lark-like young woman who both Valjean and Marius would do anything to make happy.
Although Hugh Jackman is a convincing Valjean as and actor, his performance would have been much stronger if he didn't have to sing. Sometimes I wished he would stop singing. Russel Crowe is stiff and unemotional. His singing had little inflection. He was an automaton who at least did manage to stay on key.
One thing: what is with the added bits that were sung between songs (different from the ones in the Broadway versions)? The writers think they can stick in a pair of jarring lines, and as long as they manage to rhyme it doesn't matter if they go with the music, or be on key?
It was neat how they had Colm Wilkinson (the Broadway performer who 'created' the Jean Valjean role) act like a book-end to the new Valjean: he is the Bishop, so he sets Valjean on his righteous path, and is there to greet him after he dies. But 3 hours of listening to Jackman nasally whine his lines, I wish they had thrown big-name-actor-hype to the wind and let Colm Wilkinson sing the role. Who cares if he's in his seventies?
on December 20, 2013
This is a great movie. No wonder it was so successful.
Even for those anti-musical-movies persons this proves to be so good that my wife loved it. My wife can not stand any musical movie, not even the old ones from the golden age, and she does not like Broadway stuff. She is a big fan of cinema, on her birthday she'd rather watch 2 movies than go to a fancy restaurant. Said so, you can imagine my surprise when she loved this film, and I think it is for 2 major reasons: One is the top level cast and performances. The second is the powerful story from the classic of Victor Hugo. So even if these actors are not "singers" the do a great job because we are in "cinema", not "broadway". The biggest difference is that you get all these close-ups of their faces, different angles, the illumination, make-up, etc., so a great singer may not be the best choice to be seen that close and intimate, so in "cinema" they decided to cast real actors instead of singers and it was a good choice. Anne Hathaway is able to transmit all the suffering only with her eyes, no matter how good or bad she is singing. So if you don't like actors trying to sing, just give it a try and remember that great singers are not good actors and you may not believe them if you have them in a close-up. That is the good about Broadway, they are far away, with all this theatrical make up, and you don't really see their eyes, so their voices are the only thing you get.
Yes be warned, but that alone shouldn't take you off Tom Hooper's newest and far superior film to "King's Speech".
An incredible and very competent ensemble cast leads the drama tale of Jean Valjean (played by Hugh Jackman) who, rumor has it, all had to sing on set instead of recording it later in the process. That is a wonderful feat to achieve and each actor gives powerful performances. Amanda Seyfried will have a hard time getting a better role than this as she is both ravishing, sad-looking. Anne Hathaway distinguishes herself both in acting, singing and portraying her complex character and Russel Crowe delivers on all fronts. Make no mistake, it IS a superb achievement if you can swallow the 158 minutes singing.
Audio and video pictures are both strong and convince us in Hooper's gritty universe without falling into the cliché realm. This being a musical, voices are important and the provided track is competent, beautiful and well balanced.
Special features appear plenty and cover quite a nice ground into the production of this film, from commentary track to interviews and making of featurettes, all done with taste, fast paced and yet very interesting.
Hooper and company honor Victor Hugo's writings at every turn. But if you still feel lukewarm about hearing characters sing throughout the film, rent it first.