Les Miserables: A Movie the Masses Were Not Prepared For

Les Miserables movie poster in Japan was wayy more awesome than the American one, so I posted this one. Go Japan! :P

Les Miserables movie poster in Japan was wayy more awesome than the American one, so I posted this one. Go Japan! 😛

This weekend, I went to see the film adaptation of Les Miserables with my boyfriend and some friends, after my coworker had been talking about it for nearly a week. I feel that a lot of people went into that movie not knowing what they were getting into, and it amused me so much that I felt that this commentary was necessary.

Many male friends of mine got dragged to this film by their wives and girlfriends (according to facebook posts I’ve seen lately) and they all seemed to have the same complaint: too much singing. I’ve even overheard teens that went to the film say the same thing, a group of teenage girls leaving the theater when I went said, “What’s with all the singing?”

Seriously?

Am I the only one who got the memo that this movie is a musical?

I’ll admit it, I’m not the most theater-savvy person in the world, and though I was in drama club in high school, I’m not one of those people that is up on every play out there, but I know enough to know that Les Miserables is a famous Broadway show.

My drama obsessed friends have all had a different complaint: it’s not the same as seeing the show, the show is better. I feel like this is the same as those people who read the book before going to the movie and then sit there saying the book was better the whole time. I’m sure the show has its own highlights, but you have to separate the two. Just as a movie can never have all the details the book had, I’m confident that a movie will differ in the portrayal of the story and characters when compared to a Broadway show.

Having never seen the Broadway show, I can’t comment on how the two are in comparison, but overall the film is a good film when you only look at it as a film and aren’t comparing it to anything else. The acting is top notch, the costumes and makeup looked amazingly real, and I hear the entire city of Paris was essentially built in a warehouse in order to film this movie— that alone deserves some accolades. Anne Hathaway blew me away with her singing, and my boyfriend and I are convinced this role will win her an Oscar.

Sure, there were downsides to the film. If you try hard enough, you can poke holes in anything. I didn’t particularly care for Hugh Jackman’s singing voice, not that he was necessarily bad; I just didn’t admire it, personally. Some people told me that they thought Russell Crowe’s portrayal of Javert was stiff and not nearly as “badass” as he is depicted in the play. (Not that I honestly would know, I thought he was a decent antagonist for Hugh Jackman.) I was not impressed with the casting for Marius either, to tell the truth. He did not look like the sort of guy I’d fall for at first sight. The movie also starts out kind of slow, and I believe that’s why a lot of my male buddies were bored with it.

I honestly feel that many people rushed to go see it because it was the “it” movie of the moment, the thing everyone needed to go see. It had an all star cast, rave reviews from critics…all the things a movie needs to make the masses go see it. Unfortunately some of these people didn’t research of have the background knowledge needed, and because of this many people rushed to see a movie they could not understand or properly appreciate.

An example of this in action?

This was a summation of Les Miserables by two teenagers talking behind me in line at Chipotle the other day:

“So Wolverine is running from the Gladiator the whole time, and Catwoman is crying because she can’t take care of her kid… Meanwhile, Bellatrix and Borat are these really awful inn keepers who treat Catwoman’s daughter, Little Red Riding Hood, so badly… But then Wolverine rescues Little Red Riding Hood and there’s a war and stuff, but Little Red Riding Hood meets some guy and its love at first sight and then they get married so it’s okay.”

….When I think about it, I don’t know whether to laugh or hang my head in shame at this description.

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