Monday, March 11, 2013

Les Misérables

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or we can SING!!!!!

Les Misérables – 4 out of 5

I’ve never been to the opera (I haven’t even bother seeing that one with Paris Hilton in it) and I’m not really a musical man. The only musicals I’ve really been exposed to are the ones written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and ones that contain Muppets. I don’t really have anything against operas but I own over a dozen lightsaber toys and I think that is enough explanation for my lack of opera-visiting. However, when I learned that Borat was in Les Misérables I quickly made an exception.

The presence of Wolverine didn't hurt either.

This musical has been around for a looooong time. The book it’s based off of was first published in 1862 and it eventually became the musical it’s been known for since 1980. Since then, it’s been making women cry, the men forced to come along with the crying woman bored and the jerk-off material for theater students for over 20 years. And now that it has been made into a movie (there was a non-musical one in 1998) I can now say I have experienced Les Misérables and am also proud to say I don’t pronounce it (nor have I ever, I do have some class) like a middle school drop out and refer to it as “Less Miserable-s.”

"Ya'll ready to rock?"

Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) is a criminal 24601 in 1815 and he has done his service to justice and is allowed to live the rest of his life on parole. However when his status as a former-criminal prevents him from living a normal life, he jumps parole and starts over. His former guard; Javert (Russell Crowe), goes on a hunt for him for years and believes to have found him as a successful businessman. While there, one of Valjean’s workers; Fantine (Anne Hatheway) is disgraced by her fellow employees because she has an illegitimate daughter that she sends her wages to. She is forced into a life of prostitution and ultimately succumbs to death. Valjean, guilty over ignoring the troubles of his former employee, seeks out her daughter; Cosette, and vows to right past wrongs. Meanwhile, he’s still being hunted by Javert.

"Is there anyway my top hat can help the situation?"

Valjean finds Cosette in the care of two swindler low-lives (played Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter playing the only role she ever plays). After rescuing Cosette (young Cosette played by Isabelle Allen and older Cosette is played by Amanda Seyfried), he gives her a better life and she eventually finds love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a young man who is knee deep in the revolution. Now Valjean must come to terms with his past as he is brought face-to-face with Javert and protect the man who now hold’s his adopted daughter’s heart.

"We need an actor who only plays characters with coke-eyes, an overabundance of
eccentricities and wild Carter busy on a Burton film?"

I never thought I would enjoy a musical such as this because, at my core, I’ve always found musicals slightly comical due to the singing and dancing that always erupts out of nowhere. I admit that I wish real life was like that (I can’t tell you how happy I would be if I could just rip into song when I’m about to use the bathroom or ordering a burrito at Taco Bell and sometime one causes the other!) but when I watch a musical I do find it slightly amusing when the characters just start singing. However, I was REALLY REALLY blown away with this film. How blown away? Did you not see how I capitalized the words “really” and used the word twice? That was meant to symbolize how blown away I was.

I have tried and failed at least three times to pull off a hat like that.

At some point Anne Hatheway turns into Gollum and sings
about her precious.
 There have been some detractors having their things to say about actors taking up roles in a musical—mainly Adam Lambert. The American Idol second-placer voiced his distaste about the actors taking work away from singers. However, you need to consider the source—a man who won the right to be famous due to singing other people’s songs on a reality show and now twiddles away the rest of his fifteen minutes on VH1 and trying to get press by judging the singing talents of people in movies…mildly amusing when you consider he was on a show that now utilizes Nicki Minaj as a judge of (Really trying to hold back the laughter here) talent:  A girl who thinks wearing crazy wigs and stupid fashions is somehow an equivalent of musical talent is telling other people whether or not they are talented in music. Why that’s like having a man who using his complete lack of credibility to judge the talents of actors—and with that, I made the paragraph come full circle!

Let's be honest, Lambert is just jealous of that beard.  *possible follow-up caption with an
innuendo about a beard for Lambert in the sense he's marrying a woman to
hide his homosexuality*

A single note from Hatheway was enough to dehydrate
a person from crying too much.
 As a man who can’t sing and has been banned from performing at karaoke bars, I found the singing talents of the cast to be pretty fucking impressive. Let’s put it this way, I would pay money to download the entire Les Misérables soundtrack with Jackman, Hatheway, and even Crowe wailing away the pain and torment of their characters than listen to a single Adam Lambert pop-crap song. I was quite surprised at the performances of the actors and even more impressed when I read that the actors performed the songs live when filming and that they weren’t recorded in a studio and then lip-sang their songs on set. Director Tom Hooper wanted the songs to have a raw, gritty feel and like they were sung on the spot and not in a studio and he achieved that. There was no post-production auto-tuning that has made the joke of a career that guys like Lambert have thrived on and couldn’t exist without. This made the music more emotionally powerful that tugged on the heartstrings and kept it from being just a background radio tune that makes up Top 40 that has yet to really welcome the American Idol first loser.

Jim Caviezel's clone stars as Marius.

Even Crowe, who I have never believed to be a singer despite the fact he actually has a band, was great but the true breakouts who just literally obliterated my feels was Jackman, Hatheway and Seyfried. It’s rare that a song alone could make me cry but the emotions they evoked in just singing is enough to make the strongest man (who’s name is Manny McImnotapussy) to break down and weep like a baby without a rattle. Even more surprising was how great Sacha Baron Cohen was as Thénaridier. I never realized that Brüno could sing the way he could.

High Five!

From beginning to end, this movie is visually stunning and aurally beautiful (and this marks the first time I’ve ever used the word “aurally.”) The actors are not only giving their all with just their acting prowess but their singing is graceful, stunning and just plain emotionally powerful. Will my enjoyment of Les Misérables make me want to watch more operas and musical? Probably not…unless there’s Muppet in them.

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