Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Is Les Miserables (2012 Film) Worth My Time?

Les Misérables (2012) Poster

Acting: 4.5
Acting for this particular move also involves singing, as this was a musical.  All around, from everyone, the acting was superb.  If this were purely acting it would have received a 5.  I only have a few complaints about the singing, and the biggest one is a stylistic thing.  I do not particularly care for the way the sound was from some of the signers, some of the time.  I felt that occasionally it was too much of a swallowed sound for me.  I am sure the music director had their reasons, but I would have preferred a brighter sound in some places.  The next thing, which is pretty minor, is that I felt the Main stars, generally, did not sing as well as the "extras."  Now mind you, the "extras" are Broadway Actors/Actresses who perform this musical for a living, so one might expect that they would do a fantastic job.  And lastly I was disappointed by Russel Crow's singing.  He sang well, but I think a better singer could have been found.  A few times I felt he lacked the same amount of emotion that others had in the film.  This could have just been his interpretation of his character.  So overall these are very small things, and hardly hurt the overall score.

Cinematography: 4.75
I have decided to include makeup/costumes in this section as well.  There are some really fantastic cinematic shots that really catch the scope of what is happening.  To name one, the way the film starts, extraordinary.  The .25 loss of score comes from a two things.  1. Some of the special effects needed some polishing.  Obviously, not a huge deal, but still keeps it from being a 5.  2.  Helena Carter's costuming.  I do not know how much say she had in her costuming, but I think she had a fair amount of say, and this is where a majority of the 1/4 of a point comes from.  I do not know how many movies you have seen her in, but she seems to always have a style about her, a kind of pre-modern style.  In films such as Sweeney Todd, it fits, it adds to the story, gives some flair to a character.  Well it was present in this film as well, and I thought it seemed to take away from the historical credibility of the film.  

Plot: 4
The story is amazing.  Fantastically put together and I think highly enjoyable.  There are a few lulls in the plot, and I think it can be attributed to the fact that 90% of the movie was in song, and songs are really good about expressing how someone feels, and too much of that can put the breaks to the plot, even though it really helps with character development.  Again, because so much of the movie is in song we run into the problem of unclear events, especially in the beginning.  If the viewer is unfamiliar with the story it is very likely that they will become lost in the first half an hour or so, but after that the issue stops, the story slows down a bit and does not depend to highly on a full understanding of the beginning.  That being said, if you know the story, at least a bit, you should have no problems following it.  

My Score: 5
I have been so nit picky in the last sections I wanted to express here how much I enjoyed this movie.  I love music.  I love movies.  But generally I hate musicals in movie form.  I find them to be cheesy, unrealistic, and poor musically.  However, I have really been getting into the dark musicals, like this one and Sweeney Todd.  The music in this film was better than anything I had hoped for.  

I remember when I first watched Sweeney Todd.  I had no idea it was a musical, I just knew that it had Johnny Depp in it and I had heard how good it was.  So I sat down by myself to watch it and was presently 
surprised to find out it was a musical.  Even better yet was that the film did three straight songs with minimal talking between them.  I had hoped that the whole move would be that way, and was slightly disappointed when more dialog found its way into the movie.  Since that day I have been dreaming of a serious musical that had none to little talking.  I looked and looked but could not find one.  I had resigned to the idea that there was not one to be had, nor could it ever happen.  

Now, I knew that Les Miserables was a musical, but when I heard that it had accomplished this, I immediately thought my source was just exaggerating, after all it was ABC News Good Morning America.  I cannot express to you how pleased I was that it went the entire movie and used less than a page of spoken dialog. (That is not a fact, it is just an approximation  it may have been more than that, but I promise, it is not much more than that.)  Not only did it involve tons of music, but it was so successful in telling the story.  It could have very well failed at telling a cohesive story with all that music.  If this is the future of musicals, we have many exciting movies coming our way. 

Overall Average: 4.6
The movie runs about 2.5 hours.  I think it draws to a close after a correct amount of time.  It is rated PG-13, and I think that may be a little young.  Some of the ideas and events depicted may be suited better for a slightly older audience,  just use good judgement.  You know your children better than I do.  If you do not like musicals, just stay away from this movie, read the book, or watch one of the older versions, the one that is not a musical, 1950 something I think.  Otherwise have some tissues handy, and be prepared to be in awe the entire time.