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Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

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View Poll Results: What did you think of Les Miserables (2012)?
I'm familiar with the stage musical and loved the film
31.25%
I'm familiar with the stage musical and liked the film
7.81%
I'm familiar with the stage musical and thought the film was OK
6.25%
I'm familiar with the stage musical and disliked the film
3.13%
I'm unfamiliar with the stage musical and loved the film
14.06%
I'm unfamiliar with the stage musical and liked the film
14.06%
I'm unfamiliar with the stage musical and thought the film was OK
6.25%
I'm unfamiliar with the stage musical and disliked the film
4.69%
I'll wait for download/stream/optical media
4.69%
I'd rather poke my eyes out than watch people singing on-screen
4.69%
Other
3.13%
Voters: 64. You may not vote on this poll

Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Old 12-16-12, 11:08 AM
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Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Continue pre-release discussion here.



Les Misérables is a British musical drama film produced by Working Title Films and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film is based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer, which is in turn based on Les Misérables, the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo.

The film is directed by Tom Hooper, scripted by William Nicholson, and stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Sacha Baron Cohen, Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Tveit also star in supporting roles. The film tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former prisoner who becomes mayor of a town in France. Valjean agrees to take care of Cosette, the illegitimate daughter of Fantine, and must avoid being captured again by Javert, a police inspector.

Development of Les Misérables began in the late 1980s. After the musical's 25th Anniversary concert in October 2010, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that the film resumed development. Hooper and Nicholson were approached in March 2011 and the main characters were cast in 2011. Principal photography of the film commenced in March 2012,[4] and took place in various locations in Winchester and Portsmouth in Hampshire, England, as well as Paris in France.

Les Misérables premiered in London at the Empire, Leicester Square on 5 December 2012, and is scheduled to be released on 25 December 2012 in the United States and on 11 January 2013 in the United Kingdom.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean
Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert
Anne Hathaway as Fantine
Amanda Seyfried as Cosette
Isabelle Allen plays Cosette as a child
Eddie Redmayne as Marius Pontmercy
Samantha Barks as Éponine
Sacha Baron Cohen as Thénardier
Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thénardier
Aaron Tveit as Enjolras
Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZVUk-BRZVAM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Old 12-16-12, 11:10 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

About time we had a thread title saying that it isn't Tobe Hooper.
Old 12-16-12, 11:27 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

isn't the star rating system the preferred method?
Old 12-16-12, 11:36 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by scott1598 View Post
isn't the star rating system the preferred method?
Preferred for whom? Do we have forum guidelines for reviews threads? I realize I don't create many reviews threads and apologize if I stepped on your toes, but I think the knowledge of source material is an interesting point of reference for this movie.
Old 12-16-12, 11:45 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

i was just asking bc if i was doing it wrong i would change it.
Old 12-16-12, 11:52 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by scott1598 View Post
i was just asking bc if i was doing it wrong i would change it.
No, I myself like the star rating a lot--in fact, I tried to do it once and code-failed miserably. But frankly I didn't know if this one was going to get a reviews thread at all, and I liked the idea of people stating their knowledge of the stage version as they express their opinions.
Old 12-16-12, 12:00 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

I think I would have preferred the star system. Cuz the term familiar may be interpreted wrong somehow.

Familiar meaning what? I KNOW of the musical, never saw it. I'm familiar w/ the version of the property. Does that apply? Or familiar in the form that I've seen the musical play?
Old 12-16-12, 12:01 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

I think I would have preferred the star system. Cuz the term familiar may be interpreted wrong somehow.

Familiar meaning what? I KNOW of the musical, never saw it. I'm familiar w/ the version of the property. Does that apply? Or familiar in the form that I've seen the musical play?
Old 12-16-12, 12:04 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Solid Snake PAC View Post
I think I would have preferred the star system. Cuz the term familiar may be interpreted wrong somehow.

Familiar meaning what? I KNOW of the musical, never saw it. I'm familiar w/ the version of the property. Does that apply? Or familiar in the form that I've seen the musical play?
I was assuming "familiar" to mean that you've seen the stage musical.

There are always nuances. I used the somewhat-generic term "familiar" because when I did the Tintin reviews thread, I had as several of the options "I'm a Tintin fan and I..." then some people complained that the choice was bad because they had read Tintin but didn't like him.

EDIT: Just to address your specific questions, would you consider yourself "familiar" with the stage musical if you know it exists, or if you've read the original Hugo novel? That's kind of like saying you're familiar with The Dark Knight Rises because you've read a Batman comic. I myself wouldn't, but I agree that the better language would have been something like "I've seen the stage musical."

Last edited by davidh777; 12-17-12 at 10:39 AM.
Old 12-19-12, 03:07 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Just saw the movie tonight, and I kind of loved it.

If the bonehead who created the poll had given us a star option , I'd probably choose 4.5. Perfect movie? No, I didn't like some of the style choices and casting. Well, mostly the casting I didn't like was Russell Crowe, who was vocally outmatched by anyone he sang with. But he did stay on pitch, and I kind of liked his solos. His presence was right for the character as well. Hugh Jackman was probably as good a leading man as we could get from a movie star, but he wasn't perfect either--just seemed to lack a little something vocally. He also looked way too Wolverine-y in one scene. Probably the best rendition of character was from--no surprise--Samantha Barks. The new song was OK. I'd say the movie lacked the impact of a stage production, but I still felt emotionally wrung out at the end, which is how it's supposed to be. I read some criticisms of the close-ups, and yeah, they were there, but I think they worked. A close-up of Anne Hathaway singing her big song with no cut-aways that I spotted was very intense.

Loser award goes to the person whose ringtone started going off during "Bring Him Home." Then it went off again during Javert's song 10 minutes later.

I didn't realize we were getting appearances by
Spoiler:
Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle
! Yeah, I wasn't going to spoilerize in the reviews thread, but this was a big surprise to me since I generally try to avoid advance info on movies I plan to see.

Still sort of gathering my thoughts on this one, but that's first impression. I've seen Les Miz on stage in London (near-original cast back in 1987), Seattle, and San Francisco, and I've watched both the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts. Those casts are better vocally, but as I was watching the movie, I was thinking that when I wanted to watch the show at home in the future, I'd probably pick this over the concerts.
Old 12-19-12, 10:28 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Awesome! That's great to hear. Thanks for the write-up.

I was jealous of people going to screenings last night. And it seemed like most of them loved it, while the reviews are starting to go in the opposite direction.
Old 12-19-12, 04:34 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

The schizophrenia of the reviews is amazing. Just an example from today: Richard Roeper says it's a triumph and gives it an A, while it made Michael Phillips' 10 worst movies of 2012.
Old 12-19-12, 04:40 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

One thing that was weird is every so often there'd be a missing beat or something, enough to make me notice the broken flow but the singers would match the orchestra so either it was planned or it was spliced together or something.

There was also a spot where I think Hugh borked his line:

Come on, ladies, settle down
I am the mayor of this town
I run a business of repute...

Whaaa? That's not the order of lines and doesn't rhyme.

There was a fair amount of spots where sung lines were switched to spoken, perhaps to assuage the theater-going, musical-hating masses. Not to a Rex Harrison level, but pretty noticeable.
Old 12-25-12, 09:07 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

We saw it last night and loved it. Jackman and Hathaway were just incredible. Valjean's Soliloquy was remarkably powerful and everything with Fantine was heart-wrenching.

Overall, we were on board with the changes made, and the pacing that has been criticized was absolutely fine. In fact, I thought it was a very fast 2:40. The supporting cast was terrific, primarily Redmayne and Barks. The close-ups were not distracting and added to the power of the songs. I have never connected with "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" until seeing the agony in Marius's face.

The weak spot: Yes, Russell Crowe, although I completely disagree with those saying he was terrible. The comparisons to Pierce Brosnan are not fair at all. He just lacked the power and chops necessary to pull off Stars (which may have actually been worse if he tried to belt it out). His vocals outside of the solos were fine. Acting-wise, I liked him as Javert. He didn't emote very much, but I prefer a Javert simply carrying out his duty over one who is outwardly and cartoonishly evil.

Anyway, it completely lived up to my expectations and in some cases blew them away. We have tickets to see it again this afternoon, and I'm almost as excited as I was to see it the first time.
Old 12-25-12, 07:22 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Saw it. Overall, it was good. Crowe wasn't the weak link at all, it was Seyfried and Redmayne. I also have to say that if you thought Hobbit was bloated, you haven't seen this one. It has been about 25 years since I saw the stage version, but I was reminded that it starts strong, ends strong, but man is there a lot of tedious stuff in the middle, particularly with the Eponine, Cosette, and Marius love triangle.

Could someone refresh my mind on something? I seem to recall that the role of Eponine was down to Lea Michele and Taylor Swift, and then out of the blue they cast Samantha Barks after the role was rather publicly offered to Swift. Anyone know how that happened? I personally think they should have given the Cosette role to Michele, as Seyfried simply couldn't handle it.
Old 12-25-12, 08:05 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Thought it was dull and despite having some great scenes, was overlong and loaded with horrible directorial choices. The first time we had a 3 minute long closeup, with Hathaway belting out an emotional number, with her only taking up part of the right side of the frame, I thought it was nice - felt like having a great seat at the play...but then 90% of the big emotional numbers played out EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, with only 1/4 of the frame being filled with a face, belting out a number in a single take, with the camera slightly placed at a dutch angle...I was dying for a long shot - if you spend this much money on costumes and sets, fucking show them to us, please! I didn't find the story to be all that engaging and while there are moments of greatness, I found it all a bit too pedestrian and felt if you didn't come in already knowing the story and loving Les Mis, they didn't give you anything to convert you. Not terrible but do not believe the hype.
Old 12-26-12, 12:05 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
There was also a spot where I think Hugh borked his line:

Come on, ladies, settle down
I am the mayor of this town
I run a business of repute...

Whaaa? That's not the order of lines and doesn't rhyme.
Yeah, I noticed that to. Was wondering if it were a deliberate choice, but it did seem odd.

I saw it tonight. Obviously, I've been looking forward to this one for a long, long time (I started the original movie thread in this forum). Overall, I thought it was very good, but not great. A lot of poor choices in directing. Unfortunately, I got to the (completely packed) theater about a half-hour before the start time -- not nearly early enough. Had to sit in the fourth row. That compounded the odd choice to show everyone in extreme close up, so I was admiring dental work and scrutinizing everyone's stubble and skin blemishes. It was really odd and sort of disturbing like they were all filmed with an endoscope. Still, I thought the singing was great and while "Stars" sort of fell flat, Crowe otherwise played Javert just fine. Liked it, but didn't love it as much as I thought I would. Jackman and of course Hathaway were amazing and I loved every precious second they were on screen together. Hope they find another musical vehicle for them both again someday.
Old 12-26-12, 12:10 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post

Could someone refresh my mind on something? I seem to recall that the role of Eponine was down to Lea Michele and Taylor Swift, and then out of the blue they cast Samantha Barks after the role was rather publicly offered to Swift. Anyone know how that happened? I personally think they should have given the Cosette role to Michele, as Seyfried simply couldn't handle it.
They were both in the running, but they went with Barks who played the role in London. I thought it was an odd choice at the time, though clearly they weren't starved for star appeal by that point. Taylor Swift would have been a bad choice and an easy source of criticism had she been cast. Lea Michelle would have been fine in the role, but nothing wrong with Barks. She delivers and is the only one who really shines in a single-take extreme-close-up song besides Hathaway.

Totally disagree with you about Seyfried though. Thought she was lovely and has a gorgeous singing voice. Yeah, she doesn't deliver any big emotional scenes, but that's a function of the musical. Adult Cosette was always the weakest part emotionally -- I never bought this "just saw him and fell madly in love" plot line that the musical hinges on, but it's way too late to fix that now.

Oh yeah, that new number, "Suddenly"? It's fine and fits in nicely with the other numbers. Doesn't feel tacked on or unnecessarily added for Oscar bait (i.e. "You Must Love Me" from Evita, "I Move On" from the credits of Chicago), but it's nothing all that special or memorable either. Give that Oscar to Adele already.

Last edited by Decker; 12-26-12 at 12:16 AM.
Old 12-26-12, 11:11 AM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

I'm completely on board with Hathaway getting an Oscar. The more I think about her, the more her performance stands out for me.

on friends slamming the movie in advance for casting "non-singers who will butcher the great songs." Sheesh, see it before you judge.

I was looking forward to taking my kid but she's seeing it today with friends.

Originally Posted by Mad Dawg View Post
the pacing that has been criticized was absolutely fine. In fact, I thought it was a very fast 2:40.
Originally Posted by Dr. DVD View Post
I also have to say that if you thought Hobbit was bloated, you haven't seen this one. It has been about 25 years since I saw the stage version, but I was reminded that it starts strong, ends strong, but man is there a lot of tedious stuff in the middle, particularly with the Eponine, Cosette, and Marius love triangle.
Yeah, any faults with the length and pacing go back to the source material. To my eye, it was completely faithful in that regard. As Decker said, too late now to make Cosette more than a cardboard cutout.

Cool that you saw it nearly in the original stage run! I saw it around that same time, 1987 in London, but also numerous times since plus the televised concerts.

Originally Posted by Mad Dawg View Post
The close-ups were not distracting and added to the power of the songs. I have never connected with "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" until seeing the agony in Marius's face.
Originally Posted by mdc3000 View Post
Thought it was dull and despite having some great scenes, was overlong and loaded with horrible directorial choices. The first time we had a 3 minute long closeup, with Hathaway belting out an emotional number, with her only taking up part of the right side of the frame, I thought it was nice - felt like having a great seat at the play...but then 90% of the big emotional numbers played out EXACTLY THE SAME WAY, with only 1/4 of the frame being filled with a face, belting out a number in a single take, with the camera slightly placed at a dutch angle...I was dying for a long shot - if you spend this much money on costumes and sets, fucking show them to us, please!
I found Hathaway's close-up very noticeable but also riveting, and I guess it didn't stick out or bother me when they did it subsequently. I heard one person complaining that they shouldn't have recorded the songs live because that forced them to bring in the cameras really close in order to hear them. Sorry, guy, but technology is better than the days depicted in Singin' in the Rain.
Old 12-26-12, 02:34 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Yeah, any faults with the length and pacing go back to the source material. To my eye, it was completely faithful in that regard. As Decker said, too late now to make Cosette more than a cardboard cutout.
This one line of defense that I never buy when it comes to adaptations. Slavish adaptations are fine if the source material is perfect or if your goal is to create a 1:1 adaption, warts and all - but it appears they changed some stuff anyway, so why not seize up some of the other soft spots?

I had never seen the stage musical, so outside of what I knew from general pop culture, it was new to me. I liked it quite a bit, but pacing issues in the middle hurt the film a bit - pretty much after Cossette is no longer a child the film just isn't quite as good. Any time Anne Hathaway is in the film, it is great.
Old 12-26-12, 05:01 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by clemente View Post
This one line of defense that I never buy when it comes to adaptations. Slavish adaptations are fine if the source material is perfect or if your goal is to create a 1:1 adaption, warts and all - but it appears they changed some stuff anyway, so why not seize up some of the other soft spots?
Which other changes did you hear about (and I only ask it that way since you said you're not familiar with the stage version)? As I said, it seemed faithful to me.

I'm no slave to exact translations because film is a different medium--my problem with the first Harry Potter movie was what seemed to be trying too hard to please fans rather than making a good movie--but you have to weigh a lot of factors. It's very intertwined so it's not like you can just drop a character or plotline; any changes would probably require pretty major surgery. I suppose you could add a song for Cosette that would give her some depth, but that's a big undertaking as well. Not to mention you need everyone--director, writer, producers, etc.--on board that a change needs to be made. Plus who knows what kind of legal control the original producer or creative team has over any changes?

I don't think Les Miz is a perfect show by any stretch, but the need for any change would be an opinion like any other. I'm not a big fan of the Marius character but I'm sure he's some people's favorite.
Old 12-26-12, 06:12 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
Which other changes did you hear about (and I only ask it that way since you said you're not familiar with the stage version)? As I said, it seemed faithful to me.
Spoiler:
Eponine's storyline was altered a bit. In the musical, she brings Marius's note to Valjean, then arrives at the barricade having been shot. In the film, she takes the bullet for Marius and Gavroche delivers the note. The changes are faithful to the book, though.
Old 12-26-12, 06:39 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Mad Dawg View Post
Spoiler:
Eponine's storyline was altered a bit. In the musical, she brings Marius's note to Valjean, then arrives at the barricade having been shot. In the film, she takes the bullet for Marius and Gavroche delivers the note. The changes are faithful to the book, though.
Ah, right, that did seem weird to me. Seems like a minor change, though.
Old 12-26-12, 07:10 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Okay, I admit, I am a Les Mis fanboy so I am pretty biased. That said, I loved this film. Les Mis is a musical that I can't listen to often because when I do I become addicted to it and it gets played to the point where people ask me to move on to something else.

The film was pretty much everything I could ask for in an adaptation of the musical. For what was changed that I didn't enjoy:
Spoiler:
Line changes like in Look Down and At The End Of The Day

there was more changes that I loved and were needed:
Spoiler:
More lines for Gavroche. The introduction of Marius' grandfather.Nods to the book.

and in one case at least worked better:
Spoiler:
Changing the positioning of Do You Hear The People Sing


Biggest grip? Yeah, the close ups. I think I know why they were done, to bring out the emotion in the songs, but there were many and, at some points, the actors go in and out of focus as the depth of field is so shallow.

That and cutting Master of the House short. I dig that tune.

Hathaway best be making some room on her mantel come the Oscars. But don't sell Jackman short. He sung the hell out of this film. Even Crowe, while downplaying Javert's tunes, was great.

Gotta' see this one again, for sure.
Old 12-26-12, 10:11 PM
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Re: Les Miserables (2012, D. Tom Hooper, *not* Tobe) - The Reviews Thread

Never noticed that they cut Master of the House short. Still seemed plenty long enough to me. The casting of those two was spot-on.

Speaking of song cuts, I found it odd that they cut the song "Little People" considering 1) it's like a 90 second song, 2) Gavroche is so prominently featured in the movie and 3) the song is reprised twice in the movie despite not being performed initially. Didn't understand that decision at all.

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