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Les Miserables: Worth the Time and Money

Les Miserables Movie Review: The new movie adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (means Miserable Ones) opened yesterday in the Philippines with a loud bang. In Baguio City, cinema goers started standing in line an hour before the movie started rolling.

With extreme excitement to watch the movie that has been massively covered by media, we rushed in to the cinema and found no good seat for us (almost all seats were filled with thrilled viewers). We had no choice but to take the seats situated meters away from the screen. Before the movie started, one muttered that he will never let anyone around him sing during the screening (he is disappointing himself).

The Singing and Not the Acting

The movie is top-billed by actors who successfully pretended to be singers in the movie. Since its plot is not the main attraction, cinema goers are left with two choices of what to track on: the difference between the movie from its earlier movie adaptation starring Liam Neeson and Uma Thurman and the original play, and how the actors turned into movie singers.

Since the singing was done live, it is remarkable that all the cast can sing. However, not all the musical parts have been perfectly carried out. Tenor Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) got hard up in singing “Bring Him Home” which has high notes. Anne Hathaway combined her soprano singing and fine acting skills to give justice to her role as Fantine. Russell Crowe, who plays Inspector Javert, used his pop-styled voice making his performances less theatrical.

Among the two persons who deserve recognition for their contribution to the movie’s musical aspect are Samantha Barks (Eponine) and Eddie Redmayne (Marius). The pair, which undeniably can sing, gave the movie a fresh look.

Mood of the Movie

The movie opens with a very passionate scene showing the character of Jackman working as a prisoner. In this part of the movie, the music gets louder, deeper and more catching- equivalent to Phantom of the Opera’s Prologue.

The first part of the movie is really tiring to watch. It is filled with impressive scenes shared by Jackman, Crowe and Hathaway. The latter part is lighter and a bit boring. The war scene appears to be taken inside a studio; it is as dull as the whole of Valkyrie and as fake as Glee.
Contrary to ordinary films, the climax of Les Miserables is situated in the earlier part of the movie. However, this is forgivable and innovative.

Cinematic Value Un-Mized

Shooting the movie is understood to be challenging. The backdrops are well-researched and everything is commendably corresponding in portraying both the troubled France and the characters that are miserables.

Frequently, the camera was positioned in angles that do not highlight the subject being shown on screen. Every movement of the actors was drastically trailed. Camera movements are not fine but this added up to the tension being released by profound scenes.

One of the best aspects of the movie is its eye lighting. The light on the eyes of the actors on the screen are vibrant. Even scenes taken in the darkness show the eyes of the actors emitting light.

The movie runs for two and a half hour. After it ended, I posted on Facebook “Les Miz is worth my time and money”. On Twitter, a friend asked me about the Les Miz experience. I warned her not to enter the theater stressed because the movie scenes are really tiring. However, my very basic tip to anyone planning to watch the movie is to never do it without knowing the story of the movie.

Christian is a Marketing Communications practitioner in Quezon City. He is an Igorot from Sagada, Mountain Province. To get in touch with him, please shoot an email to christianaligonow@gmail.com.


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