The most anticipated movie of the year has arrived in the country, and is ready for viewing tomorrow, January 16!
After 14 years, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is back! Not in Broadway, not even in West End, but in movie theaters worldwide. Academy Award winner Tom Hooper [Best Director for The King Speech] has recreated the work of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil for the movie-goers to see.
The 2012 movie adaptation of the longest-running musical, Les Miserables, features a powerhouse ensemble including Hugh Jackman who plays Jean Valjean; Oscar winner Russell Crowe who takes the role of Inspector Javert; Anne Hathaway takes the stellar role of Fantine; Amanda Seyfried and Samantha Barks plays Cosette and Eponine respectively; Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit. With the special participation of Colm Wilkinson and Francis Ruffele the original Jean Valjean and Eponine respectively.
Set during 19th-century France, Les Miserables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption—a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Jackman plays ex-prisoner Jean Valjean, hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever.
Les Miserables for me is in a classification of its own. It’s incomparable to the last movie adaptation of the great masterpiece of the French writer. Although, it’s really different from one another. The 1998 movie adaptation concentrated on the story of Valjean and Javert.
Tom Hooper did a wonderful job at recreating what people might have watched at the theater, not movie theater at that. Together with his equally talented creative team, they stayed true to the musical, which if you’re a fan of you’re going to really enjoy the film.
Director Tom Hooper with some of the younger stars on the set of Les Miserables!
One of the bravo moment for Hooper is the live recording of every song in the film. Instead of pre-recording all of the songs he let the actors, yes including Russell Crowe, to sing live in the entire movie with the help of a pianist that can be heard via earpiece.
“Singing live in a film has never been done with this kind of consistency before, that changes every processes of doing it,” says Tom Hooper. It was after filming that the orchestra scoring by Stephen Brooker was placed.
Freedom is mine. Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.
For me, it’s Hugh Jackman who carried the musical aspect of the movie. The others are just there to support his relatively big singing role. Jackman, who is not new to musical, has a voice that changes melody beautifully and where emotions can really be felt. Not that I’m telling the others doesn’t have it, because Anne Hathaway too at times has a voice that can move you to tears. The funny – well not really – thing is that I love the singing voice of Russell Crowe. It suits well his character, an egocentric inspector.
I am the law. Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert in Les Miserables.
The production design of the movie is also breath-taking: it has this period look that is very real yet stylized. The movie set decorator, Anna Lynch-Robinsons, says “We’ve tried to keep the reality but then with a slight slant. So that there’s an element of magic and sort of a dream quality.”
Les Misérables was the first film to shoot on the newly-built Richard Attenborough Stage at Pinewood Studios. It is one of the largest stages in Europe and was completed just weeks before filming began!
From the port, to the prostitute’s den, to the barricade. My favorite being the prostitute’s den. Anne Hathaway who plays Fantine said in one of her interview, “You know I remember when the Lovely Lady set, it was just kind of moulded plastics in the shape of bricks. And it became like bricks, if you look at them you would never doubt it.”
I Dreamed a Dream. Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Miserables.
Another good point is that everything is cohesive: the make-up, the hair and the costumes. The whimsical hair-do, make-up and costumes of the Thénardiers, played by the comical duo Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, is the best testament to that judgment. Their presence also adds a little bit of comedy to the very serious film.
Master of the House. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as The Thénardiers in Les Miserables.
Last but certainly not the least, I love seeing familiar faces in the movie. By familiar faces, I mean actors who plays on the stage version of Les Misérables. Colm Wilkinson, Frances Ruffelle and Samantha Barks are not new to Les Mis as they have been actors in the stage version. One of the producers, Debra Heyward, said “It was really important to us to have Colm [Wilkinson] to bring the spirit of the original show to the film.”
Colm Wilkinson played as the original Jean Valjean in the West End stage production. Jackman said in an interview, “One of the great things Colm said to me, he says ‘Hugh, I did not do what was originally written, I made it my own… You have to make this your own. You are Valjean, this is your role… He was unbelievably generous.”
Hooper’s Les Mis is the best musical, on screen, that I’ve seen for many years — make that after Sound of Music. The last song in the movie will make you marching outside the movie theater singing, “Do you hear the people sing!”
Don’t forget to catch Les Miserables tomorrow (January 16) at your favorite SM Cinemas. And I shall end this with a photo shared on Facebook by Dennis T. Sebastian.
Opens tomorrow, January 16, at SM Cinema.
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