Entertainment :: Movies

Les Misérables

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Friday Mar 22, 2013
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The love it or hate it film adaption of the phenomenally successful stage musical lands on Blu-ray and I gotta say, I was not a fan of "Les Miserables" in the theatre. The live singing bugged me and the cinematography didn’t seem to fit the epic story. I still don’t like the live singing. (The music is supposed to represent the outward emotions, not blubbering sobs that turn beautiful music ugly. Imagine if Adelle boo-hooed throughout "Someone Like You" every time she sang it. Ugh.) But... the film does seem to work better on the smaller screen and you get the added bonus of being able to press ’pause’ and go cheer yourself up for a few hours before returning to the misery that is Victor Hugo’s story.

The film even looks better on the smaller screen - crisper images and for some reason, not as muddy. So for those skeptical or who didn’t like it on the big screen, it MIGHT be worth taking a second look. The special features are fairly interesting as well, although they tend to be filled with earnest declarations from the actors and a lot of back-patting.

The Bonus Features include a Behind the Scenes look at the film which includes seven mini-featurettes:

Those features exclusive to the Blu-ray are:

  • "’Les Miserables’" Singing Live - which describes how the cast and crew technically achieved the process of filming live songs and the machinations that made it work. While it’s nice to see how the process came about, you might be able to poke holes into their thinking about why this should be the only way to film musicals in the future.
  • "Battle at the Baricade" - a look at how the cast and crew built the barricade in real time. Interesting for future filmmakers and a more light-hearted look at the production.
  • "The West End Connection" - a nicely nostalgic look at the previous stars of the stage versions of the show and where they appear in the movie itself.
  • "’Les Miserables’ - On Location" - a tourist’s guide of the different real world locations used in the film.

    On both the Blu-ray and DVD:

  • "The Stars of "’Les Miserables’" - Director Tom Hooper talks about the casting process with interviews with the stars of the film and what being a part of the movie meant to them. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway take center stage here, but it is fairly interesting to hear what they say about being a part of such a wildly popular musical.
  • "Creating the Perfect Paris" - a look at the production design with designer Eve Stewart and how the streets of Paris were actually achieved.
  • "The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo’s ’Les Miserables’" -the life of the author and the inspirations for his classic novel are profiled.

    The disc also included a Feature Commentary by Tom Hooper that is quite dry and humorless, but gives some insight into what went into making the film.

    All in all, if you loved the movie it is clearly a must-have. For those unsure, it’s a toss-up. Thankfully, if you’re a film lover the special features are a nice bit of history since this was a groundbreaking way to film a musical.

    "Les Miserables"
    Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Ultraviolet Combo Pack
    $34.98

  • Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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