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A song of angry men - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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A song of angry men
Saw Les Mis today.  Was intended to be a family outing, but mother and niece both too upset by Fantine to continue, which was a shame.   I've seen suggestions it doesn't work well as a film.  It's certainly true that many of the pacing problems of the original have survived despite a re-ordering of some of songs around "One Day More" that I actually regard as an improvement on the original order.  (I was briefly scared they'd cut "Do you hear the people sing", but moving it to straight after "One Day More" actually lessens some of the feeling of anti-climax I normally get after that.)

However, as a film of a musical, it's pretty perfect.  Lovely costumes and set dressing, and most of the actors were fantastic, although both Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman lack the gravitas for Javert and Valjean, and neither of them are particularly strong singers.   (Jackman does however manager a couple of nice emotional moments>) Amanda Siegfried and Mr Cheekbones-for-cutting-glass (mmm) actually made me give a slight shit about Cosette and Marius, which was handy as the above casting had robbed the Valjean/Javert arc of some of its power.  Anne Hathaway chews the scenery beautifully as Fantine, the children actively failed to be annoying, Eponine was a inoffensive to good, and Sasha Baren Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were fantastically campy as the Thenardiers.

The big gimmick they've been pushing with this film is that the songs were recorded live on set and thus acted.  While it does afford a more natural flow and greater dynamics of expression, I can't say it made that much of a difference to the finished product.  Consider that Moulin Rouge employed many similar techniques while still using pre-recorded singing, and it's not clear that all that much is gained.  I don't think it will convert anyone who is unconvinced by Les Mis, but if you already enjoy the show, it's definitely worth a watch, even if I did keep wanting Philip Quast back.
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