So! It was fantastic, it was glorious, I loved it, but alas, it was as I feared; the movie just couldn't hold up to seeing it live onstage. I'm a theatre nerd and always will be, so while as a movie it was fantastic, from a Les Mis fan point of view it wasn't the same.
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1. Hugh Jackman. He was amazing. I didn't even know he could sing (although we have since rented the 1999 Oklahoma! with him as Curly, and I'll say it as often as possible: Wow) before the cast was announced for this movie, so I didn't have any particular expectations, but holy smokes.
2. Hadley Fraser. He had more screen time than I was expecting, but unfortunately that rather ginormous mustache kept me from recognizing him right away. He had something like three minutes of screen time and still poured in more emotion than some of the others did in the entire movie.
3. Colm Wilkinson. Enough said.
4. After the barricade, when all the dead were laid out, Javert pinning his medal onto Gavroche. I didn't even have time to recover from Enjolras falling dead out of the window before I stared sobbing again. That was a nice touch.
5. Samantha Barks. Not only is she spectacular on her own (tee hee), but they went and added in some bits from the book that aren't in the musical, which fleshed out Eponine even more. Perfect.
6. Enjolras. Not Aaron Tveit, necessarily, although he was great. Enjolras is just always going to be my favourite character, and the movie totally did him justice, methinks.
7. Eddie Redmayne. Normally, I'm not wild about Marius, but Eddie Redmayne made him very likable. Although I have to say in the scene near the end when Valjean is explaining why he has to leave, Marius keeps smiling longer than is appropriate. Dude, serious face while Valjean is talking.
8. Speaking of Marius, he punched Thénardier at the end. I cheered.
9. Did I mention Hugh Jackman? I saw the interviews with him talking about not eating or drinking for 36 hours before shooting the opening scene, so he would look more or less like a corpse. It worked. Way to take one for the team, Hugh. And by "the team," I mean everyone who's ever loved Les Mis.
What didn't I like?
1. They moved the song order around. Gah. That didn't make the movie more interesting/mysterious; it made me more cranky.
2. Okay, I'll say it. Russell Crowe. I don't dislike him quite so fiercely as so many others in the Les Mis fandom do, but I'm a long way from liking him as Javert.
3. The Thénardiers had far too much screen time. What were they doing in the inn during "One Day More?" Just, no.
4. There was a long pause in the singing after "Do You Hear the People Sing" while they were building the barricade and speaking all their lines. When Javert finally burst out with "I can find out the truth!" in song, it was both a shock and a relief. For a movie that was panned by so many for being entirely in song, that was much too long of a gap.
5. Heaven looks suspiciously like 19th-century France.
Are you a Les Mis fan? Did you like the movie?