Monday, January 14, 2013

Les Miserables

Les Miserables: I suspect I might step on some toes here, but let me officially go on record as saying, 'meh'.

Having heard about this musical for years, I was expecting more.  Granted I have never seen the Broadway version [1] but I was moderately intrigued.  I had heard snippets of songs and such from various outlets. [2]  So, I had a small amount of preset expectations.

They weren't really met.

I'm led to believe that the movie version tried to make the singing more like acting and less like singing, [3] but whatever it it they were shooting for, it didn't thrill me.

For instance, I always imagined the "I'm Jean Valjean" song as being very emphatic at the end.  Sort of an "I'M JEAN VALJEAN!!!!!!!!!!!! and if the rest of the world doesn't like it, they can bite me!" vibe.  But when I saw it in the movie it was more like, "Say, does anyone know my name?  Oh yeah, that's right.  I'm [mumbles]."

Also sorry Russell, but stick to Roman warriors and crazy scientist.

In truth, at one point I thought to myself, "You know, I could fall asleep right now if they would just stop singing."   Okay it wasn't that bad, but I did find myself a bit bored at times.

I think part of the problem was that the scope of time covered caused them to go a pretty quick pace through the plot.  Thus everything felt way too full of emotions that were not yet warranted.  I'll see if I can capture the idea in a quick scene:

Bob and Carl walk down the street. [4]  They see someone on the other side of the road.

Bob: Who is that over there?  I don't think I have ever seen that person before in my entire life.
Carl: Me neither.  But I love her forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Bob: I think it's a dude.
Carl: I hate him forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, that kind of captures it.

With out really giving away anything that might happen in a musical entitled, "The Miserable", one of the characters commits suicide.  When that was happening, I was a bit perplexed.  From what I could tell the character seemed to have a pretty good life, except that every few years he would bump into one of the other characters.  Suicide seemed a trifle bit of an over-reaction.

I understand that I've completely misinterpreted the relationship between the two, but that's sort of my point.  It wasn't really developed.  Everything in the musical happened so fast, with no real build up.

You have a job.
You're fired.
You're a prostitute with no teeth or hair.

Say what?

Also, now that I'm thinking about it, in that scene I made up, I should have actually called Carl by the name Marius.  I don't think there has ever been a more mercurial character in a movie.

I'm ready to die for the revolution.
Ooh! A pretty girl.  Forget that, I'm in love.
Wait, give me a gun, let's fight!
My love is true forever!
To the barricade!

He was like an otter spying a succession of shiny objects.  I don't envy Cosette trying to keep him faithful. [5]

I could write more about this and that, but I'll let it go.  Let me just finish by saying that I hope Russel and Hugh hit puberty soon.

Les Miserables: C-

[1] - Neither live or otherwise.
[2] - The radio, the Internet, the Pook.
[3] - Or some sort of nonsense like that.
[4] - I swear I picked those names at random.  Any relevance to janitors, sci-fi or otherwise, is purely coincidental.
[5] - Or alive.

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