les miserables (my initial opinion)

the trailer for a movie version of the musical, Les Miserables has recently been released!

and i just felt like blogging my opinion about it.  🙂

first off – i love les mis.  i love the book, the musical, the story. 

i also love the 1998 movie version:

yes, yes, i know that the movie really only hit the high points of the story and disappointed many of the book and musical fans.  but come on, for a 2-hour version, i thought it was pretty darn good. this movie was actually my first exposure to les mis.  i had heard the title before and knew it was a classic.  i was interested so i convinced my mom to go see it in the theater with me. we both thought it was outstanding. 

i was thereafter inspired to read the book. i checked it out from my local library… and after…4? renewals… i finally finished the full thing. 

and then i saw the musical.  the book has a depth of story and nuances and subplots that are amazing.  but the musical portrays a depth of emotion that can only be communicated through music and song.  it’s incredible.

so on the one hand, i am very excited to see the musical put on film.  both so that many of us who love the musical can enjoy it more frequently, and also so that many who may not be inclined to attend the theater, might be exposed to this great work.

on the other hand… i am NOT very happy about the casting of this latest film.  not happy at all. 

i should confess, i am convinced that Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush as Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, respectively, from the 1998 film were utterly brilliant and that casting simply cannot be topped. 

so not only is the following completely my opinion, but it’s also very biased (well, aren’t all opinions??). 

hugh jackman as vajean:

– yeeeah not ideal.  i think he’s a talented actor and he’ll do the role justice.  but he’s just… not… well, he’s just not liam neeson.  haha!

anne hathaway as fantine. 

while i think that anne hathaway definitely has the skills for the role, and she apparently has a background with classical vocal training, i feel like her choices of roles up to this point simply have not set her up well this role.  something she has over uma thurman (1998 version) is that she’s pretty. in the book, fantine was a beautiful and innocent girl who was taken in by a smooth talking young man who wooed her for a summer and then left her with child. uma thurman turned out a stellar performance, but i just don’t find her pretty at all.  ::shrug::  so i’m curious to see anne hathaway’s portrayal.

russell crowe as javert.

this is the one casting choice that i just can’t see.  nope.  can’t see it.  even though russell crowe hasn’t always played “the good guy” in everything he’s done, his face still looks far too kindly and soft to be the hardened, single-minded, obsessed javert. 

i’m fairly indifferent to amanda seyfried as cosette and eddie redmayne as marius.

probably because i am fairly indifferent to their characters in the musical.  there is an entire subplot with marius in the book that is awesome, but other than that, i find both cosette and marius to be annoying, ignorant and overly swayed by emotion.  meh.

there is one pair of the cast that i am thrilled about: sacha baron cohen and helena bonham carter as the thenardiers.  brilliant.  absolutely brilliant.  you will hate them and love every minute of it. 

another exciting part of this movie is, since it’s based on the musical, it will have the character of Eponine.  even though she’s not a primary character in the story, i always enjoyed the dimension that eponine brought to the story. 

so i will absolutely see this new version in the theaters this december.  however, i’ll be going in a bit skeptical and with low-ish expectations, hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

also?  i think i’ll re-read an abridged version of the book this fall in anticipation…. 

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