I like Les Misérables. I guess it’s the closest you’ll get to a manly musical. It’s all about violence and loyalty and extolls the Revolutionary values of liberté, égalité and fraternité. Anyone who doesn’t leave the theatre after watching without feeling the rousing desire to storm something is someone not worth thinking about. It is safe to say that I was excited about the film version. On paper, it sounded fantastic. A great cast of actors (and Amanda Seyfried) all of whom are known to be competent singers (and Russell Crowe). However, it ended up being slightly disappointing. Thanks to director Tom Hooper who is a director quite keen to stand out from the crowd and point out how clever he’s being. Who can forget the story about The King’s Speech when he delighted in shoving a camera in Colin Firth’s face on the first day of filming to capture his real-life nervousness? At least that had a purpose. The only reason for the awful use of close-up here is to continually point out how clever he was in recording the vocals live on set. It just ends up looking dodgy though.
Take the ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ scene. If you can take your eyes off Anne Hathaway’s outrageous faces you may notice the shoddy camera work on display. So something that was supposed to show the skill of the director and his cast just looks very lazy and badly put together. Heightened thanks to the CGI which, if you ask me, just looks too computerised and fake (this may sound odd but this kind of technology is getting so good that this just feels like this has taken us a few steps backwards). Then we have the all-important singing which is patchy. Even great singers like Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway end up seeming like they belong on the opening rounds of Britain’s Got Talent or something. Russell Crowe was surprisingly good in places but, for the most part, he wasn’t great. Unfortunately, there’s something of a lack of melody and tune about his performance. Oh and the less said about Amanda Seyfried’s screechy warbling the better.
It was maybe because of my disappointment that I found I was lacking inspiration when it came to writing about it. I saw it over a week ago and couldn’t bring myself to waste time thinking about it. To combat this I’ve done something a little different. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I hope you’ll forgive me.
(To the tune of ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’ from Les Misérables)
Do you hear the actors sing?
Singing the songs live on the set?
It is a feature that seems clever
But it doesn’t quite work out!
When the music is sung live
Actors will often miss their notes.
Even the best can sound quite shit
When the music’s live!
Like the legend Hugh Jackman
Who can sound weak but still does great.
Russell Crowe is better
Than critics had led to believe
He did pretty well
In his solos he beat Miss Seyfried!
Can you see the actors sing?
Singing with cameras in their face?
It is a technique that I don’t like
Cause it’s quite uncomfortable.
I don’t want to see dear Anne
Hamming her way through that key song
There’s a desire to overact
When you film close-up!
But there are some shining lights
Thanks to the student rebel group.
Éponine and Marius,
Enjolras and young Gavroche
All really stand out here
And make up for some weaker ones!
You should see the actors sing
Because despite all of the flaws.
It will bring out your rebel spirit
And you’ll want to join the cause!
If you’re like me you will blub
And you will feel your heart grow warm
The normal rules do not apply
When you watch Les Mis!