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Monday, 21 January 2013

FOR THE WRETCHED OF THE EARTH

hugh jackman les miserables
DON'T YOU JUST LOVE HOW HUGH JACKMAN THROWS HIS HIP TO THE RIGHT AND LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER, AS THOUGH WONDERING WHETHER WE LIKE HIS BACKSIDE?

WE DO.
hugh jackman les miserables
OF COURSE WE LOVE HIS FRONT BITS JUST AS MUCH,
IF NOT MORE.



I would so do Hugh Jackman. And as a living, breathing carnivore, can you blame me? The man has more beef than Tesco's. That alone is enough reason for any self-respecting homosexual to brave the epic 3 hours it takes for this film to take its course. Even more so when Hugh Jackman starts to sing, "Look down! Look down!" Sir, yes, sir!

That having been said, I was disappointed by the film.

Before I get stoned to death, hear me out.

Yes, Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean gets drenched with water in the opening scene and we see him power lifting a thick pole amongst equally muscular inmates, etc. So honestly, within the first few minutes, I felt like I already got my money's worth. But Russel Crowe as Javert is just a buzzkill! First of all, Crowe looks more like an aging accountant than a menacing law enforcer. Do the filmmakers honestly expect me to suspend disbelief that this squat figure wearing a funny hat is enough of a threat to someone as physically imposing as Jackmantasy? And even though I'm familiar with the book and the musical, the film, as a visual medium, should rightfully be able to stand on its own. Every time I see Crowe and Jackmantasy together, I wanna weep, giggle and gag - all at the same time. The multi-layered conflict (moral, spiritual, legal, blah blah blah) between Crow's Javert and Jackmantasy's Valjean is at the crux of Les Miserables. It's so important, they sang lots of songs about it!

And then Crowe starts to "sing." I wonder - did he do animal exercises when he was getting into his role? I could just imagine him and his beautiful mind, in rehearsal mode: "I am Javert. Javert is a watchful bird. Javert is a... a... Crowe?! A crow!!! Caw caw caw!"   

Anne Hathaway as Fantine is gorgeous even with a patchy head and a bleeding mouth. But I found it difficult to get past the obtrusive make-up. It was flat-out clownish - and this is way before "Master of the House." I appreciate the need for grit, but must everything be so overstated whilst the singing is all so... understated? Underwhelming! At this point, I question whether this is still Les Miserables or Waiting for Godot... Is there any salvation for the wretched of the earth, i.e. the poor Les Miz nerds like myself who are trapped into waiting, waiting for this movie to get better?

Amanda Seyfried as Cosette trills thinly through "A Heart Full of Love;" Samantha Barks as Eponine shockingly lacks the awareness to turn her face towards the camera during key passages in "On My Own;" Freddie Redmayne's (Marius) chin vibrates alarmingly throughout "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables," leaving me scared that his jaw might fly out of the screen and into the audience. The filmmakers might as well have cast Nick Jonas in all the roles!

The only saving grace of this film is Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop of Digne, who needs to do nothing more than be onscreen for me to start cheering, weeping, hugging myself, etc. Wilkinson's passion, certitude and quiet grace only served to highlight the shortcomings of the celebrity cast, and how unnecessarily busy the entire film was. Honestly, did we really need each shot to pan out vertically and into the stratosphere?? Is this Les Miz or X-Men?

Hugh Jackman should have just been shirtless the entire time.






  

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