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Discussion Post: Les Misérables

Discussion Post: Les Misérables

Discussion Thursday

Movie/Book/Musical: Les Misérables

 

Les-Miserables Book

 

 

Title: Les Misérables

Author: Victor Hugo

Synopsis: In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after he breaks parole, agrees to care for factory worker Fantine’s daughter, Cosette. The fateful decision changes their lives forever.

 

There have been many many adaptations of this book.  There’s the Broadway Musical, the 1998 Movie, and now the movie based on the Musical.  The story evokes many emotions, and everyone has their favorite rendition of how the story is told.  My actual first introduction to the story was the 1998 Movie Version with Liam Neeson as Valjean.

Les_Misérables_(1998_film)_poster

 

Before I get the OMG how could you like that you Heathen! Despite the fact I’m sure true fans of the book and musical can give me a couple hundred reasons why this version sucked, I will argue – it introduced the story to a new audience.  Not everyone has sat down to read the 1488 pgs.  I love to read and even that number makes the book daunting.  And not everyone has seen the Musical.

 

The most famous and well known adaptation is the Musical.  The first English Performance was in England in 1985 and as they say the rest is history.  The Musical as become a huge success and a theatre classic.

Les Mis

 

I have never seen the Theatre Production.  Once again before I get the OMG Heathen how could not have seen this!!!! Well there are a few reasons: Anytime it arrived into LA it was sold out before you could blink, and I really didn’t have the few hundred dollars for the back row tickets.  Second reason – I’m not a musical fan.  There I admit it, not a fan of musicals.   Sitting through a musical throws me off… I like to listen to the music and songs and hear what they are saying not being shown what they are saying.

 

Now the latest version is a movie based on the Musical Theatre Production.  Yeah get your head around that one.  It caught my attention quickly because hello Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman.

Les Mis - Poster

 

Now I’ve heard the reviews and read the critics ranging from this was the best thing since slice bread to the bitch rants on the fact Jackman and Crowe don’t have good enough singing voices for the roles.  Now I’m not a musical fan but even I can tell you there is a difference between Broadway Actors and Hollywood Actors.  Getting someone who can belt out Stars and I Dream a Dream on Broadway is totally different then finding an actor/actress who can act on film and sing.

 

Now what makes something like Les Misérables interesting for Sylum is the fact there are multiple versions of the same storyline.  Finding and creating a backstory to make it fit the original storyline and Sylum can get creative.  The characters Valjean and Javert have been in Sylum for a while, but recently were changed to fit the new movie version.  Why you ask? Because it actually fit Sylum Storyline better than the original images/actors.  That and hello Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe :D.

 

So the questions I’m tossing out for the discussion are these.  Which is your favorite version? Book? Movie? Broadway Musical? Movie based on Broadway Musical? Another one I haven’t seen or heard of?  Do you like the variety of versions? Or hate it?  If your a fan of the Musical which song speaks to you the most?  Which character do you feel for?

As for Sylum – are you looking forward to seeing how these men will play in a modern world?  Curious on how they do get together?  Or you just looking at Bob going – dude wtf?
It’s Thursday – so lets discuss!!!

 

Hugh and Crowe

6 Comments

  1. Sparrow

    I will start out by admitting that I have not seen the version with Liam Neeson so I can’t speak to that one at all.

    I’ve seen the stage version on Broadway and found it thoroughly fascinating. To me it was interesting to see how they did the stages of these big sweeping scenes in what amounts to such little space. The barricade scenes were amazing on stage.

    So I went into the new movie version based off the Broadway musical with pre-knowledge (Mom came with me but hadn’t seen any version previously) and wasn’t disappointed. I would say that in some respects they are very similar and some of the staging of the movie even mirrored that of the stage version which I was kind of happy to see. I really liked the stage version and the movie was the closest I could and would probably come to seeing it again so I would say that I am partial to those two.

    Also, the song I Dreamed a Dream is one that fits my own vocal range quite nicely and I would often use it as an audition piece. It is a hard-ass song to sing so I can totally appreciate anyone who can pull it off at all on any level.

  2. Julia (Daniel Jackson)

    I’m still not sure on what the best way to get into Les Miserables is. I saw the musical a year ago in London as one of my favoiurite westend stars was performing in the show and got blown away. Wanting to fill in the gaps in the story I then went away and read the book which I did not enjoy so much mainly due to Hugo’s many deviations away from the plot.
    The film I looked forward to with great excitement as some of it was filmed at Boughton House where I work as a tour guide and I was fortunate enough to be taking a tour round the day before filming started therefore getting a look at the set. I enjoyed the film, whilst many of the singers were not as good as I would expect from a stage version they worked in terms of the film.
    Will find it interesting to see how you work some/any of the characters into the Sylum universe.

    Julia
    Daniel Jackson
    Yep I am still alive.

  3. Methos

    Okay…I have to say that I haven’t read the book (I love books, but over 1400 pages…not happening) and I really don’t like musicals, so….haven’t seen that, either. I will likely watch this newest version, however, because…Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe. (no other reason should be needed.)

  4. Bob 2

    I could quite seriously write an entire dissertation on this book/film/musical! But I won’t because it’ll be boring.

    I’ve never seen a bad interpretation of it and I’ve seen it on stage and screen now several times over in several different ways.

    None of it is easy, simple, or straightforward, from the depth of the characters and their psychology, to the intricacies of the songs they sing, their motivations, meaning and symbolism for society and it’s wrongs.

    Victor Hugo however, is massively depressing and it takes a particular moment in time to want to deliberately read him. Doing it in chunks is the best way.

    I think this whole story though has lasted as long as it has because it appeals on a thoroughly emotional level. At some point in your life you can relate to each and every one of the characters, big and small, in some way or another, for whatever reason you’re going through at the time.

    As much as the non-musical movie version was excellently done, I do admit on a very shallow view, that I had trouble seeing Jeffrey Rush’s Javert with Liam Neeson’s Valjean. Jeffrey Rush is a great actor and a nice man who cleans up good but he’s not exactly the most attractive creature in Sylum Clan. Sorry, dude. My bad on that.

    This new version of the musical though was interesting not just because, hello!Russell and Hugh, but because of how it was made. It’s come under some criticism and though I’m pretty damn sure we’ll see musicals made that way again, it was an unusual perspective, more painful somehow because the singing was done in a much more ‘raw’ way. It brought out the passions of it more closely, rather than on a belting, ‘you have to make sure everyone in the theater can hear you’ kinda way.

    Critics of Russell Crowe however, should shut the hell up and listen to him sing ‘Stars’ with nothing but a mic and a piano. It’s much more better than the one in the movie, as I’m starting to think it was the insertion of the 70+ piece orchestra in certain songs, that rather rudely overshadowed the moment so to speak.

    Okay I’m gonna shut up now. These guys are coming to Sylum and already making an appearance to a certain extent in 2 of the Advent fics recently posted. *blows own trumpet unashamedly*

    More is coming.

    Guaranteed.

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