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126 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's FINALLY here (so had to wait an extra day due to the snow storm)
Still have tears in my eyes after replaying the Epilogue for the second time (yes, I was a dork and did the Mis March step...). It is RAW, especially Jackman throughout and Hathaway is so heavenly in the final scene (no, it blesses your soul, like God is saying, "You are worthy").

Jackman's voice is very, very, very unique. It will be hard for the Wilkinson...
Published on December 22, 2012 by Mrs Murphree2

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322 of 343 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only highlights--leaves out some great songs
I never imagined that I would write anything less than a glowing review of this album, but I'm afraid I must do just that. I understand that this is a "highlights" album, but how on earth is "Do You Hear the People Sing" not a highlight?

As for the music that is present, it's good, but it's hard for me to hear the songs being "acted" rather than sung. I'm sure...
Published on December 21, 2012 by ChristianChick'sThoughts


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322 of 343 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Only highlights--leaves out some great songs, December 21, 2012
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This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I never imagined that I would write anything less than a glowing review of this album, but I'm afraid I must do just that. I understand that this is a "highlights" album, but how on earth is "Do You Hear the People Sing" not a highlight?

As for the music that is present, it's good, but it's hard for me to hear the songs being "acted" rather than sung. I'm sure this will make for a fantastic film, but it doesn't make for an amazing listening experience. I never expected for Jackman to equal Colm Wilkinson or Crowe to equal Philip Quast, yet I still feel disappointed. (As a sidenote, Eddie Redmayne has exceeded my expectations, Samantha Barks is as wonderful as I hoped, and I was thrilled to hear Wilkinson as the Bishop.)

A highlights album will inevitably leave out someone's favorite song, and I'd recommend you check the track list before deciding to purchase this album to make sure your favorite song is included--I sure wish I'd done that! Surely they'll release a complete cast recording at some point that will make everyone happy. Until then, I'll keep listening to my favorite Les Mis recording, Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert.
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90 of 96 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars for "highlights", December 23, 2012
By 
Adam (Monson, MA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
Quite simply, if you are a fan of LES MIS (the original show or the movie for that matter), this recording is woefully truncated. Even as a "highlights" recording, it's a scant 60 minutes that leaves out another 100 minutes of the film. Worth a few listens, but I hope that a complete recording will be released.
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126 of 154 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's FINALLY here (so had to wait an extra day due to the snow storm), December 22, 2012
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Still have tears in my eyes after replaying the Epilogue for the second time (yes, I was a dork and did the Mis March step...). It is RAW, especially Jackman throughout and Hathaway is so heavenly in the final scene (no, it blesses your soul, like God is saying, "You are worthy").

Jackman's voice is very, very, very unique. It will be hard for the Wilkinson and other Jean Valjean fans to accept his quality, I think. BUT, again I will use the word, RAW! It has an emotion that is real time REAL. It is an adjustment from the recordings we've been listening to for years. But give it its due. And then wait the three days to see the VISUALS!!!!!

Crowe, Baron Cohen, Banks, Seyfried,Bonham Carter are not the Broadway cast. Still they take this musical to the street level, as in, if I were to start singing about my life to Sonoko, the nice lady two houses down. In spite of my usual dislike of Bonham Carter, she spins a new turn, as does Cohen, which is refreshing after 25+ yrs. and let's be honest, a hard thing to do.

Sorry, but I don't think Suddenly adds anything. Personally, I think it was included as a song tailored to Jackman's vocal quality and perhaps to really dispurse any question that he took in Cosette for an honorable reason and he benifits from that generous gesture. Not a great song. Will give Jackman credit for making it sound like the way my son looks when he holds his three month old first child, first daugher. It has a quality of amazement, which is appropriate.

Hummmmmmmmmmmmm, Crowe's Stars is sooo very, very different from other interpretations I've heard, live or recorded. It is more lyrical, small, than any other version. I listened to it struggling to see if it fit the song. Still out on, that waiting on the visuals, but I love that this film seems to take a VERY VERY established piece and breath some new life into it.

The cafe' scene and Red/Black as you would anticipate: young men,it's well done.

In My Life/Heart Full of Love???? Has never been my fav part... Seyfried is reedy, but I know when I just sing lines to people, I don't sound perfect. Banks is breath taking!! And final trio harmony of this song makes me close my eyes and breath deep like I'm smelling an amazing perfume.

On My Own is in my top three for this musical. It has a LONG association with men I've loved and not told. That being said, this is how I would intrepret this song. Best performance of it. And I love me some Miss Lea...

It's worth the money to buy this and I will surely invest in a full length recording (hint, please).

It's the music and lyrics we love, NOT staged in the perfection of a recording studio, but sung outside our front doors. And, no matter what, you know these lyrics, you know these songs, and they are as needed today as they were in '85 when it hit the world. I think there is some poignancy to the timing of the release. It is a time to hear the people sing and hear the distant drum... there has to be change. This IS the epic all the critics predict, it will be the diehard Les Mis fans that could kill it. This is the flash mob Les Mis. Takin' it to the streets which is where it is set.

Four stars because the recording is muddy and low. Had to have my volume cranked about twice the normal level I usually set it at, and it was still quiet and muddy. I am a snob about ending your phrases.

Addendum: Had not listened to "I Dreamed a Dream" totally because I don't really like the song. Finally listened to Miss Hathaway sing it.... no wonder she got the Golden Globe nob. Mindblowing... strains of Castle on a Cloud playing now... what strickes me about this recording is how it makes life a musical... it sounds like people are just extending their normal conversation. That is what a musical's lyric SHOULD do.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME IN ITS OWN WAY, December 27, 2012
By 
L E WILLIS (Salt Lake City, ut United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I've seen the Broadway and I've seen the movie. One isn't better than the other, just different. I was thrilled to see and listen to other interpretations of this great work. As an opera singer, it would be easy for me to linger on vocal imperfections of the movie. It is as stated above, "RAW" or very real. When Jackman sings his first song in the church, I was moved to tears. It is more than singing. I can listen to both the stage and movie versions without comparing, but spend my energy just enjoying and soaking it up. So, if you want a critique, Jackman's voice has a very strong bright edge to it that is very acceptable on the musical stage. Most of the time that edge works for him, however during Bring Him Home,I don't think it does. He tends to bring way too much chest into his high notes for this song which makes it sound like he's working too hard. To his credit, he never flips into falsetto for the high notes like everyone else does. His final three high notes are supported and placed very forward again using the bright edge to his advantage. Crowe was an introverted, driven, psychological methodical character, however the emotion is still there. He was very understated and there was a reason. Freddie Redmayne is excellent as Marius and his acting/singing especially during Empty Chairs is emotional and beautiful. Ann Hathaway brought her role home and nailed it at the end. Not a dry eye anywhere. Important safety tip - do not drive while listening to the last track. I cried all the way home in rush-hour traffic. I guess I should have turned it off then, but it was awesome. They tweaked the end a little, tightened it and every word could be understood. Since the sound track was recorded live while filming, you get the added thrill of all the sound effects, grunts, and gun shots, cannons etc. It was thrilling to hear. I agree that you may want to view the movie first then you would have a great visual when you hear the songs. It was a fantastic movie that I will watch more than any other because there is so much going on. I will enjoy listening to the memories of this soundtrack as well and the new orchestrations. Take a chance and allow yourself to go on a different kind of journey. I found it very emotional, extremely moving and fulfilling. It's great - just different and different is okay!
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where did the music go?, January 7, 2013
This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
As the cover says, this is a highlights album. Many songs are missing. Many of the included are edited. Wait for the full recording or, better yet, buy one of the London cast recordings.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gave me Chills: Like Listening to the Movie, December 27, 2012
This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
I adored the movie - the creative differences were stellar, well planned, and made me understand and respect characters (like Javert).
The military stringency of Crowe's Javert; the pleading and hopeless of Hathaway's Fantine; the bitter fear of Jackman's Valjean, the orchestrations that told the story without a word having to be said - all of it is simply amazing and provides a depth to the characters that seeing the play (in Philadelphia, NYx2, and London) has yet to hold a candle to. The perfect blend of Hollywood capabilities and theatrics is what happened for the movie.

Listening to the Highlights CD gives the same feeling of the movie. While there are certain songs listeners of the Broadway soundtracks will miss "Do You Hear the People Sing", "Thenardier Waltz of Treachery", "Little People" and "Little Fall of Rain" - "Do You Hear the People Sing" IS in the Epilogue. These missing songs also allow for a full soundtrack to be released at a later date.

Simply amazing!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Enough Until Soundtrack is Released, December 29, 2012
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After seeing the movie, I wanted to be able to listen to it on my new Ipod and this $5.00 highlights download will do until the full movie soundtrack is released. While it's disappointing that some of my favorite songs are not here, but if they put them all on, no one would need to buy the full soundtrack! Initially, I was disappointed in Crowe's performance as Javert having seen the musical live several times. But, after reflecting on the way he portrayed Javert and the way he sings "Stars" and Javert's suicide soliloquy, I think he was deliberately trying to portray Javert in a more understated quietly obsessed way. He's not a great singer, he reminds me of Gerard Butler as the "Phantom", but he's not a horrible singer as some claim and he does brings us a different type of Javert. While I think Jackman did a nice job in the film, like others have said, it doesn't translate as well on a music cd where you can't see his acting. I wish they would have lowered Valjean's numbers a half to whole step. Jackman's range isn't quite what it needs to be to sing Valjean in the keys traditionally used. The strain is very clear in his voice on several of the songs that require him to hit high notes like on "Bring Him Home". I am admittedly not a fan of Hathaway as an actress and didn't expect to be blown away. I wasn't, but I did enjoy "I Dreamed a Dream" in the movie although listening to it again on this highlights recording I do think she could have cried a little less and it still would have carried sufficient emotion. Barks, I remember from "I'll Do Anything" on BBCA. I thought she was overrated on that reality show, but I think she does a wonderful job with "On My Own" and especially in the numbers with Cosette and Marius although her gloriously emotional "Little Fall of Rain" is disappointingly one of the numbers not on this highlights cd. Sidenote, I am thankful we weren't subjected to Taylor Swift or Lea Michele in the role of Eponine. Seyfried, while doing what she could with the boring role of Cosette, just doesn't have the vocal chops needed to sing Cosette. Her voice is thin and her vibrato uncontrolled. The standouts for me were Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit. The movie really came alive when the band of rebels came along. I could listen to them both sing all day long, and I admit I've been listening to Red and Black and Empty Chairs over and over on this recording. I know Jackman and Hathaway are getting all the Globes and Oscar attention, but Redmayne and Tveit along with Barks should be the award nominees in my opinion!
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34 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feelings, December 24, 2012
This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
It's obvious that Les Miserables is doing a whole new take on movie musicals. This movie is going for realism and grittiness, not pretty singing and perfect pitch. And I'm fine with that. However, this grittier style doesn't really transfer well onto the highlights CD.

The highlights CD lacks some numbers: "Lovely Ladies", "Come to Me", "A Little Fall of Rain", etc. It's disappointing to see those numbers go, but it's as to be expected since most Les Mis highlights CD rarely incldue those songs anyway. However, I don't understand why "Do You Hear the People Sing?" was cut seeing as it's one of the biggest songs in the entire show. And for some reason, "The Bishop" makes it onto this CD, even though I don't view it as one of the major songs of the movie, so I don't know how this song made it onto the CD and DYHTPS didn't. Don't get me wrong, Colm Wilkinson's great as the bishop, I just don't understand why this is a song on the CD and other songs didn't make it on here.

The tracks on this CD are straight from the movie. Unfortunately, this doesn't really work well. I wish they'd just done a polished studio recording and released that instead. Because without the visuals of the movie, this CD does not work at all.

First of all, the sound mixing isn't very good. All the background noises (rain, various bumps and bangs and noises, etc.) seem obnoxiously loud and really detract from the music itself. If they'd at least had the time to mix the sound better and muffle the background noise, maybe the CD would have been a tad better.

My thoughts on the singers/actors:

HUGH JACKMAN (Valjean): I have mixed feelings for him. On one hand, he's not a bad singer. But on this recording, he just doesn't sound good. It's like he put more effort into his acting than his singing. In a movie musical, there needs to be more of a balance. His voice sounds very shrill and nasally at some points and he seems to speak-sing...a lot. I'm sure it's one of those things that will work out much better on screen, but for now, it just seems like an overuse of speak-singing. However, he's not the worst of the cast, so for now, he's just "okay."

RUSSELL CROWE (Javert): Definitely the weakest singer of the whole cast. I'm hoping his acting is good in the movie, because his voice is definitely not. He's not painfully terrible, but by no means is he good. He has no rhythym in his singing. Everything just seems to be staccato and he never holds out any of his notes. His voice has a flat noise and it sounds like he's singing in the back of his throat. As Javert, he lacks any vocal power.

ANNE HATHAWAY (Fantine): She was a big surprise for me, when the first trailer came out, as I was expecting her to be the weakest of the cast. She's definitely not. Her "I Dreamed a Dream" is frail and fragile, as it should be, given the context, but there's also a hint of vocal power behind it. Unfortunately, we don't get to hear much of her, since she gets one solo and a few mini-solos in "At the End of the Day." I do wish she had cried a little less, though.

SACHA BARON COHEN and HELENA BONHAM CARTER (Thenardier and Madame Thenardier): Neither of them are the best singers on the album, and that's fine, because this isn't a role that requires amazing vocal skills. They sound rather quiet in their big number "Master of the House", but, again, it's one of those things that might transfer better on screen. Overall, both are fine as the Thenardiers, though I wish Baron Cohen hadn't put on such a fake, cheesy-sounding accent.

AMANDA SEYFRIED (Cosette): Definitely the weakest female vocalist. She honestly makes me glad Cosette doesn't have a bigger role. At first, I thought the light, ariy tone to her voice would be perfect for Cosette (a nice change from the usually very-operatic sounding Cosettes.) Unfortunately, Seyfried has a very shrill voice and terrible vibrata.

EDDIE REDMAYNE (Marius): Probably the strongest male singer, along with Aaron Tveit. He has a very strong voice and he acted the heck out of "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" with his voice alone.

SAMANTHA BARKS (Eponine): She's the strongest female singer, which doesn't come as a surprise, since she's a musical theatre actress, is used to singing live, and has played the role of Eponine before. Her "On My Own" is beautifully done. It's not belted, but I like that, because sometimes, a belted "On My Own" gets annoying. Her take on the song is quiet, reflective, and her voice sounds beautiful.

AARON TVEIT (Enjolras): Another strong singer in the group and one that's been painfully overlooked. He may not have the typical powerhouse voice that people may be expecting from Enjolras, but still, he has a very good voice and really has a commanding prescence in "Red and Black."

ENSEMBLE: The ensemble is a nice surprise here. As many of the ensemble members have been in Les Mis before, it's no surprise to find that they're all very strong singers and they're a lot of fun to listen to. They're probably one of the best parts of the recording.

Overall, this is an okay recording of Les Mis. But taking the songs directly from the movie doesn't work well on this CD and many of the singers are less than stellar (here's hoping their acting makes up for it!) Not a recommended recording.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Semi-disappointing, January 4, 2013
I have no problem with the songs being as they are in the movie (it is a motion picture musical soundtrack, after all). I knew before I made my purchase that it was a highlights album. Still, I didn't realize "Look Down" wouldn't start from the beginning. I'm also very disappointed that "Do You Hear the People Sing" didn't make it. I'm looking forward to an actual soundtrack release with all of the songs, in full version, as well as background music.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Listened to the album once, never again, December 22, 2012
By 
Andrea (le roy, il, United States) - See all my reviews
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First off, I am reviewing the soundtrack, not the movie. As a soundtrack, the director's decision to record the vocals on the set doesn't work for me as a soundtrack. It may work perfectly fine in the movie and some early reviews suggest it does, but I find the sound effects in some of the scenes interfering with the songs. And the sobbing Fantine and dying Valjean sound odd worked into their numbers. Again might strike the perfect note in the film, but as music it doesn't work for me. At times it also seems that the music that was later recorded to go with the vocals doesn't sync up quite right or doesn't have the correct tone with what the actor's voice is doing. For me, it really isn't until track 11, that most of the songs really start to improve.

There are some decisions that seem curious to me. Jackman has done theater for years, the man can sing. But it's either the arrangements or the key they had him sing in, too many of the songs seem flat or strained to me. "Bring him Home" should be a big emotional number, but it sounds like Hugh is trying to bellow it out. Obviously other actors Colm Wilkinson (*fangirl gush*) have played Valjean and had success, I think the vocals should have been better adapted to what Jackman can do.
And Crowe isn't good, there's no way around it. Javert's solo songs are two of the strongest numbers and really portray who the man thinks he and Valjean are. Javert and Valjean's songs together should be strong, emotional back and forths between the actors. But Crowe's singing just isn't up to snuff.

Some of the soundtrack is fine, not comparable to past albums, but when Eponine and Marius meet is when the soundtrack pulls together for some numbers. If you want to a little different take on the Les Mis music, go ahead and try it out. I'd recommend listening to the soundtrack on MOG or Spotify first before deciding to buy though. Some reviewers like the album, I am not one of them.
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