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Customer Review

12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This movie will revolutionize how musicals are made, December 21, 2012
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This review is from: Les Miserables: Highlights from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (Audio CD)
If you haven't seen the youtube video on how this movie was made, please do so. [...]. The weak spot is, as predicted, Russell Crowe. But he gives a passable performance. A little weak in "Look Down", but does an acceptable job in "Confrontation" and "Stars". Sadly, he's down again in "Javert's Suicide". Samantha Barks is fantastic in "On My Own". Hugh Jackman is terrific and Anne Hathaway gives the performance of her life. Most of the rest of the cast is great as well.

Now, is this as good as "The Complete Symphonic Recording", which is my favorite of the Broadway/London musical CDs? No. But, a) it's just a highlights disc, and b) it still sounds odd to my ear to hear the songs "acted". I'm sure I'll change my mind about that once I see it on screen, but for now I'm having difficulty at times getting over my view of what a given song "should" sound like. This is particularly true with Jackman, who does the best overall job of interpreting the music, but doesn't sound at all like what you've heard for the last 25 years on stage. It's also true with Crowe. As I keep saying, Crowe does a passable job, but he's not the quality of singer that you have heard on various other Les Mis CDs. He's not a bad singer, he just has a very limited range, and the part demands a singer with a better one.

EDIT: Having now seen the film, I can perhaps judge better what a full soundtrack will be like. I actually think that the songs on the Highlights disc reveal some of Crowe's weaker performances. He does a bit better in some of the songs that didn't make the disc. And, Anne Hathaway is absolutely brilliant. But it shows just how much you need to experience the visuals to enjoy the movie performances. I loved I Dreamed a Dream when I heard it on the CD. I was amazed when I saw it on screen and heard it in the movie theater. That's where Hollywood and Broadway are so very different. I can listen to my Complete Symphonic Recording over and over and not need to keep the images of the show in my head. I don't think that's possible with this disc. I do have an additional criticism of Jackman, though. I think he slips into a falsetto fairly often where it's not necessary. He'd be better off dropping an octave and doing it in his normal voice. Where he does that, he's terrific. When he goes higher, not so good.

Others have criticized these renditions as not being as good as what you hear on Broadway or London. Well, you have to understand what you're getting. Most of these are not Broadway singers. They're Hollywood actors who are singing. And the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals is long since over. If they could sing as good as a Broadway singer, they'd be doing it on Broadway. If you're expecting a London type performance from this, you're going to be disappointed. Go listen to a London CD or go see it in the theater in London. This is a film experience, not a stage musical. Yes, it has some weaknesses because of that, but it also has it's share of strengths.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 22, 2012 1:00:52 PM PST
C. Sung says:
I honestly don't understand how you can enjoy Jackman's performance. "Bring Him Home" is the "best overall job of interpreting the music"?? Really? Yes, it doesn't sound at all like what we've heard for the past 25 years.. because they've been doing a great job the last 25 years. As they say, don't fix what's not broken.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 10:36:26 PM PST
JB - A Guy says:
Some of the notes were barely on pitch in this cast. Absolutely no comparison to any of the stage performances I've seen (a lot) or the recordings. I think this works in the film because these are pretty good screen actors. But musically ... ugh.
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