I want to share this with you. It's the Nostalgia Critic's review of the recent film version of the Les Miserables musical. I want to talk about this because I've noticed a trend lately. [[WARNING: contains Adult Language, horrible singing, and a minor but still unfair jab at Jar Jar]]
Meet me after the page break.
So the review is Critic, Paw (who I only know from the anniversary specials), and another reviewer who I've only seen in cameos and whose name I forget; I think it's Kyle something-or-other, although in my head he was "Crankypants McNeckbeard" since that seemed to be the role he was filling. Okay, I've never met the man so that might be unfair. But in this review he represented everything I hate about the way film is studied. That super-elitist attitude that a film has to be bad it if doesn't subscribe to exactly what was taught in school. He even launches into a number about how cinematography is like super-important, you guys! - without explaining why the choices made in the film are "bad" beyond the fact that he just doesn't like them. He did have one redeeming moment when he halfheartedly defended Russel Crowe to a point, but more on that later.
I felt parts of their criticism of the film was unfair, and the parts that were fair were mainly problems with the source material going back to the original novel, and since the story has survived so long in spite of all that it's not really a big deal (though, yeah, I'm getting kind of sick of three-day romances). I also love how all of them seem to think they can sing better than the actors in the film when no, no you can't guys. Sorry (or maybe that was the joke?).
So why did I want to share this with you guys? Because of the ending. Nostalgia Critic has been on a real kick lately of no matter how much he dislikes something or disagrees with the choices, he's been ending reviews with a similar message: Everything's flawed, assumptions and expectations skew things and are often wrong, and why let some punk internet reviewer like him dictate what you should or should not like?
I like that. I like that a lot. It shows he's really come a long way since he started all this, and it's one of the reasons I still loyally watch him, even if I disagree with his assessments (Also FOR #@$&'S SAKE, LEAVE LUCASFILM ALONE ALREADY!!!!)
As for my thoughts on the film itself? I had been looking forward to seeing the movie since I had played Thenardier in a non-musical version with my youth theatre troupe, and I was anxious to see the musical and find out what people had been raving about. However, nobody wanted to go with me so I couldn't make it. I got it on DVD a few months back and had resigned myself to waiting for it's Anniversary Review in a decade. However, this review made me want to give you my thoughts on it now.
Honestly, I loved it. It has its issues, many of the same from the review, but as I said most of that is the source material.
The Cinematography? I thought it was awesome. It fit what it was trying to be, made for this very surreal atmosphere. I see no problem with it, though I understand why it might not be everyone's cup of tea (doesn't make it "bad" though).
Russel Crowe as Javert...He wasn't my favorite in this, but it had nothing to do with his singing. I LOVED Russel Crowe's singing in this. It was pleasant, melodic, I totally wasn't expecting him to sound that good given the poor rap his band gets. Russel Crowe's voice was spot on. It just seems so obvious to me that this is a case of misappropriation when people criticize the performance. Clearly Crowe's voice isn't the problem here...it's his face that's the problem. It's the fact that in a film where everyone wears their emotions on their sleeves to the point that I can see Anne Hathaway's Boogers of Anguish (tm), Russel Crowe only has one face: basset hound. That's it. Whether he's angry, shocked, obsessive, or suicidal, his face can't manage more than "slightly depressed puppy." I guarentee you that if Russel Crowe sang exactly the same way but just emoted more, people would be much kinder to his performance. As it is, despite his lack of visible emotion, Crowe's voice made up for it to me enough that I could still enjoy him well enough and he hardly brings the film down.
And as a former Thenardier, what did I link of Cohen and Carter? I liked them! Yes, Carter is kind of playing the same Bellatrix/Lovett sort she's been playing a lot lately, and Cohen is vastly different from what I personally would have done with the character (I had been channeling Grima Wormtongue, if that gives you an idea), but you know what? It works here! They bring up Cohen's inexplicably French accent, and yet fail to realize that it's entirely explicable because he only uses it when interacting with people he's trying to con, ergo it's a con. Because Thenardier is a con artist. I just wish they used him a little more.
The rest of the cast does very well. Not quite interested in Cosette and Marius, but then again that's just the way their characters have always been. Gavrouche was more awesome than I've ever seen him, though.
And what did I think of the most famous music from the most famous musical of all time? Um....mostly underwhelming. Don't get me wrong, it's GOOD, but aside from "Master of the House" and (ironically) "One Day More," it didn't really grab me the way others have. I'm still buying the soundtrack, and I'm sure it'll grow on me, but it's not one of my favorites.
It's a solid adaptation of a really difficult story, and I'll be watching it more and more.
What do YOU think?