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I finally was able to see Les Misérables last Friday. A few notes, from a person who had enjoyed the musical recently. No spoiler here.
- The movie and the musical are the different realizations of the same story, although they share the songs and (of course) the characters. I highly recommend anyone who have see either of them to see another.
- Pace: Movie features slower pace, more dialogs, which gives a better explanation of the story. However it made the story less intensive.
- Song selection: The song “Suddenly” appeared to be a new song composed exclusively for the movie. However, all of the original songs are either trimmed or shorten in the movie, except “I dreamed a dream” (featured in the teaser), where Anne Hathaway gave the breathtaking (and heartbreaking) performance. I would expect a director’s cut version coming within an year or so.
- Javert: As you may know, the essence of Les Misérables story is about the struggle between two aspects of justice — instead of justice v.s. evil. It’s a pity that will all the trimming, the storytelling of the movie failed to tell people Javert’s justice in great detail, resulting a unbalanced view of the two main characters.
- Sound mixing: Just like what you’ve heard in the teaser and the highlight sound track album, the songs are all mixed with vocal at the front position and lower volume of music. For me, it kind of prevent me from enjoy the sound track with earphone, but it allow the song to blend into movie scene and seamlessly go with the dialogs. It also allow more expression for the performer.
- Vocal scenes: Another unique aspect about the movie is how the vocal scenes if filmed. Basically, all the songs are filmed nothing but the actor/actress’s face and the blurry background. This allowed the viewer to concentrate on the expression of the performer.
- Live recording: As explained here in the extend first look intro, all of the vocal voices are recording live. All the effort on that has paid off, judging by the immense feeling it delivered to the audience.
- Mandarin Chinese subtitle: the movie wasn’t released until last Friday, which angered a lot of local Les Mis fans, including me. However, I can see that with the pushed back date, the translation is a lot better compare to literal translation I usually see in the theater. Subtitle was also carefully applied to the screen to avoid obscuring the performer’s face, something unseen in the theater previously too.
I might come up different thought if I could finish the novel itself; In the mean time, I highly recommend people going to the theater to at least know the story, and dive deeper if you would like know more.
- 選曲：《Suddenly》這首歌是電影的新曲，但其他音樂劇原有的音樂都被剪裁或是縮短了。唯一的例外是安．海瑟威的《I dreamed a dream》（這部預告用的曲）令人心碎的演出。之後應該會有導演完整版吧。
- Javert：熟悉故事的人會知道《悲慘世界》的精隨在於兩個「正義」代表的對抗，而不是一般的正邪對抗。電影很失敗的對故事的剪裁沒有把 Javert 心中的正義講的很清楚，導致兩個角色的不平衡。