Saturday, April 6, 2013
Do you hear the people sing?
So the latest version of Les Miserables came out in stores a couple of weeks ago. And of course I was there that morning to get my copy. And of course I stayed up that night to watch it after the kids went to bed. Because, regardless of how anyone else might have felt about this version, I remain firmly entrenched in the "Loved it!" camp.
Sure, I didn't think it was perfect. Nothing ever is. And there were some things I would have done differently. I'm not a fan of Russell Crow, for example, and thought someone else (anyone else?) could have done a better job as Javert.
And it bugged me a little that Thenardier started off sounding French, but seemed to lose the accent about halfway through the movie. (By the end, he looked more French but sounded more British.) And that Gavroche sounded exaggeratedly British, right up until he said "Vive la France!" (But it's like that in every performance I've ever seen, so I really can't blame this actor or the director.)
But despite the few minor annoyances that I found, I thought that the movie as a whole completely delivered. And I don't think I've ever seen a more gut-wrenching performance than Anne Hathaway's "I Dreamed a Dream." It was absolutely brutal, and I'm pretty sure it was the best version of that song that I've ever seen.
Now, whenever you share your opinion about something, there are bound to be people that disagree. (Particularly if you share said opinion on the Internet!) So when I made a comment on Facebook about loving the movie I was totally prepared for differing opinions, and they didn't bother me at all. (We all have different tastes. You are in no way obligated to love something just because I did, any more than I'm obligated to hate it if you did.)
But there was one comment that got me to thinking, when one of my friends made a remark about this being a "remake." (With the implication that it's been done before, so why do we need another one?) I couldn't really see it that way, though.
The way I see it, the nature of a stage production is that it is meant to be done repeatedly, with different casts, and that every production will be similar but not exactly the same. Sure, this one was done for the big screen and not the stage, but I still think the same principle applies.
Nothing will ever be the same as the original London cast, and that version will always hold a special place in my heart. But I say that a musical this incredible, and this powerful, should never stop being performed. I say make it as many times as you can, and don't ever stop.
I'm curious, though. What do you think? Did you love the movie, or hate it? Was it just another unnecessary remake, or did you welcome another chance to see a new performance? I'd love to hear your opinion!