Jan. 9th, 2013

starfire11: (Mira)
I saw "Les Miserables" at long last.

I can't really say that I fell in love with the story. It did some interesting things and made some interesting points, but I'm still a little confused about some of the messages that came through (one of which seemed to be that, like most other fairy tales, "having money is awesome"; I don't mean this in the sense that the soldiers were well off or the rich were well-off; I mean that Marius goes back to his well-to-do family in the end, and is probably able to marry Cossette because Cossette most likely inherited a lot of money from Jean Valjean, and was brought up well because Jean Valjean squirreled away a lot of money from his time as mayor).

Part of the reason the story fell apart at times for me was because of the lack of character development. I understand that this is a musical, and more of an opera than a musical at that... but there's a TON of contradictions here.

Firstly, if it's an opera/musical, and it can tell a successful story with just the singing, then why the big over-the-top movie? The visual aspect itself seems rather pointless if the whole story is meant to be told through song. It's almost cringe-worthy at times.

Too much of this story plays like tell rather than show, which is not a good thing. Character growth (what little there is) is scrunched up. Jan Valjean has some sort of revelation in relation to Cossette and outside of his relationship with her mother that involves him taking on a fatherly love towards her rather spontaneously. If he were to sing something more when he meets her rather than his creepy "tell me where you live" three line bit, this would make a little more sense. Or it would be creepy still... I don't know.

I said that I didn't care for most of the characters to my father and his wife, who saw it with me, and the response (in relation to Cossette) was that "Cossette is not the important character; Jan Valjean and Javert are. It's about good and evil and what either really is. Everyone else is just a side character."

Okay. Fine. I understand that.

Then why is Cossette the one on every damn Les Miserables poster, and not Jan Valjean or Javert?

Cossette is a big part of the reason that Valjean feels for Fantine. Valjean dedicates his life to raising her. He searches for and eventually saves Marius for her. He leaves to save her from the pain of his dying. Cossette is the reason Fantine sacrifices everything and eventually dies. Cossette is the one who enlivens Marius and then crushes him (by way of Epponine) when he thinks that she vanishes, and almost drives him down the path of suicide for martyrdom. Cossette is the one who dashes Epponine's hopes at the very end by fully attracting Marius' attentions.

Cossette is doing ALL of this. Not purposefully. She's the locus around which most of the story moves, just by existing. She does more by simply EXISTING in the story than most of the other characters accomplish, combined. Is she the main character? No. Like I said, she doesn't do much at all in the story. The other characters do the action and sing most of the songs - Cossette sings VERY little.

So Cossette is an important character.

So I would like to give a damn about this character. And after the second time skip, I just don't. I don't know much about her relationship with Valjean after the time skip, other than she lives well and apparently alone and she wants answers. Sort of. What's her favorite school subject? Does she really never see other people? How does she cope with strangers if she NEVER SEES PEOPLE? What's her relationship with Valjeans's well-vaunted Christianity?

I like Marius. He's the young revolutionary. Yeah, he completely ignores Epponine, but I can understand his entire story from the way they showed him (ignoring Epponine helps explain him - he's young and clueless; this is continued when he talks to Cossette for the first time and acts all bashful and forgets all the right things to say. Yeah, I think Epponine deserves him, but, well...). I got it all.

I like Epponine. I'm a bit confused about her family history - did they lose the inn or something? - but I like her. I am amazed at her skill to keep her body intact after getting shot with a musket at point blank range. I'm also quite certain that Epponine's actress had the best singing voice in the film after Hugh Jackman.

I like Javert, but it's a conflicted thing. Russel Crowe did a great job in a role I'm not used to him filling. I like seeing actors expand and try new things. My favorite song in the film is one of his solos. The lyrics were gorgeous and intriguing, the sound was beautiful, the visuals were well-done, and he sang quite well. Javert's character all-around is a little iffy, but he was good.

I think Hugh Jackman did a good job. I'm just a bit confused about some of the homo-eroticism that kept popping into my mind, and I completely blame my friends. One thing I love about this film is that there are very few "I'm a manly man" moments in the film that I can recall, at least from the "good" characters. Valjean has no issue saying that he'll be "father and mother to [Cossette]". He has no issue becoming a "gentle" man, rather than living by his labors. Even Javert is more focused on his duty than scoffing at others because of their "manly" weaknesses or whatever.

Yes, I'm still smarting from that ridiculous line in last week's "Naruto" comic in relation to Hinata feeling Naruto's hand: "His hands are so manly". Why? Just... why?

I will say this, though: despite the characters, and despite the story, I LOVED the music. The lyrics were beautiful and amazing, and the cast did a great job at performing them. The sound was just gorgeous. I've never watched an opera before, so getting into the whole "we sing most of the lines in the story" thing was a little odd, but you get used to it fast.

Anyway... I'm tired. Ta.

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starfire11

January 2013

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