When this movie was announced.. twas so much anticipation.. I had a dream this film would be.. so different from this dullness I see. so different now.. then what it seems.. Hooper.. has killed.. a dream.. I dreamed..
Okay, maybe I’m going a bit too far, but, look at the trailer! This looks like it’s going to be an amazing movie! Where did it go wrong? Keep in mind that I haven’t seen the musical, so it’s difficult to tell if some of the problems with the film were adapted from the show and what was completely made up. Jean (Hugh Jackman) is a slave who just spent years working off the price of.. stealing some bread? Aladdin, eat your heart out. He comes across a woman named Fatine (Anne Hathaway) who sings that beautiful song and then DIES!!! That’s right, all that Supporting Actress buzz and she’s only on-screen for about seven minutes. Needless to say, those seven minutes are the highlight of the movie. Jean decides to take care of her daughter, Cosette, who grows up and falls in love with this guy faster than the couple from ‘Moulin Rouge’. And the rest is just a bunch of singing.
As you can guess from the summary, I am less than pleased with this movie. I don’t know if that’s the general reaction or if I’m totally on my own, but it’s my opinion either way. First of all, next to no Anne Hathaway. I still can’t get over that. We were all sewn up to give Supporting Actress to Hathaway because of that one song, but that’s pretty much all we get. She couldn’t support a tree house, let alone this movie. (Although I do give her credit for playing Fatine and Catwoman in the same year. That can’t be easy.) Next, little to no dialogue. I mean spoken dialogue. Literally everything being said is in song, and half the rhymes are pretty forced. This can work if used correctly, like in ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’, but here, the tone stays pretty consistent throughout the film, making the whole movie seem like one big song as a pose to a lot of songs. The only two songs that I still remember are ‘I Dreamed A Dream’, and ‘One Day More’. There’s also an original song called ‘Suddenly’ that blends into the other song(s) so well that I can’t remember any of it. Mixed blessing, I suppose.
But hey, at least the tone is consistent, which is more than I can say for Hugh Jackman. It is next to impossible to identify with him because he is constantly changing his motivation. First he wants this, then he wants that. I guess if I listened to the songs a little closer…aw forget it! Jackman does do a good job though, as character flaws do have more to do with writing than acting. Russell Crowe actually does a much better job at emoting through the music and does make a powerful performance come through. Even Hathaway, for as little screen time as she gets, does take advantage of every second. If she had a bit more screen time, she would be assured a winner in this category. But as it stands, I think Hathaway was busy filming Dark Knight Rises. Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen are minor players that get laughs whenever they’re on, but I don’t think they make the movie worth watching.
Don’t hate me for this. This is just one young man’s opinion. There are millions of opinions out there and you don’t have to listen to me. The art direction and costume design are incredible, and it does have a decent tone. But, unless you’re a big fan of the original show. I’d say that if you want to dream the ultimate dream, go to bed.
(P.S. Since I saw the film, I have gained respect of the original musical and story. Just because I didn’t enjoy the film the first time I saw it , doesn’t mean you might not. Know that I know the story, I may re-watch the film sometime in the near future to see how it holds up.)