Mr. Chris Goes to Cleveland – Pt IV: Les Misérables
While I was adventuring in the midwest, I did manage to squeeze a bit of operatic culture into my trip. Well, I’m not sure if a night at the movies really counts as “operatic culture,” but really, who’s counting? For those of you who haven’t already seen the new Les Misérables movie, don’t worry, I’m not going to be giving and spoilers. If you’re not familiar at all with the original Victor Hugo novel, you can learn more here.
Now I’m not a theatre geek like my friends were in high school, and I’ve never been much of a fan of opera, but I do love the French Revolution and partisan politics, so surely that must count for something. But in all honesty, it was a fairly well done production of the original story. The major highlights for me were more to do with the production and direction, and less to do with the stars themselves, who were fine but left much to be desired for a true opera fan–which luckily didn’t phase me much–with the exception of the innkeeper and his wife ;-).
1) camera shots that actually lasted for more than 5 seconds
2) scenes that felt real and visceral, and not totally Hollywood contrived
3) panoramic and sweeping side shots really emphasizing the costumes and scenery
4) Gavroche and his street kid posse giving the wealthy French bourgeois a hard time
5) an awesome opening song and scene in the harbor
6) the Elephant of the Bastille
See, no spoilers, I promised. But for someone generally critical of most Hollywood crap produced these days, this was one remake of an old classic that is worth the time. I’m glad I went, even if it is always heartbreaking to see the spirit of the revolution die on the screen. At least it lives on in the ghost of the Bastille…
Be sure to read the next exciting installment of my midwest adventures in Pt. V: Big Science.
Until next time…Look down and show some mercy if you can / Look down and see the sweepings of the street / Look down, look down, / Upon your fellow man!