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My biggest (and almost only) problem with the new movie was the lyric changes. I usually listen to the 1987 original Broadway cast recording, so maybe the movie used songs from a different stage version, but I'm pretty sure the words are always the same. Most of the time, the lyric changes were very minimal (which made me wonder why they even changed them in the first place), but several of my favorite lines disappeared from the songs altogether ("I broke a windowpane"/"For the army we fight is a dangerous foe"/"God, Eponine, the things you do"). I would be sitting there in the movie theater, biting my lips the entire time to remind myself not to sing, of course—that is, when I wasn't sobbing uncontrollably in anticipation of the more tragic parts, i.e. 80 percent of the movie—and the song would just skip forward! A travesty, I tell you. Why turn a musical into a movie if you're not going to preserve the songs? Can someone more movie-minded than I explain this to me?
There also appeared to be several songs that were added to the movie, or lengthened. I'm guessing the producers did this to explain things to the audience, but we don't have that further explanation in the live production and we still know what's going on.
All that being said, the singing was phenomenal. Aaron Tveit is fabulous as Enroljas, who became my new favorite character after I saw the 25th anniversary production in Albuquerque last May. If you've been following my blog for a while, you already know that I was excited about Eddie Redmayne. He made Marius' cluelessness a little more forgivable purely based on freckle count. And though I was a little worried about the strength of Russell Crowe's singing compared to Hugh Jackman's in the beginning, he held his own during the rest of the movie. The female singer/actresses were also very talented (I loved the directing of the factory scene during "At the End of the Day"!), and Amanda Seyfried wasn't on screen that much, so I didn't have too much room to complain. To her credit, she did sound an awful lot like Judy Kuhn.... Finally, young Cosette and Gavroche were very impressive; I can't wait to see where their careers take them.
Fun fact: Colm Wilkinson, the man who plays the bishop in the movie, is the original Jean Valjean! So of course he's fantastic. :)
Remember when I said the lyric changes were almost the only problem? Well here's my other one: They messed up the Marius/Cosette/Eponine storyline! And that, my friends, is just one timeline you do not mess with. Gah. If they had to change anything, I wish they could have had Marius—or at least an apparition of him—with Eponine for "On My Own." I always wanted to give her that.
P.S. — I finally watched the trailer, and I'm glad I didn't see it beforehand. The song sounds a little weak when you can't see Anne Hathaway singing it.
Have you seen Les Mis? Do you plan to? Are you a fan of the musical production?