I had watched the trailers beforehand and I knew it would be grand. Still I was kind of worried that they somehow might ruin it. But I loved it! I'm definitely going to see it again!
- Russell Crowe was obviously just cast to be a headliner. He could do the stern face of Javert, but the singing was bad. Very bad.
- Hugh Jackman impressed me. He managed to balance the book version of Valjean with the musical version very well, the acting was great and the singing better than anticipated.
- Anne Hathaway was definitely the star of the film. Impeccable. My pet peeve with every casting I've seen of any version of Les Mis is that they never seem able to find a blond Fantine. She's blond in the book. Actually she looks a lot like Cosette.
- Marius was cute, but he only managed to make weird faces on every close-up of him.
- Enjolras was exactly like I pictured him in the book.
- Gavroche was the star of the revolution. That little boy was amazing and he did my favourite character extreme justice.
- Samantha Barks was great as Éponine. So glad they chose her instead of friggin' Taylor Swift.
- I love that they had cast Colm Wilkinson as the role of the Bishop of Digne. The first West End Valjean as the Bishop in the movie. How very fitting.
- I also noticed that one of the background students was one of the students from 25th.
- I had heard both good and bad about Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen as Mrs and Mr Thénardier, but I really liked them. Helena Bonham Carter was perfect as always (can she do no wrong?) and Sasha Baron Cohen had his own take on his role, which worked really well according to me.
- Little Cosette was impressive.
- Amanda Seyfried did the best of her role I think. Adult Cosette is such a bland character in my opinion.
The scenography. No real complaints there. Just pet peeves from the book. The monastery isn't really in Paris. But otherwise everything looked like I might picture early 19th century France. Not that I'm an expert at 19th century masonry. I laughed out loud during the scene when people throw out furniture to help build the barricade. BANG! A piano comes flying. WTH?! xD And why is there a cow in the middle of the road?
The songs. I love the setting of the Prologue, Lovely Ladies, I Dreamed a Dream, Master of the House, Look Down, Little People and Do You Hear the People Sing. (25th Anniversary musical versions) They pretty much got all my favourite songs right. I was a little disappointed by how they did Red and Black, but I can't really pinpoint what was wrong with it... Do You Hear the People Sing is my absolute favourite song off the entire musical and how they did that song in the movie was amazing. Totally did the song justice! It was hard not to start singing along out loud xD
The story. I love how they incorporated some elements from the book that weren't in the musical. Those elements tie up some loose ends from the musical. For example they show the doll that Valjean buy to Cosette. The very lovely and expensive doll that every girl in that village wants. In the book it's in a more in-your-face manner towards Éponine, but still. Cosette's song Castle on a Cloud is called Poupée dans la Vitrine in French, which means Doll in the Window. I like how they show that Valjean and Cosette end up at the monastery with M. Fauchelevent, which gives the audience a hint as to how and where Cosette grows up. And the man Valjean saves from under the carriage isn't just some random guy, but actually important later on. I like that they show how Fantine sells her two front teeth for 40 francs (although she still has her front teeth later on... pet peeve). I also like that they add Marius' grandfather. I was just waiting for them to tell us about Gavroche being Éponine's little brother and that they had a sister and two more brothers too. (They didn't). Or tell us Cosette's real name: Euphrasie. (They didn't). The love story between Marius and Cosette is still too incredible in its shortened form. In the book they have months apart only thinking about each other and when they meet they have several nights together when Valjean is out of town. In the musical and movie their love story lasts for two days, then Marius is recovering from injuries and then they get married. I was kind of hoping they'd drag it out in the movie and show the true nature of their love story, but no :(