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I know, I know! This may be my last Les Mis post for a while, though. I think. Maybe? Aaaaanyway, listened to it on Spotify and now have Opinions!

(Also, before I forget: for those of you who like such things, [ profile] rarewomen is starting up and you should all do it! My wibbling thoughts on nominations are here.)

-Iiiiiinterestingly, I thought I would laugh at Crowe's songs (and I did, when I listened before watching the movie), but listening to the recording after watching the movie, I didn't laugh, and it has actually reconciled me somewhat to Crowe's Javert. It's not the book Javert I imprinted hard on as a child, nor is it Terrence Mann's Javert (which closely follows book!Javert), but I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's just different and it's okay that way. Fine.

-"I dreamed a dream" I skipped right past because I could not take the raw pain in Hathaway's rendition. The other song I skipped halfway through was "Bring Him Home," which was okay in the theater because Jackman can act like whoa, but in the recording it's painfully obvious that he was stretching his voice to do it.

-"Suddenly" made me cry. I think listening to Hugh Jackman's performance of this song will always make me cry. I still think it's kind of a weird song, musically, but the words are so book!canon, and Hugh Jackman -- he -- I JUST -- maybe it's because I have a kid now myself, maybe it's because this part of the book where Valjean's heart is changed (again) by Cosette has always spoken to me so strongly, maybe it's because I spent the last year so angry at Once Upon a Time at its kid!storyline, maybe it's that Jackman has children himself (and adopted, for that matter) and all that just came through in the acting, I just do not know, but to me this has become the heart and soul of the movie and is very possibly the one part of the recording I think is worth owning for sure -- not for the music, but for all the emotion in Jackman's voice. (Well, that and "Empty Chairs." And Hathaway. And... oh, crap, what's happened to me?)

-I forgot to mention this in my movie notes, but the choice to start "Empty Chairs" a capella totally made my heart stop. Both watching the movie and listening to the recording. (Although Eddie Redmayne's voice, which I loved in the theater, distracted me a little in the recording -- though not in this song -- because it sounds a bit like his mouth is full of marbles.)

-The orchestration is very interesting to me. I especially loved their use of the -- is it cannons? Instead of timpani? Anyway, I love it. I love the orchestration. I love that they used the fact that it's not a musical to bring in a huge orchestra that wasn't limited to a pit, and occasionally random sound effects, and re-orchestrated the whole darn thing. LOVED.
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I was expecting to think it was overwrought and enjoy it principally for its potential for mockery (and, mind you, there was some of that) but... but... it had two things going for it. One is that the people who made the movie clearly, clearly, loved the musical and the book, and for that I adore them SO MUCH. The other thing that it had going for it was that despite all the cynicism and judgmentalness and analytic distance I've built up since I saw Les Mis for the first time, as soon as the first orchestral notes boomed in I was grinning like a maniac, a large part of me instantly reverted RIGHT BACK to twelve-year-old OMG I AM IN LOVE. So, um. Loved the movie!

I do think, mind you, there are certain things one needs to know if one desperately loves the musical, as I do: Read more... )

It was actually awfully cool to watch it after reading the book.In which I rave and rant about the musical and the book and the movie and things that made no sense in the musical/movie and things I liked MORE in the musical/movie )

I could talk about this movie forever, but in conclusion: LOVE.
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Wow, this one was long! And the only book that isn't named after a main character. And also, surprisingly after how much I loved all the digressions in "Marius," the digressions in this book I honestly found less engaging than Waterloo. Though they were all shorter than Waterloo, I think! As usual, [personal profile] skygiants has much more interesting and profound thoughts than I have, but here are some brief thoughts:

Mostly Marius being irritating. )
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I still haven't finished part 4. The thing is LONG! But I am getting there! In the meantime, have moooore thoughts than you ever wanted to know about me and the book and the musical.

The abridged book, the Broadway recording, the musical, the book, the Complete Symphonic Recording )

Rambly incoherent FEELS on the Broadway vs. CSR recordings )
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Oh yaaaaay skygiants has posted on "Marius" here and now I can blabber on about this book, which I loved so much! (I seem to have loved much the same parts as skygiants, but not totally identical!)

"Marius" was a really fun book for me to read. I don't know if it's me or Hugo or both, but I was cheering Hugo on in his digressions -- this was the first book of Les Mis where I didn't find any of it a slog at all. I suspect it's because he's not trying to Make a Point about either Anyone Being Super-Good or The Ways In Which Being a Woman in Nineteenth-Century France Sucks; he's much more playful in this section. But also maybe because it was about college kids and how awkward boys in love are and cheerful street urchins, which are always fun!

I just want to talk on and on about this book! Including terrible mining metaphors, awesome Friends of the Puns, my utter love for Marius and his painful overly-idealistic rants, Marius's handkerchief fetish, and Thenardier action thrillers )
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[personal profile] skygiants' post is here and has all kinds of delightful things about Socially Awkward St. Valjean!

I don't have nearly as funny things to say as skygiants, but here are my reactions:

-Waterloo was not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be! I think because it was similar in length to the Bishop of Digne section, and I was steeled against it being much longer. However, I can't say that I read it super carefully. I also had this feeling like I needed visuals to really figure out what the heck he was saying for most of it.

-I keep worrying about Cosette having long-standing emotional issues because of her emotional (and physical) abuse by the Thenardiers! I guess, you know, she married Marius, which maybe is the answer to that. (Though I have always had a soft spot for stiff overly-idealistic socially-awkward Marius! No one else seems to, but I do! (Not that I'd want to marry him or anything, eek, but I just want to pat him on the head like a little puppydog, sort of the way Enjolras does in the musical.) We'll see what I think on this readthrough.)

-The convent section was a hard slog, even though I thought it was more interesting than either Waterloo or the Bishop. I think because I'd been steeled against Waterloo, and then to find out there was another long digression... Also, I had never read the bit about Madame Albertine before! Mme. Albertine is a mysterious nun who never speaks -- except one day when the young Duc de Rohan (peer, Prince, and eventually Archbishop) comes to preach, and she cries, "Ah, Auguste!" And that's all! Albertine never speaks again, and Hugo goes on to natter about something else. I NEED TO KNOW THE REST OF THIS STORY! I'm okay with never knowing what happens to Valjean's family, or the kids in the elephant, perhaps because I've known there was no resolution to those stories since I was a kid. But ALBERTINE! WHAT WAS HER DEAL?

-M. Fauchlevent is the best! There's this hilarious bit where the nuns are questioning Valjean to see if he would fit in the convent, and Fauchlevent answers all their questions, and Valjean doesn't say anything at all, and the nuns are all, "Valjean, what a great conversationalist!"

-I really enjoyed the bit where Hugo compares convents to prisons (...they're both damp impoverished places where people's freedom is extremely restricted, except the motivations and therefore results are totally different), which I found really interesting.


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