Les Misérables (2012) Review

Les Misérables the musical, such joy
And epic sadness couched in songs that broach
Man’s bunghole, leaking wine of liberty,
And pleasing crowds most mellifluously,
That work, I declare, is beyond reproach.
As to this film…oh dear, oh my, oh boy…

We must admit iniquity when we
Compare the stage and screen, for what we see
Will indubitably belong to one
Over the other. Adaptations come
And go, speaking Michelangelo, and
Defy necessity. But c’est la vie.

This version of this classic uses on-set
Vocals, a strange conceit, considering
A film allows the singers to fillet
Performances otherwise hindering
Perfection. And this is misdirection.

For – to hear singers in their element
and gasping for their breath, alive, and live –
is purview wholly theatre, innit?
To go for both, film and play, is just jive.

The camera does not follow actors fluid,
It cuts and cuts between this shot and that.
The music fails to provide ungúent
To grease the narrative and it falls flat.

There’s beauty doubtless despite this misstep,
Anne Hathaway’s solo as Fantine, yet
Her song is undisturbed by camera cuts,
She moans, she cries, it’s devastating, but
Why must we flee so quickly here and there
(Film rolling us along to green screen’d nowhere)
When such material as this exists
To dazzle not with location but wist?

On stage this show is gloriously sad,
Foul history makes for a thrilling tale,
On film its pace is surprisingly bad,
Uncomfortable actors make it frail.

Like Burton’s Sweeney this thing suffers most
Because its all-star cast is all it boasts.
The singers (even Crowe) do not dispel
The heavenly lyrics to shame-faced Hell,
But do they elevate the epic? No.
It doesn’t suck, or blow, it’s just so-so.*

Les Misérables (2012)
PG-13
Directed by Tom Hooper
Universal Pictures
158 Minutes

*So can you hear the people sing, singing
the songs of angry men, and for three hours
that you will not get back again? Ling’ring
questions still do loom, like how in bowers
caked in crap Marius’ sepsis didn’t
kill him like a thund’rous case of clap.
Why didn’t Jackman age a day in over
sixteen years, unless of course he was
the wolverine before his X career?

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