Seeing the film and listening to the Highlights album are completely different experiences.
The film is a visual feast of gorgeous and atmospheric scenery. The decision to do record on set while filming was a good one and works incredibly well though when Hugh sings I dreamed a dream something is wrong, perhaps they didn’t make it for that scene which is a shame as that was such an important moment and iconic song. Hugh was auditoringly disappointing for me. He acted the hell out of it but at the expense of his voice. Yes he has much experience on stage but not at all in the same class as Anne or Samantha (Eponine).
Anne’s performance of Fantine was stunning. Brutal, harsh, raw… every note, every gasp and sob and breath worked… just worked. She bled the character. Her downfall was catalogued in such numbingly raw portrayal.
Russell has a beautiful voice (I heard him live with his band at the Borderline in London), preferable to Hugh’s in some ways. It is tender and sweet as heard in Stars. Unfortunately though, perhaps concentrating on getting the singing right he loses the emotion in his face and for the most part visually fails the rawness and intensity that Anne, Hugh and particularly Eddie do perfectly. StoneyFaced thy name is Javert.
Eddie is a favourite actor of mine, only discovered in the last few years with stunning performances in British TV. It was a joy to find he can really really did you get that? REALLY sing.
I mean shivers. Seriously. His version of Empty Chairs has cut the lyrics into my heart. Beautiful.
Amanda well she was just annoying. Her voice so clawingly saccharine I could not enjoy her at all. Unlike young Cosette, so perfectly portrayed by Isabelle Allen
Helena and Sacha were stunning in their comedic genius, Well sung, colourful and incredibly well choreographed… just perfect. Their voices more than competent for the task. Helena we had already heard in Sweeney Todd but Sacha was a big surprise for me.
Also Daniel Huttlestone as the weeny Gavroche was amazing. So much character and mischief in a pint sized package. I confess it was his death that broke me and when Javert acknowledged it I sobbed like a baby.
Aaron as Enjolras was perfect. I don’t know if he has stage experience but he could not have been better. Eponine was brilliant but of course she should be due to her experience on the original musical set.
The scenery and costume of course should have been amazing. Those enough lucky enough to have seen the musical will know that its a big big part of the tale and they did not disappoint in anyway. Surely deserve all the awards for creating the atmosphere, filth yet joyful colour. Not once did I see any goofs in the 3d and the ordinary version. I might have been swept away by the whole epicness of it that I missed them. I have been known to get lost in the story and miss huge faults noticeable by others. The sets were HUGE. Was there really an elephant in that square in Paris? I understand that the barricade seen was Harry Potter’s Diagonal Alley rebuilt to tremendous result.
The score onscreen doesn’t have the impact of the live musical though. The dynamics of loud and soft don’t quite come across, but visually completely worth watching.
Denied the visual feast the Soundtrack is awesome, atmospheric and colourful, tugging at all the right places, cutting and tearing and warming the heart. Happily sits alongside my Original Cast CD. Yes they were actors who could sing but in my humble opinion they really hold their own. Well worth shelling out for. Just forgive Hugh for not being Colm.
Shout out to Glyn the King of the Beggars, my friend in the yellow jacket who I spotted twice
**** To be added to as I remember things