2012 has been a pretty good year so far. Despite normally reliable stalwarts like Pixar and Christopher Nolan not bringing their A-game and an overall rather shitty summer, the normally unimpressive fall & spring have yielded one surprising gem after another: Cabin in the Woods, Chronicle, Dredd, Looper, ParaNorman, Beasts of the Southern Wilds, Argo, Seven Psychopaths, Skyfall, Cloud Atlas; and even the summer didn't feel so drab as long as Avengers & Ted stuck around for us to see over and over again.
And what's even better is that some of the most promising films of the year are still to come. Most of the country has yet to see Spielberg's reportedly awesome Lincoln, the spectacular-looking Life of Pi is still to come, and this December will bring a trinity of movies that promises to make this the best Christmas in forever. Peter Jackson returning to Middle-Earth, Quentin Tarantino making a goddamn slavery revenge western, and most importantly: LES. FUCKING. MIZ.
As I may have mentioned a few dozen time, I'm a complete sucker for musicals, so naturally I would love Les Misérables. It's one of the most enduring and beloved musicals in all of theater. So believe me when I say that every trailer I see for this movie makes me jump up and down like a little girl.
Interesting to note that up until this particular trailer, we had yet to hear Russell Crowe's singing voice as the villain Inspector Javert. He was a point of apprehension among some of my Les Miz loving friends, as unlike Hugh Jackman he has no Broadway musical experience (though he has cut and albulm or two apparently, I've never heard them), and the fact that he was appearing only visually in most of the advertising suggested perhaps they weren't exactly proud of voice. This is the first trailer to feature said voice and...yes, it's not exactly great. Though I think is may be less of a problem than it has been in the past when musical movies have cast actors with no theater background who can barely sing. The big innovation that's being touted with this particular film is the method of recording the actors actually singing onset as opposed to lip-synching. This not only allows their acting to feel less wooden and deliberate, but also gives the singing a sort of raw emotional quality. Anne Hathaway's delivery of the famous "I Dreamed a Dream" has been featured prominently in all the trailers, and is very much NOT polished studio singing. Anne deliberately avoided giving, as she put it, "the pretty version" in order to give something more emotionally realistic. So basically, this seems to be a production where it won't matter so much if the actors can't sing particularly well, or if they're occasionally offkey because that's part of the point.
SEE GLEE?! THIS IS WHAT A "REALISTIC MUSICAL" LOOKS LIKE!!