Les Miserables Blu-ray
The hit Broadway musical Les Miserables takes to Blu-ray with Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried and Russell Crowe in this epic following the life of a paroled convict and his struggle to reform.
Film making 5/5
Bonus Features 2/5
Recommendation 4/5 Stars
I’m not a big fan of musicals but every once in a while one will make an impact, I thoroughly enjoyed the first few seasons of Glee but after the graduation things got messy. The same can be said for some musicals that have made an impression on me in the past like The Sound of Music but that was too clean and sweet.
Les Miserables goes in the opposite direction with a realistic look at the world of France just after the French Revolution and the dirty world of the early 1800’s. Les Miserables starts with the confirmation to police inspector Javert played by Russell Crowe that a paroled prisoner will return to his life of crime if pushed far enough.
Jean Valjean played by Hugh Jackman stole a loaf of bread to feed his family and was imprisoned for a couple decades but after being paroled finds life is harsh for ex-prisoners of the time. He is forced to carry papers declaring he is a danger to society and finds no one will give him work or a handout except a caring Bishop.
The Bishop gives him shelter and food but in the night Jean steals his silver only to be caught by police but the Bishop says he gave the items to him. The police are incredulous until the Bishop gives him more silver to ensure the police believe he has not committed a crime.
The Bishop tells Jean to use the gifts to change his life around and do good which Jean takes to heart and breaks his parole to pretend he is an upstanding member of society to help others. He builds a business and becomes a mayor of a small village but mainly helps his workers when they need him in ways that change their lives.
Les Miserables jumps several years between scenes to show how Javert continues to run down Jean only to find he continues to evade him through both quick movements and a good heart. In the end Javert discovers how he has not been a good person in his dogged chase of Jean over the years when Jean has been nothing but good and honest in trying to reform his life.
Les Miserables is a different kind of musical with only a few dozen spoken words throughout the two and a half hour movie while song is the main medium. The musical is great but does not endear itself to all audiences so this movie may not be for everyone.
Video is fantastic and audio is exceptional as you would expect from a Blu-ray film shot of a musical with an excellent transfer to Blu-ray from the original. The film uses an interesting darker look in the beginning that brightens as the story progresses but the film is entirely gritty throughout.
Video really looks great with only a few problems in the dark look at the beginning that may seem odd to some but overall the film looks great. Audio on the other hand is no problem whatsoever with great surround sound from the DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound track which is nice if you have the system.
The use of 7.1 surround is a nice feature for a musical and really the only choice for this type of Blu-ray so if you do have the speakers you will enjoy the full use of surround sound. Audio is great and you do hear the music and song easily throughout even at times when the orchestra makes it a bit difficult to hear some of the song.
Bonus features for Les Miserables is a bit of a disappointment and one that I was actually surprised with as I figured at least more making of features and even some history lessons thrown in. Bonus content includes a feature commentary, an hour making of feature and a short look at the novel for a decent mix of extras.
The feature commentary is a straight talk with Director Tom Hooper that is quite bland while the making of feature that runs for an hour is mostly cast interviews interspersed with looks at filming. The quick look at the original novel is too short but overall the entire bonus content is a bit boring and really only highlights the cast of this film instead of a more in depth look at the film or the rich history of the tale.
Les Miserables is one of those love hate relationship type of films where you are probably not going to bother with it if you don’t have at least some interest in musicals. Mostly if you’re going to purchase Les Miserables you probably have enjoyed other musicals while a rental would not be out of the question if you’re not sure.
The Blu-ray edition of Les Miserables is well worth a rental just to see a hit musical and find out what all the hype is about as well as seeing a great story with an excellent cast.