Genre: Classic, life
Primary actors: Liam Neeson, Claire Danes, Uma Thurman, Geoffery Rush, Hans Matheson
Length: Almost 2 ½ hours
Based on: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Time period: 1800s
Year it came out: 1998
My overall opinion: So much fun to see another version of “Les Miserables”! There were a few aspects about this one that I really enjoyed, at least as much as or more than in the newer 2012 film. Here we go, in no particular order – and don’t worry, this shouldn’t be too long. :)
Of course, Liam Neeson as Jean Valjean was a highlight. And he was great! His voice was the best part, for sure. However, he did a good job as Valjean. In my opinion, not quite as impressive as Hugh Jackman, but still good.
Then Uma Thuramn was Fantine, and here I’ve gotta admit that I probably preferred Anne Hathaway. One good thing about this film was that for the most part it wasn’t quite as explicit as the 2012 version. However, there was one version in which she was virtually naked – something good to know before watching. Yeah, pretty sure I did prefer Anne in the part – Anne was very convincing.
Let’s see, then there was Cosette. I preferred her by quite a bit in this film! Claire Danes acted her here. Random fact time: I had seen her a few days before in “Temple Grandin,” where she did an amazingly believable job acting an autistic girl. Btw, that’s a good film. :) Anyway. I thought she did a lot better in the role than Amanda Seyfried, and liked her just as a person much better. Her voice was nice.
Eponine! Or lack thereof. Apparently she appears in one brief scene as a child, but I really wish she’d been in here as an adult. Because as you know, I really liked her in the 2012 film, where she was acted by Samantha Barks. I missed her a lot here! She has an important part in the Marius and Cosette story, and I missed that.
Before we move on, let me mention one more actor – Geoffrey Rush as Javert. I know my sweet friend Rissi prefers him over Russell Crowe (and she prefers this whole film over the other), but me? I liked Russell Crowe a lot better. One reason? RC’s voice is so deep and absolutely awesome. This guy had an anger and ken for revenge that was very understandable (did I use that “k” word right?). That being said, I think RC did too.
OOOO. Another actor. Cause we can’t leave him out. Hans Matheson as Marius. What a disappointment! My friend who I watched this with and I thought he looked vampireish for the first part of the movie. And you don’t want the romantic lead to look like a vampire in LesMis, trust me. White face, black hair, and a little rain. Nope, didn’t like him there. I liked him a little better further in, but he was especially awful at the beginning.
So, the sum of my thoughts in the acting… Stick Liam Neeson’s voice on Hugh Jackman (who doesn’t have a bad voice, but LN’s is so awesome…). Keep Anne as Fantine. Move Claire Danes to be Cosette. Ditch Hans Matheson and Geoffery Rush. And get Eponine back.
Rissi mentioned that the 2012 musical is a “pretty” film in terms of quality, sets, etc. Understandable, since it was made almost 15 years later. They’re a little hard to compare since they were made so far apart! I’d say that just for visuals, I much prefer the 2012 film. But that makes sense, so…
Then too there’s the music, or rather, the lack thereof. Because, that’s right, this 1998 movie didn’t have any songs in it. And I missed that! I know, I thought there was a bit much in the 2012 musical, but…I really did miss it here. There are some REALLY good songs. And I’m actually considering taking the 2012 movie up to a rating of 9 instead of 8.5 because of the music which I’ve been listening to constantly ever since. And still loving! So yeah, that was disappointing.
Javert’s suicide…it was a little strange in this one. Valjean just standing there watching? Weird. I “preferred” the one in the other movie.
I think that about sums up my thoughts…good, but not as good. I liked it, and it was worth the $5 I paid for it (yay for $5 bins at Wal-Mart!). I don’t mind watching it again.
Have you read my review of the 2012 Les Miserables yet? If not, now would be a good time! :)