Sunday, December 23, 2012

Album Review: Highlights Les Miserables Original Soundtrack Recording

Review: For months now, we've been getting teasers for the film version of Les Miserables.

Finally the soundtrack is available and it is stunning.

The music is beautiful, but most people already know this. Les Miserables is one of the most loved musicals, and for good reason.

The story that Victor Hugo wrote, is truly represented well in this musical. Unlike another musical that was recently turned into a film, several years back, 98% of the cast work well.

Hugh Jackman is perfect as Jean Valjean. At times, he eclipses Colm Wilkinson, and that's something that is pretty hard to do, but when you hear him sing "Bring Him Home", there will be tears in your eyes.

A big surprise is Sasha Baron Cohen as the Monsieur >Thénardier. He really brings the role to life, and he sings with a French accent, which is refreshing, because it seems like this part is always sung in a cockney accent. It is a shame Helena Bonham Carter who looks the part of >Thénardier's wife, doesn't live up to expectations when her part comes to sing  in "Master Of The House." I think she has the voice, but she is trying to be too "theatrical" and serious on a song that is the most fun from just about any Broadway show ever.

Anne Hathaway, as Fantine is another surprise. Granted Fantine is a part that doesn't last long, "I Dreamed A Dream" is a song that has to be sung well. She has a lot to live up to with that one, we've heard Patti Lupone sing it and we've heard Susan Boyle wow the crowds with it too. Thankfully she has a voice to go along with a pretty face.

Samantha Banks' plays Eponine, giving her a shot at "On My Own." She's not Lea Salonga, but she's a hell of a lot better than Debbie Gibson, so for that we can be thankful.

"Castle On A Cloud," is young Cosette's one song. Isabella Allen sounds like the little girl from the original cast. Her voice is sweet, innocent and pure.

Eddie Redmayne's Marius is convincing enough, he's no Michael Ball, but he delivers a near perfect "Empty Chairs and Empty Tables."

What I have noticed about some of the songs, like "Master Of The House" and "At The End Of The Day" that were rather bawdy in their theatrical versions, find themselves toned down for the big screen.


Still the songs pack a punch just as they should. "One Day More" will still stir a myriad of emotions as will "Drink With Me."

The new song "Suddenly" is obviously written for Jackman, but on the Highlights album, it doesn't seem to fit. Perhaps when it is heard in the movie it will make more sense. 

Overall, there was some great casting done. No, this isn't the London or Broadway cast recordings, but it is still very good. It also whets the appetite for the film.

No comments: