We got together with my brothers and their wives (and my one remaining bachelor sibling) and wandered into the theater to see "Les Miserables."
To be honest, I was a bit apprehensive about this show. I have loved the music since I was introduced to it at 13 years old (more than 20 year ago...for real, how old does that make me feel?) and I have seen the stage version several times in several cities so I was worried that I would not be able to enjoy this production.
To my surprise, I really loved it. The intensity in the faces of the actors was beautiful (mostly) and it drew me in in a way that a stage play cannot do. Anne Hathaway in particular was incredible to me. I have NEVER been as immersed in Fantine as I was with her. I was very pretty impressed with Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, his vocal skills were not quite as impressive as Ms. Hathaway's, but the raw heart and intensity that he brought to the role made up for anything missing for me.
Marius, Eponine, Gavroche, the Thenardiers...they were each spectacular to me. I could not have asked for better.
Then we get to Javert -- one of my favorite characters, and maybe that is the problem. Watching this "righteous" officer of the law torn back and forth by what is right and what is just is beautifully tragic to me and a great reminder to listen to your heart, not just your mind. But none of that came through to me in the movie. Seriously, Russell Crowe was so flat for me I could barely stand it. His voice struggled, but he isn't a singer so maybe I could have gotten past that if only he had brought some depth to the character, but he didn't. He just staunchly and blankly wandered from place to place exuding...nothing...and I found myself resenting him instead of falling into Javert's heartache.
Also, whoever threw that ridiculous butterfly into the garden scene with Marius and Cosette should be severely scolded at the very least. It made me laugh out loud, but I don't think that's what the scene was going for.
My poor single brother didn't really know anything about the plot before stumbling into his seat and when the show was over he leaned over to me semi-appalled and said, "So nothing good really happens to any of them?" I just smiled and reminded him of the title. There is a lot of pain and sadness, but this is a show about redemption and overcoming struggles and trials and facing challenges head on and conquering by heart when nothing is in your favor.
There were things I sorely missed from the stage production (the movie version of "A Little Fall of Rain" for starters was tepid and almost stale for me when the moment is supposed to be agonizing and poignant), but overall it was a really great show.
Moving on, Josh and I also got to see "The Hobbit." Again, I had low expectations because I loved the first three Lord of the Rings movies and was not sure something new could live up to that standard.
|See what I mean about Jim Henson.|
Yeah, the first 1/3 of the movie was so cheerfully cute to me I wondered how this show could be linked to the bitter torment of soul found in the other three movies. The show seemed almost Jim Hensonesque instead of something from the mind of Peter Jackson.
However, that said, once the group managed to leave the Shire and started to run into the nastiness of hidden evils and the aid of powerful friends it did get better. The cave scenes near the end were particularly enthralling. I found myself liking many of the characters, even if I wasn't quite seeing the world through their eyes like I did in the LOTR trilogy. It was a decent movie, I enjoyed it eventually.
I should also mention that Josh thoroughly enjoyed both these movies. He is much less picky about movies than I am (pulling a movie apart was a favorite pass time of my family growing up -- except my mom who either slept through or just plain liked almost everything -- my brothers and dad and I really enjoy picking a film to pieces).
Anyway, it was fun to see some popular movies before they made their way to Red Box. It was a very entertaining chunk of our holiday experience.