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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Les Miserables (2012)

I realize that I've been gone a while, but I just got Fallout 3 and had to play through the entire thing before I could even think about doing anything else, so please don't judge me too harshly. In fact, I even attempted to make a video of it for this site, using one of those fancy screen-capture devices (which stupidly only captures the audio from the microphone, and doesn't capture in-game sounds as well), but, well, that turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. The intention was to see how fast I could get the 3 achievements for reaching level 8 with bad, neutral and good karma, through a bit on ingenuity (read: starting from a slightly earlier save and killing a bunch of people to lose karma). However, this slowly descended into a nightmare as my laptop kept crashing every 10 seconds or so (it's 8GB RAM with an HD Graphics card. FUCK ACER/BETHESDA WORKS (I'm not sure which one is at fault)) and I ended up recording roughly a 40 minute video of me slowly going insane and screaming increasingly more extravagant profanities into the microphone and ultimately threatening to kill everyone who works for Acer, Microsoft, and Bethesda works. It was hell to play through, but I thought the video might have come out pretty funny in the end, or at least, that it could be of academic value for those studying the effects of video-game induced psychosis. However, unbeknownst to myself, when the game crashed, it also caused my recording software to stop running as well, so my entire 40 minutes of madness went completely to waste, and will not be seen/heard by anyone. Ever. Naturally, this made me even more angry, and I therefore haven't done anything for the site since.

However, yesterday a friend of mine bought me an XBox 360, and whilst every /v/irgin reading this will immediately groan at this suggestion: fuck you, consoles don't crash. so, I'm now in a slightly better mood, and looking forward to the arrival of New Vegas later this week, which I managed to get for £5.47 (no idea how much a mouse/keyboard kit for Xbox would be, but I'm definitely looking into that shit).

But this post is not about the Fallout games (not even about how fucking ridiculous it was that I couldn't send in Fawkes to activate the purifier, or the fact that I paid for the game of the year edition and installed the DLC, yet Live still tells me Operation anchorage will cost me 800CR, because fuck Microsoft). No, this post is about something I touched on in my end of year round-up for 2011. The Les Miserables Movie.

I know this picture doesn't really fit here, but I spent so long making it I just HAD to post it again...

Les Miserables is, for those of you who haven't already guessed it, my favourite musical (no homo), and I was disgusted to hear that they would be making a film of it, because inevitably, it was going to end up shit. Hell, I even posted the confirmed cast back in December, and practically cried at how awful it looked. However, today I was directed back to the IMDB page for the upcoming film, and found myself pleasantly surprised with a couple of new editions:

I'm a Frances Ruffelle man myself. Others go on about how her voice is too whiny, and Lea Salonga was a far better Eponine, but they have no taste whatsoever (just to clarify before I catch some hate - I think Salonga is an incredible singer, and a brilliant Fantine, but she just didn't make Eponine feel as genuine or identifiable as Ruffelle did). Ruffelle gave the character a real vulnerability, and you felt incredibly sorry for her, and could identify with her and believe all the shit she went through (I mean, come on, she dies and her parents don't even mention it - not even in passing - despite the fact her dad was searching the bodies on the barricade and would have come across her fucking corpse! Shows how well her family treated her...). She also made "On My Own" one of the most incredible recordings ever, and it is one of my favourite songs, even stretching outside of the sphere of musical theatre. However, when I saw Samantha Barks in the 25th Anniversary concert edition, I was extremely impressed by her performance in the song "A Little Fall of Rain", in which she actually surpassed Ruffelle, with a far more intense, and indeed realistic delivery of her lines, which was one of the best songs of the entire show (I also liked the way she delivered the line "I've only been pretending" in On My Own - the only part of that song where she again surpassed Ruffelle). Not only this, but her performance with Gareth Gates on the West End in 2011 was also incredible, and the fact that this girl can give 2 stunning performances whilst appearing alongside guys who sing about as well as I do (Nick Jonas and Gareth Gates aren't exactly on Michael Ball's level, or even in the same building. Fuck it, even the same street) makes me extremely pleased that she was picked for the role of Eponine in the movie, and gives me hope the film may actually be half decent.

Plus she's pretty hot. In a British way...

Of course, it's sad that Taylor Swift didn't get the role, since she got /b/ to name her cat, so is clearly far more on my pathetic level than Barks, but to be honest, I've never been overly impressed by her music (and before anyone goes on about how many Grammys she has, I would like to point out that Adele also has a metric fuckton of Grammys, and is just plain awful*), and if the only reason it would be good to see her in the role is because she visits a website I do, why not cast Allison Harvard as Cosette? Who cares if she can sing, right?

No, I mean, seriously. I would pay to just watch this girl on screen for 3 hours...**

The other addition to the cast I was pleased to see is that Sascha Baron Cohen will be playing Thenadier. I would never have thought to cast him if you had asked me to pick my ideal cast for the film, but I honestly think he has the potential to be brilliant in the role. The part of Thenadier has always gone to actors/comedians, from Alun Armstrong to Matt Lucas and now on to Baron Cohen, and I'm actually pleased to say that I think the film makers made a solid choice here. Armstrong was great, don't get me wrong, but when Lucas played the part for the 25th anniversary concert, he really stole the show - everyone seemed to be having so much fun during his rendition of Master of the House that it's the only time in history I would have liked to have been a member of the choir or a backing singer for a stage show - he just really played to the audience, and had a laugh with the role, and I think Baron Cohen will be able to recreate this same attitude for the big screen version. Of course, you could argue that on film, this will detract from the experience rather than add to it, but since Thenadier is the comic relief anyway, why not go all out, right? Just my thoughts (and clearly those of the casting director as well).

Or possibly they were looking for decent singers to cast and thought Freddie Mercury had come to the audition...

But now we come down to the serious hate. Why the fuck is Russell Crowe playing Javert? I mean, seriously. You know who should be playing Javert? Someone with some real screen experience, a man with such a commanding presence and deep, authoritative voice that he will dominate the role, and not sound like he's making a poor attempt at an Irish accent when he's supposedly playing someone from Nottingham. A man who has starred in everything from "Inspector Morse" to "The Queen" to "The Iron Lady", then right back to Morse with the prequel "Endeavour". A man who stands above the Manlet cut-off of 6 feet tall, and is actually the right age to play Javert in the later scenes where the majority of the story takes place.

That's right - why not just cast Roger Allam?

To be honest, I could actually see Philip Glenister working too...

Seriously, the guy's still working - he was in an Oscar winning film last year, and he would be perfect for the role. Did they offer it to him first and he turned it down, or did they just feel they needed a big name for the role and felt they had to cast Russell Crowe because studios are still convinced they'll be able to rekindle the success of Gladiator? It's just over my head. Can Russell Crowe even sing? If they wanted to go for more of a Hollywood Hardman, why not go for our favourite up-and-coming actor Tom Hardy (I say up-and-coming despite the fact I first saw him in band of Brothers 11 years ago)? So many questions, so few answers. And Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean? I don't even...

I mean, Billy Flynn in Chicago? Sure. Danny in Grease? Why not. But Jean Valjean? Seriously?

The sad fact is that Javert and Valjean could both be played by the original London cast members, because they were both too young for the parts when the musical first ran. Colm Wilkinson and Roger Allam are both the right age now to be playing the parts, and since both performed "One Day More" at the 25th Anniversary concert (Colm also performed "Bring Him Home" alongside the other Valjeans), both are clearly still vocally capable of performing the songs as well. And why not get Ramin Karimloo back to play Enjolras since he was so brilliant - I mean sure, having an Iranian guy with a Canadian accent playing a Frenchman may not be all that realistic on film, but fuck it, they cast Morgan Freeman as a Red Haired Irishman in Shawshank and that turned out pretty fucking well.

My only problem with this movie was that even though Red is supposed to be in Andy Dufresne's imagination, we still see other character talking/interacting with him. Seriously plothole that... 

So I still have mixed feelings. I'm really worried that this film will turn out to be utter shit, but at the same time, I probably will still go and see it, just in the hopes they make a decent adaptation. In fact, this will be the second film of 2012 that the previous statement will apply to, since I feel exactly the same way about The Dark Knight Rises - there's a good chance Nolan will give it yet another shitty ending, as he so loves to do, and it will be a massive disappointment, and yet, I will still go and see it as I still have faith that it could be the greatest Batman movie ever made, and I sure love Batman...

In... every... incarnation...

And just since we're talking about the cast of Les Miserables, if anyone is going to see moot in London this week, tell him I'm writing a movie about him to cash in on the success of The Social Network. I'm going to call it "The Unsocial Network" and follow the same pattern Fincher did for his film. We'll get a well known musician from an industrial metal band to write the score (I'm thinking Till Lindemann), cast an actor who is best known for his roles as an awkward quirky teen in the lead (Michael Cera as moot), and cast a well-known musician in the second to main part (in this case, Nick Jonas as W.T. Snacks - I really think playing an internet paedophile will help him break free of his "good boy" image, just like Elijah Wood playing a football Hooligan - plus, I suspect the scene where he gets hit by an 18-wheeler will be as popular as the whole "Justin Bieber getting shot in CSI" thing). Failing that, just ask him if he even lifts for me, would you?

Until next time people.


* I interviewed Adele for my chat show recently, and she said that people keep asking her what the titles of her albums mean, and whether or not they have some deep meaning. "18". "21". She responded "there's no hidden meaning in the titles, it's just my weight in stone at the time of recording".

**, what? I guess I should buy the America's Next Top Model DVDs? I'm sure I'll get a kick out of the "Nigga you gay" guy, at least...

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