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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - March, 2013

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 "Les Miserables" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-march-2013-les-miserables

Synopsis

This story is set in 19th Century France soon after the French Revolution and follows the life of Jean Valjean (Jackman), a paroled prisoner who is under the very close scrutiny of Inspector Javert (Crowe).  Valjean is able to break loose from his lifelong parole with the help of a very kind priest.  Valjean  later becomes mayor of Montreuil-sur-Mer.  Inspector Javert eventually identifies Valjean when he sees Valjean perform a feat of great strength.  From this point, the plot roils with interconnecting story lines formed among an ostracized factory worker Fantine (Hatahaway), her daughter Cossette (Seyfried) and many other players by way of love, war and thievery.

 

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2012, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 38 mins
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 7.1 DTS-HD Master
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway , Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter
  • Directed by: Tom Hooper
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This classic is an intricate and sweeping tale that will live on well into the future.  Is this the definitive film version?  I think the answer to this question is both "yes" and "no".  Yes in that it is the best film version I have seen to date.  No in that at some point in time, a better version is bound to come along.  But I won't begrudge this movie its eight Academy Award nominations and three wins.  These are well earned and appropriate in my opinion.  Anne Hathaway really amazed me with her performance and the feeling she put into her role.  Furthermore, I think live singing on the set is a stroke of genius.  I quickly lose interest in musicals that are lip synched/over dubbed.  But not with Hooper's Les Mis.  I stayed riveted to the set the entire 2-1/2 hours.  Not every Hollywood actor is a world class Broadway singer and this is the biggest downside of the movie but it also gives the film a down home, rough-hewed feel over many other musicals.  All in all, I highly recommend this Blu-ray for the story, the performances and the technical accomplishments that show up on the screen and in the sound.

Technical

The picture quality on this disc is near reference quality.  It is obviously mastered at a high bit rate because the picture holds up fine details despite the prevalent very dark scenes.  Because of the excellent shadow details and the surprising impact of the resultant image, this is now one of my all time favorite transfers of a dark movie. This masterful transfer shows off the elaborate sets, makeup and costumes.  

The audio is first rate through and through.  Voice intelligibility is excellent from the softest whisper to the loudest crescendo.  The special effects are clean and impactful, including the full and deep bass.  The surround activity is excellent and extraordinarily compelling as well.

Extras

This is a two disc set with a Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and Ultraviolet Streaming code.  Special features include The West End Connection, Les Miserables on Location, Battle at the Barricade, Les Miserables Singing Live, The Stars of Les Miserables, Creating the Perfect Paris, The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo's Les Miserables and Feature Commentary by Director Tom Hooper.