Monthly Archives: April 2013

At Long Last…the “Les Miserables” Review

This is a curious post to write. I think back to previous posts where I was so excited about the movie, then skeptical about the stars’ singing abilities, then deciding to hope for the best, and finally thinking “It’s can’t be any worse than casting Gerard Butler in Phantom of the Opera.” It turns out it could–and it was. Everything felt stiff and wooden, and the movie itself reminded me of cardboard for some reason. It had none of the special spark that made the 25th anniversary concert so entertaining to watch; it was as if the majority of the cast was merely going through the motions of acting out this movie and not being genuine about any of it. The music didn’t seem to flow, either; it felt as if it was just stuck into the story instead of being part of it. I also didn’t like how they shortened some of the songs.

It wasn’t all bad, though. My inner literary nerd was most gratified to see that the movie included elements from the book that hadn’t made into the stage version because of time/space constraints. Also, I was expecting to loathe Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thenardiers, but they were perfect. Their singing was great, and you could tell they were having fun with their roles. Getting to see and hear Hadley Fraser–even though it was for far too short a time–was fun; I actually cheered when he came onscreen. And a shout-out is absolutely mandatory for George Blagden’s Grantaire; his role may have been small, but he owned it. My favorite performance, though, came from Samantha Barks. She nailed her role; every note was perfect, and her acting was spot-on, especially with “On My Own”. There wasn’t the least bit of acting then; she was Eponine.

My final conclusion: skip the movie and just watch the 25th anniversary Les Miserables concert. The singing’s much better.

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Because the Whovian World Needs One More Clara Oswald Theory…

I have developed a theory on Clara Oswald’s real identity. I’m probably way off, but if everyone else gets to theorize wildly, there’s no reason I can’t have a bit of fun, too.

Clara is really Romana. I have no reason for saying this other than in “The Bells of Saint John” there was a long multicolored scarf draped on a coat rack that was positioned behind Clara in one shot. The scarf was identical to the one worn by the Fourth Doctor, the one with whom Romana traveled. Why do I say it’s Romana and not any of the Fourth Doctor’s other companions? Well, in the entire run of classic Who, Romana was the only companion who was the Doctor’s intellectual equal–and in many instances her knowledge was superior to his. This is not at all dissimiliar to the fact that Clara’s computer hacking skills far exceed the Doctor’s and that she doesn’t remain in awe of him for very long–exactly like Romana. Add to that the fact it’s the 50th anniversary year–the perfect time to bring back an old companion–and that Steven Moffat has spoken highly of Romana in the past, it’s not that big a leap.

As I said, I’m probably way off. But I got to have my wild theorizing fun.

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Timing is Everything

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder why it takes me a long time to find something is good. For example, why couldn’t I have discovered Les Miserables while it was still touring the US? Why did it take me so long to realize that relish is good on sandwiches? And for good measure, why couldn’t I have found out about the Lord of the Rings musical while it was still going on?

Yes, my friends, there once was a Lord of the Rings musical. I believe it debuted around 2004 and ran until 2007 or 2008. And it had amazing numbers, like this:

and this:

and this:

As an unashamed fan of all things Tolkien, this immediately joined Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables on my list of musicals I really need to see in person. Unfortunately, it is no longer running anywhere, and I doubt it will ever be revived–certainly not in America; I heard it was very poorly received here.

Sigh. At least we have YouTube.

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Catholicism and “The Confrontation”

In this completely unplanned sequel post to “Catholicism and ‘One Day More'”, I dissect the theology that crept into another song from Les Miserables. This particular song is “The Confrontation”, sung after Fantine’s death scene when Javert arrives to rearrest Jean Valjean. For your listening pleasure, below is the 25th anniversary concert edition with Alfie Boe as Valjean and Norm Lewis as Javert:

Have you recovered from the awesome yet? Good. Now I can get into the theology bit. The theology bit in particular is when Javert sings, “Every man is born in sin; every man must choose his way!” This, of course, is the doctrine of Original Sin, that man is born with a stain upon his soul that renders him an enemy of God (which is why Baptism is so important). And this turns out to be a two-for-one special because the line “Every man must choose his way!”–in my opinion, anyway–refers to the doctrine of Free Will, that man is free to choose whether or not he will serve God.

And that is my random theological observation for the day. Thank you very much.

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