Universal Studios Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed the Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet Combo Pack release of director Tom Hooper's Les Misérables (2012). Nominated for eight Academy Awards, the innovative adaptation of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg's musical of the same name stars Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe, and streets on March 22nd.
Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the story of ex-prisoner Jean Valjean (Jackman), hunted for decades by the ruthless policeman Javert (Crowe), after he breaks parole. When Valjean agrees to care for factory worker Fantine's (Hathaway) young daughter, Cosette, their lives change forever. This enthralling story is a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. Hooper's Les Misérables co-stars Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Samantha Barks. The film has also been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Jackman) and Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway), among others, and has already won three Golden Globes (Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Best Actor - Musical or Comedy for Jackman, and Best Actress - Musical or Comedy for Hathaway) and four BAFTA Awards including Best Film and Best Supporting Actress (Hathaway).
The Blu-ray edition of Les Misérables will feature 1080p video, a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, standard DVD and UltraViolet digital copies of the film, and numerous extras:
Les Misérables Singing Live: The star-studded cast and production team discuss how the daunting challenge of singing live rather than lip-syncing to pre-recorded tracks ultimately gave them the creative freedom to deliver nuanced, emotionally powerful performances. (Blu-ray Exclusive)
Battle at the Barricade: Director Tom Hooper wanted the dramatic building of the barricade to be as visceral and intense as possible, so he had his actors build it in real time, literally hurling furniture out of windows to construct an actual barricade. This featurette takes an in-depth look at the creation and filming of all the action on this remarkable set. (Blu-ray Exclusive)
The West End Connection: Meet the "godfather" of the original stage production of Les Misérables, renowned West End producer Cameron Mackintosh, who was deeply involved in the filming, as well as former Les Misérables, theatrical stars who were thrilled to appear in supporting roles in the current film. (Blu-ray Exclusive)
Les Misérables on Location: Filming rather than staging Les Misérables presents the opportunity to shoot in real world locations: a massive dry dock on the coast of England, a beautiful underground chapel in the heart of London and the ancient city of Winchester. Members of the cast and crew talk about what it was like to find and work in these incredible locations. (Blu-ray Exclusive)
The Stars of Les Misérables: Director Tom Hooper talks about casting the iconic characters, and the actors discuss why it was important to them to be a part of this groundbreaking version of
Creating the Perfect Paris: Production designer Eve Stewart created a massive Paris set featuring real cobblestones and running water. Take an intricate look into the detailed recreation of these Paris streets that no longer exist in today's world.
The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo's Les Misérables: This mini-documentary takes a look at the historical backdrop and universal themes of Hugo's classic, and how the filmmakers mined the novel to enrich the look and feel of the film.
@acua: As long as you haven't seen the show on a stage and already have an idea of what it should look like, I'd say yes. There's no comparison between the two media. I think of the stage production as seen in London/New York/Toronto/etc. as spectacular, larger than life and full of strong stage energy while the film is more a musical version of the actual book with references/characters included that are only in the book. It's more low key, less operatic, more focused on the acting, more cinematic and more toned down in its exuberance. That works better for a movie. The director picked good actors who can sing rather than singers who can act but that's not unusal for a movie. I won't say which is better and hope you'll go and enjoy it or if it's not playing any more in your area do buy the BD. (And let us know here what you thought of it).
Except he couldn't find any actors who could sing (much like Baz Lurhman for Moulin Rouge) and made a film full of horrendous cat wailing that goes on for about an hour and a half longer than it should've.
@impossible: I would clarify your opinion by saying that he didn't pick any actors who sing like performers do on the stage. A movie actor doesn't have to belt it out (even in a quiet number) to reach the 20th-25th row of a theatre or an upper balcony. However, the big issue with the movie for me was the choice of director. Yes he won an Oscar for the King's Speech but if you look at his works I'd call Hooper a maker of "small" movies and TV series. That isn't meant as negative. His work centres on films of an intimate nature, involving mainly one or two characters and a personal problem such as the speech impediment of a future king and his relationsdhip with his speech therapist. Look at the excessive number of closeups in his Les Mis. It is more like a TV show than a motion picture on the big screen. Les Mis. as written by Hugo and certainly as interpreted for the stage has always been larger than life, zestful and bold even though it also has heart. Hooper simply was not a good choice for such a big scale movie. He did his best and made a good "little" film rather than the blockbuster most fans of Les Mis. The Stage Musical had expected. The fact that Hollywood has not nominated him for Best Director is most telling.
I am a fan of musicals and I have never seen it performed live before so I was really looking forward to it but frankly I didn't like anything about it apart from Hathaway.
The direction was terrible and didn't work. The singing was adequate in a few places, 95% of it was dreadful. I didn't need them to belt anything out, but the odd moment of being sung in tune here or there would've helped greatly.... The CGI looked cheap and not realistic and I didn't like the the story or the music.
I pretty much hated the whole thing. The fact it has gotten so much praise when something like Evita didn't stinks!
@impossible: I too hope that one day Evita will get reevaluated. It suffered because so many of the critics couldn't accept the leading lady as a capable peformer.
I also hope you get a chance to see Les Miserables on stage in London or some other city. I understand that there's a new production of the musical being prepared for Toronto Canada this fall. Perhaps that might be easier for you to reach than someplace overseas (assuming of course you live in North America). In any case I think you'd enjoy it.