Finally saw this. I liked it and I didn't.
There is a time and a place to experiment with speak-singing. Les Miz is not it. Nobody ever watched this show and said "gee, that music just doesn't express enough emotion." Well, maybe Tom Hooper did. This score is famed for its melodrama and bombast. Characters drifting into speech and over-emoting their way out of tune was just jarring and inappropriate.
Hugh Jackman was a disappointment. I know he has the musical theater chops for this, but he was wildly inconsistent, veering back and forth between singing, speaking, and sing-speaking, seemingly at random. He is Exhibit A as to why movie musicals have their vocals recorded in a studio. This is not a stage show, where things are a little different from night to night. This is a single recording, preserved for posterity.
Russell Crowe was a pleasant surprise. Although he doesn't really have the voice for this, he was clearly giving it his all. Of course, my expectations were low.
I wonder if that cracking noise when he hit the deck was an homage to the grody stuff in Sweeney Todd.
Anne Hathaway was very, very good, although I Dreamed a Dream was the weak point of her performance, IMO. On the other hand, Samantha Barks was better. "On My Own" blew IDaD out of the water. To be fair, it pretty much blew every other song out of the water as well. They should develop more movie musicals, just so they can cast this adorable young lady in them.
I wasn't a fan of the changes to Eponine in the story, even if they were faithful to the novel. She is maybe my favorite character in the musical.
Eddie Redmayne was excellent. Don't think of him as Kermit; think of him as an "Irish" tenor. This kid is going places. (Check him out in Black Death, a surprisingly good, if extremely dark, movie.)
Amanda Seyfried was decent. The warble gave me Callas flashbacks though. On the other hand, Isabelle Allen (young Cosette) was great. Look for her in something with Eddie Redmayne in the future.
I thought Borat and Timmette Burton were fine. Although for some reason, he kept switching between an English and a French accent. Very Costnerian. And why does everyone in France speak with an English accent, anyway? Didn't the French win the 100 Years' War?
The overused handheld camera was mildly annoying. Not enough to ruin things, but enough to be noticeable. The incessant closeups were irritating too, especially considering the incredible production design -- most of the time it was hardly visible!
All that said, the movie overall was still pretty enjoyable. Maybe someday they'll re-record the vocals and re-edit the closeups and it'll be really great.