A Few Words About A few words about...™ Les Miserables -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 2, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist

    Feb 8, 1999
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    Robert Harris
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    Blu-ray, as a home theater playback format, has reached a place at which properly photographed productions, whether shot as data or film, can be totally transparent to their original formats as they reach Blu-ray.

    Anything that has been taken through a digital intermediate stage is difficult to screw up.  As such, over the past couple of years, we've seen the zenith of various processes, all reaching Blu-ray with perfection.

    Universal's Les Miserables is one of the latest of these.

    Shot on several different Kodak film emulsions, in S35 3-perf toward a final 1.85:1 projected ratio, we're seeing everything that has gone into this production, as a perfect blend of production photography and digital effects as 2k data.

    Audio, with voices recorded live, is no less of interest.  This is a technical feat that should not be passed over as one views the film.  It's only occurred a handful of times, with most every musical created using play-backs.  Mr. Harrison's vocals in My Fair Lady may have been the first.  You can tell that he's about to sing by the shape of his knit tie.

    Les Miserables was one of my Best Films of 2012, along with Django, Silver Linings, Zero Dark and Argo.  All of these are superb Blu-rays.

    Looking at Les Miserables as a musical -- and this is something troubling to some, especially those uninitiated to no speaking, only singing -- it comes across as a miraculous entertainment.  And certainly one of the best since the golden age of the musical on film.  These only now seem to come around every decade or so.

    Bottom line.

    A stupendous piece of filmed entertainment with extraordinary performances, direction, editing, cinematography -- we can list the crafts.  I make note of second unit camera crews, who along with the cast, were fully costumed, so as to blend in with crowds while shooting.  Just great stuff.

    No numerical scores for DI-based productions reaching Blu-ray, but Les Miserables is as good as it gets.

    Very Highly Recommended.


  2. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Jan 22, 1999
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    Aaron Silverman
    Finally saw this over the weekend. The image is great. However, it's a shame that the fantastic production design and cinematography are so subdued by incessant closeups. The audio is so well done that I almost forgot about the live recording at times (I would've forgotten entirely were it not for the uneven singing).
  3. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor

    Apr 19, 1999
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    Metro NYC
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    My favorite film of 2012 with Silver Linings a close second. Tremendous entertainment and pretty much loved everything people complained about ie the singing, the close ups, the camera movements all greatly enhanced the film for me.
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
    HW Reviewer

    Jul 4, 2012
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    Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
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    My GF's reaction to seeing it...

    "Not as good as seeing it live."

    Same thing she said about Mama Mia and Phantom of the Opera.

    What I'm waiting for is the BD of Avenue Q, so she can say the same thing...
  5. zoetmb

    zoetmb Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 26, 2012
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    Martin Brooks
    Totally different experience. I've never seen a Broadway musical where I wasn't totally aware that I was seeing a Broadway show no matter how great the show was. I saw LeMiz in both London and New York and I loved the show and there is certainly much to be said for the immediacy of the theatre, but a movie takes me into a world far more than theatre does. The other advantage a movie has over a show is the use of closeups. A closeup permits you to see into someone's soul (assuming a good performance).

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