At its core the Hunchback of Notre Dame is a drama but that  hasn’t stop people from making it into a  happy children story about an ugly ducking, social commentary, a comedy and it was almost was a jazzy action-adventure (prove me wrong Brolin and make it).

But what other genres could a Hunchback version be and how would the story have to change to satisfy the genre tropes.

Moodiness Esmeralda (Maureen O'Hara) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Moodiness Esmeralda (Maureen O’Hara) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Horror– This one is so easy, I’m more than surprise no one has bother to make a more horror-y or at least creepy version since the hallmark film is a “monster’ movie.

There is a movie called the Hunchback of the Morgue which has elements in common with Hunchback and Frankenstein but I haven’t  seen it as of yet.  It sounds terrible,  also I’m fan of gory films.

 

Phoebus Rallies the People Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus Rallies the People Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Action-Adventure– I know I mention this one already, but it could work I think. The plot would have to changed a lot though. I think the only method to make this genre work is some kind of treasure hidden in Notre Dame which kind of was done but not really. Notre Dame’s treasure that was Frollo’s motivation in the Secret of the Hunchback but it wasn’t an action-adventure movie, it hardly a movie.

But Hunchback isn’t devoid of action so they could just amp that up and looting the cathedral was part of allure of the attack of it by the Court of Miracles. So it could really work.

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Danielle Dumont as Fleur de Lys, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

Romanic Comedy– Groans. Hunchback as a chick flick might be a tough sell but  maybe. I dunno. It would have be very light hearted and almost  parody. Maybe Hunchback should stay clear of this one.

Garou as Quasimodo Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Garou as Quasimodo from Notre Dame de Paris

Musical – Well there have been musical versions but not one from a stage show. I personally love the idea of a Notre Dame de Paris film version but I’m sure it would get messed up.

Maybe they could Jukebox musical, those are easy and people like them enough. Can’t you just see Quasimodo singing “I would do anything for love,” the thing writes itself.

Melody, a.k.a Not Esmeralda in Jail awaiting death, Enchanted Tales, Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Melody, a.k.a Not Esmeralda in Jail awaiting death

Fantasy – Just add magic and stilted dialogue, easy.

Phoebus and Esmeralda get comfortable (Maureen O'Hara, Alan Marshal) 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda, Maureen O’Hara, Alan Marshal 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Film Noir– Everyone seem to want to overly sexualize Esmeralda anyway so just go for it and make her a full-on Femme Fatal, you know you want to Hollywood.

Quasimodo singing Heaven's Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Quasimodo singing Heaven’s Light Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Kaiju– No, No, No but the image of 100 foot Quasimodo destroying Tokyo is very silly probably too silly.

 

Do you have any suggestions for different genres for Hunchback? Leave it in the comments along with how to change Hunchback to fit the genre.

Among the more famous versions of Hunchback, each version has a lot of movie posters. For this post, we’re going to look at the top seven best Hunchback movie posters. These are not in a specific order and they are all available on Amazon.

#1 All the characters, the Disney version

Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster picture image

Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

This poster has a lot of energy. You get a sense of the personality of all the characters. I like how Clopin and is front and center and I like how Frollo looms over everyone from on high. I don’t really like how central the gargoyles are but that is a nitpick.

2# All the characters Chaney version

 1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster picture image

1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

I really like how front and center Esmeralda is in this poster. All the other character are pretty much there in the crowd and their personality come through. I also like the color palette on this one which is ironic seen this was a tinted movie.

#3 Pseudo-Monster Movie, 1939 Version

1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster picture image

1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

I debated whether or not to included this one since it kind of plays with the audience’s expectation of a monster and Laughton is one of the least monstrous hunchbacks but that’s its strength. It has the signifier that says it’s a hunchback movie but makes it feel different and I like that it hides Quasimodo‘ looks. I also like the red tone

There is a similar 1939 poster with a Quasimodo in silhouette against Notre Dame and pillory but it just not a dynamic.

#4 Stark Simplicity, 1923 Version

1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster picture image

1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

This one made simple but it captures the imagination of what this movie could be like. And I find the design bold and graphic.

#5 Trio, 1939 Version

1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster picture image

1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

I like this one as I really like the rendering of Maureen O’Hara. It just has a good composition to it though I can’t really tell if that is Jehan or Gringoire but I would it’s Jehan.

#6 Captivatingly Overprice, 1956 Version

1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame  Poster picture image

1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

I really like the picture vignettes in this and Gina Lollobridga looks lovely in this. Somehow this poster just makes the movie seem more like an epic.

#7 Pillory Scene, 1923 Version

1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame  Poster picture image

1923 Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster

I debated between this one and another 1939 poster. I went with this one because I really like the way Esmeralda is depicted. It is also interesting to showcase the pillory scene in a movie poster.

 

 

The Sea Prince and the Fire Child

The Sea Prince and the Fire Child

The Sea Prince and the Fire Child a.k.a The Legend of Sirius is a 1981 anime movie made by Sanrio. I watched it in the English dubbed. Watching things that are not in their native language can add some issues. I think over the years dubbing has gotten better but I think some of the issues I had with this movie are the result of the dubbing. A note, I’m going with the English names for this review.

Sirius and Malta with the Holy Flame The Sea Prince and the Fire Child Picture image

Sirius and Malta with the Holy Flame

The plot is very much Romeo and Juliet but with the Ocean God and the Fire Goddess being pissed off at each other. The story is Fire and Water used to exist in the same body and were one but also brother and sister. The Wind God, Algorac, grew jealous and told lies about the Ocean God and the Fire Goddess about the other. So pissed were they, that they started a war. Ultimately, Algorac was defeated and lost his power eye and was imprisoned in the Forbidden Zone of the sea. The Ocean God, Oceanus, was given the Algorac’s eye. The Fire Goddess, Hyperia, created the Holy Flame so that the sea will be calm. And thus Water children and Fire children are kept apart.

One day, the Prince of the Sea, Siruis, goes into the Forbidden Zone and meet the Fire child, Princess Malta, who guards the Holy Flame every night. The two fall in love with each other. Sirius tells her that he must leave before dawn as the sun kills children of the water as the water kills children of the fire. They then decide to meet every night at the Holy Flame.

Oceanus gives the Eye of Algorac to Sirius making him the King of the Sea. And some salamander thing wants to be king and causes conflict. Hyperia tells Malta that when the solar ellipse occurs, Malta will be the new Queen of Fire and her duty guarding the Holy Flame will be over thus ending her time with Sirius. Sirius and Malta then learn from a wise sea turtle that during the ellipse a special flowers will bloom for a moment and when they do the blossoms will rises up to a star where Fire and Water live as one. They plan to go there so they can be together.

However a lot of things go down and Malta makes it to the hill but Sirius is too late and the sun kills him. Malta in her grief returns him to the water and dies. Oceanus then retrieves their bodies and lifts them up to the star where they can be  one.

Malta and Piale The Sea Prince and the Fire Child Picture image

Malta and Piale

I left a lot of plot out the synopsis. Sirius and Malta both have loyal friends who die so they can be together. Siruis has Bibble and Malta has Piale. Bibble, I will just say, is annoying but he does a desperate move for Sirius and loses his life so he redeems himself a little.

After Malta and Sirius learn about the hill and the flowers, the Holy Flame goes and Piale urges them to go and Piale become a replacement for the Holy Flame which kills her. While I find both characters annoying, in their deaths they display more depths than our leads.

Sirius and Malta The Sea Prince and the Fire Child Picture image

Sirius and Malta

Sirius and Malta are flat characters. They don’t have much personality. They love each other and that is it. I will say that I do think they truly love each other but it’s kind like “your attractive and forbidden that makes you cute” kind of love. If love is forbidden then that makes the audience care for the couple even if there is no depth. But it’s fine simplicity isn’t bad. Their love is effective for the story.

Fire Goddess Hyperia The Sea Prince and the Fire Child Picture image

Fire Goddess Hyperia

I think the main issue with this movie is that something were not explained very well, or at all. Like the water god and the fire goddess were one but the wind god turned them against each other. How does that work? How did the wind god turn them against each other so easily if they were part of each other? What did they look like when they were one? Are Sirius and Malta cousin? Who is Malta’s father and Sirius’ mother?  Why doesn’t the Forbidden Zone have any guards but Oceanus’ chamber has two? Who guards the Holy Flame by day or does it just need attending at night? Why can’t Malta and Sirius just live in a dark cave?

 Sirius seeing Malta for the first time  The Sea Prince and the Fire Child Picture image

Sirius seeing Malta for the first time

The biggest head starcher is why does Malta look more water-like and Sirius looks more fire-like? I have to assume it was intentional to show that Fire and Water were once one but looking at the characters it’s a little confusing.

It’s still weird that Malta is the only fire child with green hair. At least Bibble has red hair. The character designs are also a little weird, Malta’s in nude but the tail-like things are even stranger.

Sirius and Bibble The Sea Prince and the Fire  Child Picture image

Sirius and Bibble

Despite the bad dubbing, the annoying Bibble, the lack of depth of main characters, slow pacing and the general confusing-ness, I liked The Sea Prince and the Fire Child. It’s a classic tale with some great animation and I admit, I do love forbidden love stories every  once and awhile.

 

 

I was on a hunt for information on the upcoming Josh Brolin version of Hunchback and I found a 2007 version that had a cast and script attached. I’m a little unsure if the movie is in preproduction or in development hell or finished or what. It’s seems to be called, The Hunchback, real original.

It seems to be lead by actor Max Ryan and seems to be another vanity project. According to cinema.theiapolis.com, Monica Cruz plays Esmeralda and John Rhys-Davies plays Frollo. Both actors are listed under “in negotiations.” It’s a little funny because Hazel D’Jan, who has a good look and is fairly age appropriate for Esmeralda is casted in the film as “Figment,” whatever that means. Since this movie seems up in the air and may not happen or did not happen or did, I can’t find lot information on this, I will hold off judgement on Cruz and Rhys-Davis, though methinks casting posts are in order.

However, the Script did win Best Screenplay at the Queen International Film Festival in 2007 and that is what I want to discuss. You can read a synopsis  RIGHT HERE 
I may seem like a book purist but I’m a fan of good adaptations. This movie might be great but based on the little info I have on the plot, I dunno how good this version is or will be. Here are 5 WTF things from the plot summary.

– Quasimodo parents loved him and Clopin killed his parents to sell him but Quasimodo escaped. Shame on you movie for making Clopin evil.

– Frollo is guilted into caring for Quasimodo. Disney did the same thing but this Frollo seems less gray than Disney Frollo, this Frollo is a Grade-A jerk-face.

– Quasimodo lives in “the cave” of Notre Dame. Not sure that that means but they elude to it being in the high grounds. Shrugs

– Quasimodo saves Esmeralda when she attacked by wolves. What? Huh? Kidnapping is not evil enough for you movie? Oh, that would imply Frollo and Quasimodo have a relationship where Quasimodo loves Frollo and would do anything for him and in this version they hate each other. It’s new, I give it that but it’s dumb. It also seem like Frollo involvment with Esmeralda comes from Quasimodo’s first involvement and not the other way around.

– Frollo kills the guy who guilted him into raising Quasimodo and frames Esmeralda. Semi ripping of the 1997 version here, huh?

It strikes me that this plot took too many liberties with the original and made some dumb choices. But who know maybe it’s better than the little PDF makes it out to be.

What are your thoughts on this plot? And if you have or find any more info on the this version let me know.

Now that we’re done looking at Disney sequels, we going to start reviewing movies that were not made by Disney and feature a Princess-like character or Non-Disney Princess Movies. Some you have heard of and some you may not be familiar with. I’m going try to the reviews in Chronological order but some might be out order pending if I can find them and stuff. Anyway let’s get start with the 1939 version of Gulliver’s Travels .

Guillver's Travels picture image

Guillver’s Travels

1939 was a great year for movies, we had Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz and even the Charles Laughton’s version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, unfortunately Gulliver’s Travel didn’t get that memo and we get a weird annoying little movie. Get it, because they’re small in Gulliver’s Travel.

Gulliver pulling ships Guillver's Travels picture image

Gulliver pulling ships

The story is a sailor named Gulliver washes up on a beach. The island is inhabited by little people. As he sleeps he is  found by Gabby, a watchman. While that is going on the King of Lilliput is arranging the marriage of his daughter Princess Glory to Prince David of Blefuscu. However the kings get into a fight over the wedding song and declare war, makes sense.

It’s then that Lilliputian go to the beach and tie up Gulliver. Turns out Gulliver is really chill and the Lilliputian love him and decide to use him in their war. Gulliver learns the reason for the war from Glory and David, who are quite in love and offers a comprise that they merge the songs. Then Gulliver tries to stop the war and David gets a little hurt when some spies from Blefuscu try to shot Gulliver but he’s fine and happy ending.

Gabby Guillver's Travels picture image

Gabby

So what is wrong with this movie? Oh, lots of thing. First and foremost the movie has this really weird problem of focusing on annoying characters. Pretty much everyone in this movie is annoying. Gulliver is a little annoying but not so bad. Glory and David aren’t really characters more like walking plot points that sing.

No, it’s all the old little guys. Gabby is most annoying fucker I have ever seen. This guy does not shut up ever. Give me the Gargoyles, fuck it give me the instruments from Enchanted tales version of Hunchback. Gabby is the worst. The kings are also annoying but slightly less than Gabby. The film wouldn’t be as bad if they didn’t dominate the screen. My favorite part was the ending confrontation because Gabby was in a bag through most of it.

Princess Glory and Prince David Guillver's Travels picture image

Princess Glory and Prince David

The movie also likes to shift anyway from Glory and David for the annoying Kings and Gabby. It might a 1930s style and attitude towards animation but it like damn movie give me a break from the goofy characters and let the pretty people just sing their forgettable love songs.

Guillver's Travels picture image

Gulliver

Another issue I had is the animation. The goofy characters are very cartoonish whereas the pretty characters are clearly rotoscope. In Gulliver’s case traced straight from live footage and given no cartoonish tweaks like Glory and David. The different style was REALLY jarring.

Princess Glory and Prince David Guillver's Travels picture image

Princess Glory and Prince David

 

As a Princess goes Glory is there but she doesn’t do much other than sing, pout, sing and have ONE LINE of spoken dialogue. She does stub Gulliver’s feast because she mad about her and David not getting married for a stupid reason. But if the movie did focus a little more of her she could have been interesting. I mean she likable enough because she didn’t annoy me.

King Little and King Bombo Guillver's Travels picture image

King Little and King Bombo

I would say if you like that old style of cartoons, or you want to be well-verse on cartoon history or you just curious about  one of the most annoying waste of cel animation ever You should check  out Gulliver’s Travel but I just didn’t care for this movie it was way too padded with annoying characters and forgettable songs.

Disney's Descendants picture image

Disney’s Descendants

Disney is going to release an original Disney Channel movie in 2015 called Descendants. Now an original Disney Channel should indicate that one should either stop reading or turned their brain off, I did neither and regretted it.

Descendants is about  the children of the Disney characters going to a prep-school. Ben, the son of Belle and Beast who is set to take the throne, gives redemption to the villain’s children. These the villains children include Jafar, Cruella and Maleficent’s kids. This is the point where my brain collapse in on its self. Jafar, Cruella and Maleficent  occupy  the same time space. Jafar is from psudo-medieval Arabia, Cruella from 1960s London and Maleficent is from Renaissance Europe. I wrote a Fan-fiction when I was 9 with characters from different point in history and places and I deemed it too stupid but they made a movie on it.

Then there are the kid’s names. Maleficent’s daughter is Mal, Jafar’s kid is Jay, Cruella’s son is Carlos and The Evil Queen’s is, are  you ready, it’s pretty stupid, it is Evvie. Why not just go their and Evilette or something.

 

This project has stupid written all over it.

Belle’s Magical World picture image

Belle’s Magical World

If one Beauty and the Beast Midquel wasn’t enough, fear not they made a second one called Belle’s Magical World. Belle’s Magical World is different as instead one dumb story, we get four dumb stories.

Crane, LaPlume, and Webster Belle’s Magical World picture image

Crane, LaPlume, and Webster

The aim of each story is someone learns a lesson. Trouble is, it’s pretty much the same the lesson. The first story is Belle and the Beast fight about Beast’s attitude. They both demand apologies, so a meddling pen, stack of paper and a dictionary forge an apology letter to Belle from the Beast. So Belle says she is sorry. But when Beast finds out about the forgery he gets pissed and throws the three meddlers out.

However, they come back as they get lost and Belle lets them in and then Beasts forgives him. A side story deals with Lumiere forgiving a chandelier for outshining him when actually the Chandelier just wanted to be close to him or something. Forgiveness is the lesson here.

Fifi and Lumiere, Belle’s Magical World picture image

Fifi and Lumiere

The second story deals with Fifi, the feather duster, and Lumiere. Lumiere forgets their anniversary, so he ask Belle to help him plan something. But Fifi thinks Belle is moving in on her man. Lumiere makes a sleigh for them. Then Fifi see it was for her. But the sleigh goes crazy and they almost fall off a cliff but it’s ok because Lumiere tells her that he loves her. And then they get saved. Lesson is trust or whatever.

Mrs.Potts and Belle, Belle’s Magical World, picture image

Mrs.Potts and Belle

Third story is Mrs. Potts has Season Affective Disorder (SAD). So the gang excluding Beast, who is napping, decides to throw a party. The hitch is no one can cooperate but in the end they do managed to put on a party and Mrs Potts feels better and then the sun also comes out. Lesson is to work together.

Beast and the bird, Belle’s Magical World picture image

Beast and the bird

The fourth story is Belle finds a wounded bird and wants to care for it. But the Beast hates bird. But then he hears it singing and likes it so he wants to keep it. Belle objects and then he realizes he can keep it prisoner. Lesson is trust and respect.

Beast and Cogsworth, Belle’s Magical World picture image

Beast and Cogsworth

The stories work against the main movie. Beast’s rage pretty much subsides when Belle thanks him for saving her from the wolves. So why is he still so moody. Why does he hate birds so much when in the main movie he tries to feed them? Is meant to be an off-shot? I doubt it. Lumire and Fifi seemed to have more of a sexual flirtation then a significant romance. Lumire and Cogworth have a rivalry that never cleared up so it’s pointless for the to learn to work together only to really forget it. This movie hurts my brain.

Belle and Lumiere, Belle’s Magical World picture image

Belle and Lumiere

However, I get the point of this movie. This movie was more than likley a pilot for a TV show in the same vein as the Little Mermaid show, where the characters learn stuff. However, the idea of a midquel show is stupid, especailly for Beauty and the Beast. First, you have a small window for the show to take place in, a few weeks, tops. Sidenote the season changes are all over the place in this movie. Second, Beauty and the Beast is localized to the Beast’s castle so the stories and characters are limited which makes it boring.

Belle and the Beast, Belle’s Magical World picture image

Belle and the Beast

And yes this movie is dull. There can only be new insights to side characters but even then the movie doesn’t add much and it only confuses. Belle and the Beast can’t grow in the movie, they can only stay in an awkward friendship or go backwards and be angry with each other. I guess the people in-charge knew the idea of a show was a dud but package it as a movie to make a quick buck.

Belle, Belle’s Magical World

I have no positives for Belle’s Magical World. It sucks.

I come across this poll on Imdb called Monsters in Love. Among the monsters is our pal Quasimodo.  The picture they used for him is from Hotel Transylvania. Before I continue I just want to say, I don’t hate Hotel Transylvania I just hated Quasimodo’s depiction in it.

Hotel Transylvania picture image

Hotel Transylvania

That being said I’m not bothered enough that they used Hotel Transylvania’s Quasimodo to make a post on it, I’m bother that the picture they use has Jonathan right in the middle and Quasimodo off to the side of the image.

Not-Quasimodo Wilson, Jonathan the Human and Adam Sandler Hotel Transylvania picture image

Not-Quasimodo Wilson, Jonathan the Human and Adam Sandler Hotel Transylvania

Above is the picture that was used  for Quasimodo.  Except they used a tiny thumbnail  which cuts off Quasimodo a little past the ear. All the other monster got a clear shot. Why not Quasimodo?

Lon Chaney as the Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image Quasimodo

Lon Chaney as the Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Not sure why they didn’t go for the Lon Chaney version or Laughton?  Chaney would have been perfect as the 1923 version started the monster movie trend.

Plus Quasimodo in Hotel Transylvania wasn’t even in love unless you count the love of food? Somehow, I doubt it

 

Walt Disney Characters  picture image

Walt Disney Characters

I grew up Disney, hell most of us have. But few of us remember when Disney wasn’t not the huge power house it was in the 1990s. Prior 1990 Disney was going through a slump, The Black Caldron was a major failure and lead animator, Don Bluth left to form a rival animation company that made such great animated films as The Secret of NiMH, An American Tale, and my personal favorite The Land Before Time . And then everything changed with the success of Roger Rabbit. From then, Disney went into a Golden Age making such gems as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. After The Lion King, Disney slipped a little. The films after Lion King did not do as well. And then Pixar walked into Disney’s life and pretty much saved Disney. Since Pixar’s success, Disney’s focus has shifted from the 2-d hand-drawn animated movies to 3-D animated movies. Disney in addition to producing Pixar movies also have made a few 3-D movies on their own. The only recent 2-d animated movie they did was the 2009 The Princess and the Frog which returned to the princess formula. It wasn’t a bad movie, though why they got Randy Newman and not Alan Menken is beyond me. They also made in 2011, Winnie the Pooh. However, neither The Princess and Frog or 2011’s Winnie the Pooh were a huge commercial success and Disney has no plans to make any more hand-drawn movies at present.

Sven and Olaf from Frozen picture image

Sven and Olaf from Frozen

Disney is still going on the princess angle though with its 3-D movies. In 2010 Disney made Tangled which was based on the Fairy Tale Rapunzel. Tangled was meh-ish at best. It had a nice story, some decent songs but the character never captured me except the horse and the lizard. Now Disney is set to release Frozen. Frozen is very very very loosely based off the Hans Christian Andersen story “The Snow Queen.”

The Swing  by Jean-Honore Fragonard picture image

The Swing by Jean-Honore Fragonard

Here is my point, when I saw concept art for Tangled and Frozen I thought “Wow cool.” Tangled was said to take an art style from the Rocco painting “The Swing.” I kind of imagined the film would emulate that painting more. But Nope, Tangled looks fairly genetic 3-D movie. I really only seen the influence in the leaves.

Frozen Concept Art picture image

Frozen Concept Art

And now that feeling of genericness is justified in Frozen. The concept art I saw was really cool, it has an unearthly look to the Snow Queen. Now she just looks more like the blue fairy.

Anna (Frozen) & Rapunzel (Tangled)) picture image

Anna (Frozen) & Rapunzel (Tangled))

But the main thing is Rapunzel and Anna (Frozen’s Heroine ) look alike. The animators can the changes colors all they want, the viewing public is not that stupid. They have the same eye shape, lips, nose, cheeks, hell they even both have freckles. Really, they could be characters in the same movie. Lush leaves and snow do not constitute a distinct style and feel for a movie. But then again made they are meant to take place in the same world. However if Disney continues with this style it going to get boring. Oh Wait, it’s already boring!

 

A Side-by-Side Comaparsion of teh styles of Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast  picture image Belle Esmeralda

A Side-by-Side Comaparsion of teh styles of Hunchback of Notre Dame and Beauty and the Beast

The great thing about Disney’s hand-drawn films is that they had different styles to complement the story. The Little Mermaid doesn’t look like Mulan. Even Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame which take place in the same Country and were done by the same directors look stylistically different. (Fun Fact – when Frozen was being development, at one point Hunchback and Beauty and Beast Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale were recruited to direct the film but the project was put on hold.)

Walt Disney drawing Steamboat Willie picture image

Walt Disney drawing Steamboat Willie

You have to wonder is the ease of computers robbing Disney of its style when it comes to the look and feel of its films? Given Tangled and Frozen, I would say yes. Most of the 3-D fair movie look plastic and devoid of personality. But perhaps Disney can pioneer the 3-D art to have give it a whole new look. Or better yet GO BACK TO THE HAND-DRAWN FILMS!!!!!!!!!!

 

Les Misérables Poster, picture image

Les Misérables Poster

I finally got around to seeing the movie version of the musical of Les Misérables. Before I discuss this movie I will admit that I’m not the target audience for it. I was not well acquainted with musical prior to seeing this film and while do like the idea of Musical movies I only really like a few of them. That said I really didn’t care for this movie, I didn’t hate I just didn’t like it. (WARNING; this gets ranty)

Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Les Miserables , picture image

Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Les Miserables (Get used to this framing style, it’s everywhere )

 

Les Misérables fails as movie. There is a visual language to movies that keep it interesting for a viewer. When a movie just has a actor perform without any camera work or interesting edits for 3 minutes the scene becomes stall. There is no point to filming a movie if you are not going to present the story in way that is visually interesting. I Dreamed a Dream is a prime a example.

Anne Hathaway as Fatine performing  I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables, picture image

Anne Hathaway performing I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables (This looks more like an Ad than a still from a film)

Anne Hathaway gives a heartbreaking performance but after 30 seconds I became distracted by lacks of edits. How about a reverse shot? Even if was one take you can still have two camera angels. How about some zooms or pans. How about using the space in your sets? What’s with this stationary medium shot that is off center? It’s dull. The camera moves a bit but it’s really just to keep up with Hathaway’s movement and maintaining the frame. I understand that director Tom Hooper likes the off center placement of the shots and consider it “his thing”. It does promote a feeling of uncomfortableness and it worked well in The King’s Speech but it doesn’t work in Les Miserables. though it works in I Dreamed a Dream but I find it distracting after 30 seconds. Watching Anne Hathaway sing uncut for 3 minutes is not really any different from seeing the musical live but at least at live a performance you feel the energy of the actor. Then again, maybe I’m just heartless.

 

Paris, maybe, Les Miserables, picture image

Paris, maybe, Les Miserables

Then there is the issue that film doesn’t have any establishing shots and doesn’t give any indication of the passage of time. This make the narrative feel confused. But more than that without establishing shots you can’t see the sets. What is the point to having these sets that look like they could be great if you not going to show them to the viewer.

Samantha Barks as Eponine Les Misérables, picture image

Samantha Barks as Eponine Les Misérables

The point of taking a musical and making a film is to give the songs and story a visually interesting telling. The most interesting visual presentation of a song in this movie is Stars. Javert is walking on the edge of a bridge. That is interesting! (Even if Russell Crow was miserable in this movie) Jean Valjean pacing back and forth in a church, dull. Fantine crying about her life because of her crap day and half uncut, didn’t work visually . Epoine walking heart broken in the rain, zzzzzzz (and I like that song). What is the point of adapting this if your not going to be interesting with staging, filming or editing? Was it just to use establish actor is these roles? I think it might have been. Frankly I don’t give crap if the actor are singing live for a more a emotional performance. They played this way too straight. They should have been more artistic. The whole of this movie feels like gimmick to use the live singing and promote it. After all that seems what the film and the director are concern about not the viewer’s experience watching a movie.

Samatha Barks as Epoine & Eddie Redmayne as Marius Les Miserables 2012, picture image

Samatha Barks as Epoine & Eddie Redmayne as Marius,
Les Miserables

However, because the film tries to play with the viewers’ emotions about these people we have to look at the characters to see if the film was successful. Because the film steamrolls over the narrative I can’t feel for any of these characters. It’s like BAM here is a character, BAM here’s their issue, BAM they’re in trouble don’t you feel sad? Answer, Not really. You meet Fantine, I don’t know who this character is so don’t feel that much when she goes through her hellish day and half (without time passage I don’t know how much time pass between her firing and death). How did she die? I know she dies of TB in the book but in the movie it seem it like death by plot….? Sorry Fantine, I wasn’t moved. I didn’t get a sense of your character so meh to you. Epoine same, you like Marius that’s nice he’s not into you….. ok…. oh you’re dead…… oh well. Javert’s obsession? Didn’t see it at all.

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean,  Les Misérables, picture image

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Les Misérables

Oddly enough the rare lines that are spoken (like 3 lines) were most genuine parts of the movie. I feel like Hathaway and Jackman were trying to win awards. Crow didn’t seem to care very much. Redmayne, Tviet and Barks did seem to try and they were at least successful for the most part. I think Tviet was probably the best as Enjolras.

Do you hear the people sing, Les Miserables, picture image

Do you hear the people sing, Les Miserables

Do you hear the people sing felt like a movie, with visuals, that were slightly interesting, that kept your attention. Though I could do without the Dutch angles…. a pox on Dutch angles.

Anne Hathaway and  her Oscar,picture image

Anne Hathaway and her Oscar

I feel like this movie was blatant Oscar bait and considering it was nominated or 8 Academy Awards and won three I guess it was successful. It also won heaps of other awards and earned $437,710,466 at the box office, its budget was $61,000,000, and grossed $376,710,466. So, it was successful at that end of movie making which is the important part for studio. The film however has a polarizing effects on audiences and critically was not much cared for. Had the movie had clear establishing shots, clear passage of time indication, and more interesting presentations of scenes and songs it could have been much better. But for m,e as a viewer, it failed to be visually entertaining and emotional interesting.