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Universal's adaptation of the beloved musical, based on Victor Hugo's 1863 novel, has generated big buzz in Hollywood, but how will moviegoers respond?PHOTOS: ' Les Miserables': Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman Pose for THR Critics gave Tom Hooper's film generally favorable reviews, with many praising Hooper's decision to record his actors singing live, rather than in a studio.The Schonberg anthems retain their kick, smartly arranged for the screen and performed by a cast that is nothing if not game.(Jackman lost weight to play the part of the emaciated convict, then put on 30 lb.A 70-piece orchestra was added later to bring out the beauty and thunder in the score, by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer. The convict known as 24601 escapes and makes a respectable life for himself as a small-town mayor. Hunted relentlessly by the policeman Javert (Russell Crowe), Valjean is almost caught again when he tries to help poor, doomed Fantine (Anne Hathaway), a factory girl who sells her hair, her teeth and her body to support her child, Cosette.A dynamite Hathaway shatters every heart when she sings how 'life has killed the dream I dreamed.' Her volcanic performance has Oscar written all over it." Michael Phillips: "I didn't like it. There's no genre I cherish more than film musicals.You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir." is sweeping, as would be expected given the scope of the hugely popular stage musical from which it is adapted.But it's also wonderfully intimate, thanks to Tom Hooper's deft direction.
As the enduring success of this property has shown, there are large, emotionally susceptible segments of the population ready to swallow this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean it's good…Although not terrible, the music soon begins to slur together to the point where you'd be willing to pay the ticket price all over again just to hear a nice, pithy dialogue exchange between Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe rather than another noble song that sounds a lot like one you just heard a few minutes earlier.There were 49 identifiable musical numbers in the original show, and one more has been added here." , Mr. But his inability to leave any lily ungilded -- to direct a scene without tilting or hurtling or throwing the camera around -- is bludgeoning and deadly.Russell Crowe's voice may be wrong for Inspector Javert — he spends most of the score straining in his upper register, while sounding like an amalgam of all four Beatles — but already he's taking the rap for single-handedly dragging "Les Miz" down, which is silly.The movie drags itself down." PHOTOS: ' Les Miserables' World Premiere: Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway Celebrate Musical's Big-Screen Adaptation , whose script by William Nicholson is faithful in most particulars to the show, remains a grand sob story on a noble plane -- a tale of justice outraged, as Valjean marches in song up his 40-year calvary and a silent God looks down without intervening in the cruelties man perpetrates on man and woman.