Haven't posted here in five years but I figure now is as good of a time as any. I'm assuming that we can discuss spoilers in this thread?
I'm about to go on a stream of conscience here...
On a whole, I loved it. I think they got a lot of things right. I have some complaints but nothing to really bring down the quality of the movie.
The performances were pretty good, in terms of movie musicals. I was worried about Crowe based off of clips beforehand but he did a fine job, in the context of the film. He still came off a bit flat or overmatched at times. I probably still would've preferred a more classical singer; perhaps Alan Rickman or some one who performed the role on stage (my favorite Javert, Roger Allam, is probably too old now).
Jackman did a good job with it. He struggled on a few of the parts more than I expected him to but on a whole he handed in a solid performance. Just wish they aged him a little bit more in the second act.
Hathaway was perfect; absolutely no complaints there. I thought Seyfried did a fine job. Barks was great but that is to be expected. I thought Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit stole the show though. The scenes with them were pretty fantastic. The barricade section as a whole was perfect, with some great Hugo influences.
Some of the lyric changes and exclusions were a bit annoying and didn't make much sense. I think the new lyrics in some parts killed the flow and were a bit clunky and unnecessary...but that may be because I'm so used to the libretto. I won't pretend to be unbiased though, because some of my favorite little bits were left out. I may be crazy but I think they could've used the stage script close to word for word and it would still work. That being said, I don't mind them moving the songs around as their new spots made some sense.
"Suddenly" was pretty forgettable.
The opening sequence was awesome, I thought. I love what they did with the ship and Valjean carrying the flag, which tied into the cart segment (which I wish they left more of the original lines in).
The Thenardiers were fine. They played their roles well, although I think they overpowered Valjean a little bit when he arrives to pick up Cosette, which is a shame because I love the IDAD reprise Valjean does.
The end was absolutely amazing. I loved the inclusion of the Bishop. I always thought the finale would be tough to put on film but they did it.
Another little thing I loved was Javert tenderly pinning the medal onto Gavroche's body. A great inclusion to add to what should be a complicated, layered character.
The atmosphere and cinematography of the film was perfect. The grit and realism really fit. I was unsure going in about how the long closeups would work (I was worried it may come off as awkward) but they worked extremely well I thought (especially in IDAD). I also liked the dutch angles, which have been scrutinized a bit.
My main concern, and this may have just been my theater, was that the score was WAY too low. The actors' voices and sound effects overpowered it. Sometimes when the music was supposed to swell, it didn't. I guess it could be a director decision but I would think that would assist some of the untrained voices. Was this only my theater or have others noticed this?
It is a good companion of the stage production. Those that are expecting the same as the show are bound to be disappointed. It's a different flavor. I'm sure there will be times when I'll want to watch the film on DVD and then some times when I'd rather watch the TAC or 25th concerts.
Not that my opinion matters much but I'll give it 4.5 out of 5, although closer to a 5 then a 4.
Of course these are just my initial impressions; I maybe completely change my mind next time