Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Review of Focus on the Family's Audio Dramatized Les Misérables

9 years ago, before, the 2012 movie was released, before I'd even heard of Les Misérables, and before the Broadway musical had hit its 25th anniversary, Focus on the Family released an audio dramatization based of Hugo's Les Misérables.

A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to listen to it. I'd like to review it, but since I'm not very good at neat, paragraphed reviews, I will present my impressions in two "pros" and "cons" columns.


Cons~ 

1. They changed Fauchelvent's name. Whhaat? I seriously have no idea why. I mean, the substitute, "Lamont", is fun as well, but there was no clear reason to change a perfectly good name.

The switch seemed to indicate that they were not targeting people who'd actually read the book. Not a good choice. xD

2. They abridged Fantine's story. It was supposed to be appropriate for the older elementary age, so I can see why they'd want to leave out some details of her background, but the book includes a really interesting sequence of her selling her furniture, her incisors, and her hair, which was sadly condensed for the dramatization.

3. The script writer(s) added religious themes that weren't in the original book.

The book's themes lend themselves well to the doctrines of a variety of religions. But the writers, who were coming from a Protestant worldview, tried to paste their "salvation through faith" references into the dialogue. As a Protestant, I agreed with it all and almost liked it, but was also annoyed how they intruded on Hugo's intention.

And if they'd really wanted to get out the gospel message, there would've been more mention of salvation through Christ, but then that would've made me even more mad since, in the book, I don't think the characters mentioned Jesus.

4. They got Marius and Cosette's romance all wrong. ("Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?")

5. Enjolras's characterization was squeezed into the ten(or less) minutes of lines he got.

me: not impressed 


6. They portrayed Marius as a much more likable person than he was in...(wait for it...)....the book. How many times have I said "the book"?


Pros~ 

1. Marius sounded like Marius. :D Wow, aren't you glad I've got my priorities straight?

2. The ending was very emotionally powerful. Even beyond my expectations for a Les Mis dramatization. I experienced similar emotional aftereffects to what the book gave me.

3. It didn't make any seriously major changes to the story.

4. No tangents! Whoop whoop!!

5. The background music was good.

6. It was entertaining.

~~~

My three word analysis? Flawed but enjoyable.

Recommendation: For people who are 1). big Les Mis geeks, 2). too busy to read the book, 3). wanting to skip the inappropriate content of the play, 4). not purists.

If you are any of those people, I'd say go for it!  Here's the link to buy it: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio-theatre/les-mis.aspx

Or get it from your library system like I did.

Thanks for reading!!


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