The special features of the DVD version 2012 Tom Hooper cinematic rendition of the musical Les Misérables are an excellent set of appendices to the film. The four features, found in the bonus menu, cover a large amount of information about the adaption of the musical version of the Hugo novel as a film from casting, to set design, to a biography of Victor Hugo, and of course Tom Hooper’s commentary on the film itself.
The Stars of “Les Misérables” feature answers many questions some viewers may have about the casting choices. “It’s not about show business, it’s about storytelling,” as Sir Cameron Mackintosh, one of the film’s producers said. The feature goes on to give the thoughts of the cast on their roles, which is further discussed in the next two features.
Creating the Perfect Paris offers an exciting view of the construction of the ABC Café Paris set, and displays the difficulty of depicting early 19th century Paris when so little of its layout has survived to the present due to later redevelopments.
The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo’s “Les Misérables” is a fine condensed biography of the original author, the great French romantic Victor Hugo. It heavily features Dr. Laure Murat, Associate Professor of French at UCLA.
The Director’s Commentary is an excellent insight into Hooper’s thinking behind his direction for the film. I personally enjoy watching the commentary, and the special features, as I find they give a greater insight into the making and philosophy behind the film itself. This is especially evident in this collection.
The only minor issues I could find were that the closed captioning appeared over the faces of the people being interviewed, and that the Blu Ray copy would not let me return to the disc menu. Otherwise, I highly admire the way in which these special features were set up and what is covered.
The Blu Ray extras goes further in depth into the music and musical performance in the film with “Les Misérables” a Legendary Approach, a five part feature, which includes some of the film from the DVD special features, but with even more added material.
I would give the Les Misérables Special Features a 4 out of 5.