More than just a typically stilted musical in a period setting, and certainly better than Tim Burton’s black comedy horror Sweeney Todd (which also featured the always wonderful Helena Bonham Carter), this is a grandly cinematic adventure, a saga of surviving the hardships of poverty and finding a heart-warming redemption in coldly unsympathetic society of 19th century France. Russell Crowe is a sturdy presence as Javert, even when he’s not on-screen, and there is a great supporting performance from the talented Anne Hathaway as Fantine, easily vaulting far higher (like Catwoman meets Wolverine!), from the emotional depths of her blameless downfall than the lesser scales attained by Hugh Jackman’s weaker voice and acting ability as Valjean. Amanda Seyfried’s typical spectacularly-elfin glamour is subdued for her pivotal role as Cosette as “the pain goes on and on” for broken lives and failures in this longwinded retelling of an already familiar story of tragedy and misery. But, at the end of the day, I must admit that Billie August’s 1998 version, played - much less hysterically - as straightforward historical crime drama, remains a superior entertainment. The blu-ray is out now, and it looks and sounds great.