Thursday, December 27, 2012

Les Miserables - The Five Star Movie Musical

I am a big fan of musicals. Less so than some other things, but still, I have many among my collections. Hollywood used to make them even if Broadway didn't, and of course they adapted all the major musicals of the day, sometimes more than once.

The latest in this long line is Les Miserables. Unlike many movies, this production is helmed by the the man who originally produced it for the stage, coupled with an Academy Award willing director. This set the bar for what I was expecting very high and the film paid off. As a particular fan of Les Miserables (the novel) and being familiar with many of the adpations, this film is one of the three best adaptions of the book to every be filmed. The other two were French productions. Well, so was this in many ways. Most people know this musical as a Broadway or West End production, but the creators are French. To quote Wikipedia, "music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, original French lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel, with an English-language libretto by Herbert Kretzmer"

So why did they get it right and others who have brought the tale to the screen fail? Because they told the whole story. All of the Hollywood versions of the story end with Javert's suicide. Having listened to the Complete Symphonic Recording of the musical and read the book, I was in shock when the Liam Niesen film went from Javert's suicide to credits. For how excellent it had been up until then, that ruined the film for me and I have never watched it again. some of the older version stray even further.

One of the problems with adapting Les Miserables to the screen is length. It is a huge story. It was first printed in 1862 in five volumes (for those interested, Project Gutenberg has digitized the original French edition and it can be found in the odd library). Each volume was approximately 100,000 words making the whole roughly half a million words. Roughly the same length as The Lord of the Rings. That one was brought to film as three 2 1/2 hour movies. Fortunately Victor Huge tended to ramble on. Before you ever meet Thenardier or Marius, you get a detailed examination of the Waterloo battlefield. He manages to keep such side track interesting and riveting with his excellent writing, but much of that can be dropped. Even so you are left with a huge volume of story.

The two French versions that tell the complete story are the 1958 film staring Jean Gabin clocking in at 210 minutes, and the 2001 TV miniseries staring Gerard Depardieu consisting of 4 90 episodes (360 minutes). My dream is to have the 1958 film, in French, with subtitles. If anyone knows where to find such a version, let me know. I have a descent copy of the 2001 version. Neither one adds any filler and both still omit a detail or two.

Which brings me to the film version of the musical. The musical, first performed in its present form in London's West End at the Barbican Theater in 1985, tells much of the story in song. This allows for cramming much more information into a shorter time period. Still, things are missing. Between the original French concept album and the first performance in 1985, Eponine's sister Azelma vanished. There is nothing to link Eponine and Gavroche, her brother. Fantine's back story only appears in song (where you get the gist of her having a love affair, getting pregnant, and being abandoned). We are given a wonderful song to introduce the Thenardiers that really sets the tone of their character. Song gets right to the heart of the characters with little need for long establishing scenes or explanation. Brilliant song writing gets to the heart in a few hundred words and a few minutes where a normal movie has to spend time showing you the events and Victor Hugo spend endless pages filling in back story. The musical strips away the extraneous and leaves the core story, from beginning to end, with few omissions that are missed in a 180 minutes show.

And then there is the film adaption. Tom Hooper didn't just adapt the musical for film. No, this is a re-adaption using musical as its inspiration. In so many ways he went back to the book and restored much of what had been lost (sadly, Azelma still didn't make the cut, even as a background character). Marius's Grandfather is back, we flash to Gavroche when Eponine dies, the letters are in their proper place, and we finally get to see the convent where Jean Valjean and Cossette hid for many years. The musical has been adjusted to be closer to the book.

Most of all, we break from the musical format. A musical is performed on stage where the audience is by necessity distant from the action. My wife and I had excellent seats for the touring production that came to Denver in 2011. As I watched the movie, and reexamined it after the fact, I came to the conclusion that the movie give us an intimacy that the stage production just can't. That is a flaw in many filmed musicals, you still aren't in the action. I this film, you are there, you are with the characters. It isn't just the closeness of the camera, the final piece that lets us in the story is that the actors were signing live. You hear and see what the camera caught. There are effects (much of the wider picture, such as the ships and port in the opening scene, are added), but they are just set dressing. Much of the film comes to the theater as filmed, sound and image.

My previous favorite musical adaptions were Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music, both are a mix of dialog and music. Les Miserables is more music than dialog. It could have been dry like the adaption of Phantom of the Opera, but the live singing isn't just a gimmick, it brings the audience into the film. Think of it as sonic 3D. On top of that were an excellent cast, adept at acting and singing, fantastic sets and costumes, an attention to detail for the period, epic cinematography and editing. I found many of these roles, especially the three female lead roles, to be the best of any version of the musical I have heard, and I've heard a lot of them.

As a movie adaption of a musical, it is excellent. Hollywood can't help but change things and the difference between this and Phantom of the Opera is in stark contrast. Phantom was very faithful but lacked heart. Something didn't click. Les Miserables clicks, everything works, and yet it is not nearly as faithful. Words were changed, songs omitted, songs added, and yet it is even more powerful than the original musical. Tom Hooper's changes all bring the movie closer to the book and the original powerful story. Every change serves to heighten the emotional impact of an already stirring musical. I couldn't help thinking that the stage production could be improved by adopting some of the changes made for the movie. Normally I detest changes that Hollywood makes as they tend to detract rather than add. The two film version of South Pacific pale in comparison to a Nebraska community production of the original stage version. Yet this time, each change, although noticeable, only enhances, never detracts.

I can't wait to see it again and see what else I notice. The more I see it the less I'll notice the changes and the more I'll enjoy it. After just 1 viewing I would say it is the greatest movie musical of all time. It might end up supplanting Gone With the Wind and Star Wars as the film I consider the greatest of all time. I definitely give it 5 stars.

What Makes A Good Review

This topic has been on my mind for a while, especially since yesterday. In fact, as I plan on writing a movie review for my next post, you may end up reading that post before this one. No matter. It relates to reviews of all sorts.

Part of what sparked this was an absolutely horrible review of the film Les Miserables that can be found on CNN's website. I gave the reviewer and F, not because she panned the Golden Globe nominated film, but because of the content an nature of the review. Not every film is for everyone, but when you are in the business of writing a review, it needs to have information useful to those reading it. This particular review had nothing of use and really didn't say much besides showing that the reviewer hated the music the movie was based on and didn't seem to realize that was based on a classic book. There was little information on the quality of film making (be in writing, cinematography, set design, sound editing, film editing, singing caliber, acting quality, casting choices, or much else). The only thing that was clear was that she didn't like the musical and had judged the film based on that dislike and that she found Russell Crow's performance to be forced.

It is a perfect example of how NOT to write a review. Whether you are doing this professionally or because you have an opinion to share, you need to explain yourself in a manner that gets to the heart of what you like or don't like. For instance, I intensely dislike Star Trek: Generations. Why? Simple, the part of the story that revolves around Geordi and the hack of his visor throws 7 years of good writing for the series out the window. For someone who watched the TV series (the target audience for the film) it yanked you right out of the film. Yes, it was that bad. Those same tricks had been tried time and again in the series and the crew had detected them and performed as trained each time. It was like the crew had been replaced by fakes. Bad writing on one sub-plot destroyed an otherwise descent movie.

That is how you say way you disliked something. It needs to be specific and useful. A reader (or viewer if you make your review recommendations in video format) needs to come away from your review with information so they know if they are likely to agree with your review or disagree. Someone who has not watched the 7 seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation isn't likely to be bothered by the same things that I was about Star Trek: Generations.

This holds true for book reviews. For independent authors, if you want the author to get something out of the review, you have to be specific. I've had a couple of reviews that comment that the book needs editing, but they don't say whether it is typos, grammar issues, or larger story issues. Is this person picky, or did I miss something obvious. I don't know from the general nature of the comment. Be specific. It might be something as simple as they don't like the dialect I write in, or it might be something as major as I used the wrong master document when I formatted it for upload.

Be specific, even if you are saying you liked it. What did you like? The reader of the review needs to know this for the review to be of any use. When reviewing a published book, you can give it a star rating to give your overall impression of it, but if you are going to take the time write something, give some details. Even something as simple as staying the story was enthralling says something. It means you were absorbed and there is a good chance the reader of your review will be as well. Don't say, "I liked it" or "I didn't like it" or "something just didn't work". If that is all you have to say, just give it the star rating or don't do anything.

That said, I have much to say about the film version of Les Miserables. And that is the criteria I use for when to write a review. If I just couldn't get into it and felt it just wasn't for me, that doesn't tell anyone anything, not unless you know exactly what I like and don't. Chances are the reader of a review isn't going to go out and check on all your likes and dislikes. If you become famous, that might be enough, but most reviewers aren't famous and never will be. Give the details and make your review something of value. A book can be well written and in need of proof-reading or it can be a good story that needs some editing to bring it out. Or maybe the movie you saw was well acted but poorly written (though sometimes it is hard to see that like the horror that is Highlander 2).

Give the reader something to go on, something to let them know if your review is useful to them or not. That is how to write a good review.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Art of Voice

If you are a serious writer, you will know what I mean by 'voice'. It seems elusive and nebulous, but I've found it really isn't that hard to understand or to find. The problem most writers have is with quality.

Your writing voice is how you put your words together. All of us who use language to communicate (and I suspect that Dolphins and Wales may be among those numbers) speak in a unique way. Speaking is very natural and we are programmed to learn it as children. Each of us speaks with a unique voice. We adopt slang from our generation or from generations we associate with. We use words common to our environment and we learn how to say things in a certain way by those we have around as our language skills develop. Usually our parents and siblings, who are around us constantly in our first years, are the most influential, but as can be seen from people who grow up speaking multiple languages, school and society are equally important.

All this goes into creating the way we speak. The way we tell stories, such as how our day went, what the dog did with our homework, or to regale an audience with our summer exploits. We have a unique voice even if we are illiterate.

Many people make the great mistake in thinking that writing is our primary form of communications. Writing is just a series of symbols that encode our spoken language into a tangible form that we can share with others. It has recorded the words spoken by others for thousands of years. We can learn how they spoke because for most of human history there was no difference between the written voice and the spoken voice.

Fast forward to modern times. Experts on writing are looking for this mystical thing called 'voice' and can't pin down what it is. Some say you either have it or don't. Some say you can learn it or develop it. Some say everyone has it, it's just a matter of quality. Well, they are all true to some extent. Our modern society has divorced speaking and writing, turning them into two distinct methods of communication. Writing has gained this mythic status as something you have to have talent at. Rubbish! Far too many writers out there make writing far more complicated that it really is and they really want others to believe it is that hard. For the most part they have succeeded, but it is all hogwash.

Writing is speaking through a pen or keyboard. That is all. Just put the words on paper as you would speak them. Too often we get caught in the mystique of writing and forget its origins. For some, this will not result in grammatically acceptable writing, but that is something easy to correct. Good grammar is important for verbal and written communication to maximize your audience. As a society we are far more accepting of oddities in verbal communication then written communication. So that is a concession we have to make. Still, your writer's voice is not some mystical thing, it is the ability to imprint your writing with your unique personality.

I discovered this by accident many years ago when I was tutoring a foreign student in college. She had a paper to write and knew the material very well. But her mistake was to compose it in her native language and then translate it to English. I made her tell me what her idea was verbally and then made her write down what she had just said. The result was an A on the paper. Writers too often try to compose their words and then translate it to the page. The secret is to write it as you would say it. If you have seen the commercials for Dragon Naturally Speaking, there's another example. The people in the commercial go on and on about how it helps make writing easier. Why? Because speech recognition software records your spoken word in text. It bypasses all that translation from thought to speech to writing. If you want to find your writers voice, learn how to speak on the page instead of translating your thoughts into what you think writing should be. You'll get in your own way and obscure your natural voice.

That isn't to say you have the ability to tell a story. That is a different talent only distantly related to your ability to string words together. But it is your ability to string words together that is the key to voice when you write. It puts YOU on the page so that readers can hear your voice when they read your writing. And even the experts tacitly acknowledge this. One of the many ways suggested to improve your writing is to read it aloud. If you follow my advice, when you do that it will flow naturally. Better to have it sound right from the beginning rather than try to fix it at the end. That makes more work and creates and inferior product to what you could have had in the beginning. The closer your rough draft is to your final draft, the more alive it will be. The more it will sing with your own unique voice in every sentence.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What's In A Name? Sometimes Timing

We writers have to know all about words and how to use them. Meanings, definitions, usage, slang, puns, you name it, we have to know. So in a recent political discussion when my opponent used a word to try and label me, it got me thinking. Warning, what follows does contain politics (mine specifically), but pay more attention to the way the words are use

My opponent asked if I was a socialist. What the hell does that word mean? There are a lot of answers. What he meant by the word was a communist. He got that meaning from Glenn Beck. But is that what it really means? No, it isn't. It is, however, a common right wing label for those who espouse a view of government regulation, class leveling social programs, and a perceived godlessness that they feel equates someone to a communist. So in this sense, the word socialist is mean as a pejorative insult. I took it as such and responded with facts that showed they were talking nonsense.

What, then, is socialism? In the modern usage it refers to a different economic system where good are manufactured for consumption, not for sale. Companies are owned the government on behalf of the people or by the the people directly. The former in practice and the later in theory. This was true in the USSR form of Communism. In a pure form, all companies are owned in the same way. However, in general practice this system has been around since pre-history and is nothing new. In the 19th century, the thought was that the workers would take over the companies and the need for governments would vanish. In practice, the ownership always fell to the governments.

Now when I say this has been around since pre-history, what do I mean? The concept of the state (the head of state and defacto owner of everything in the state was usually a monarch) owning companies was very common. It still is. We do not live in a society were everything is done for profit. We have public services, such as water, gas, electricity, police, schools, fire-fighers, paramedics, road construction, and other public works. As you move further back into history, more and more things that we today have as independent businesses were owned an run by the government. The expeditions to the new world were all sponsored and funded by the monarchs of the day. Even going back to castles and cathedrals of Europe, the Great Wall of China, and the Pyramids, these are public works, not private. By strict definition, this is equivalent to the modern socialist ownership of companies by the government. But the thing was, this was never called socialism until the USSR took the Marx's communism and created the USSR and government ownership of everything.

It is from this that the insult arose. I didn't really connect it until I was watching a program on TV and they played a clip from the 1950's where the speaker referred to socialists. He was of course speaking of the USSR. Cut to today and Glenn Beck using it to label President Obama and accusing him of taking over healthcare. First off, for that label to be even tenuously correct, Obamacare would have to in some way take over from the private sector insurance companies. Instead, Obamacare establishes stronger regulation of the capitalistic health insurance industry and mandates that everyone over 130% of the poverty line buy health insurance and then expands Medicaid, the government health care coverage for the poor to cover everyone below 130% of the poverty line. That does not produce a government run healthcare system and does not match the definition of socialism. It is less government run than the other services I mentioned above.

And that brings me to my last definition of socialism. It was actually the first definition of the word, but least used these days. It refers to correcting capitalism for the natural imbalance of rich and poor by leveling the system while not making things equal. This is what all western capitalistic countries practice to reduce poverty. It is no longer called socialism, but things like social programs, social welfare, or, more disparagingly, entitlement programs.

So when someone uses the words socialist or socialism, which one do they mean? As you see, they are not interchangeable. And should you take offense? Probably not. If they intend to be insulting, educate them on what modern socialism means and how it is actually in use in every society in the world. Otherwise a simple yes or no works quite well.

From a writer's point of view, this discussion is important for two reasons. First, the usage for this word over time. The word means something different in 1830, 1880, and 1980. If you write period stories or have any political barbs to throw around in your story, you should know when and how to use the word. Second, this isn't the only word like this. If, like me, you write fiction that takes place in the future, you can come up with other words that might have a history like this. Or, for anything else, you need to research your terms and find out how words are used in context and how they are misused, either in honest mistake or to create a deliberate insult.

Words are crazy and powerful things. When you are talking about one that gets used as a label, you are talking about something even crazier and more powerful. Careful how you use them. Timing is everything.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dreaming of Freedom

Elsewhere in the world, people are not as lucky as we are. Here in this country is the the presidential election year and we are bickering about politics. No one is dying, being killed, being denied their freedoms that we Americans so take for granted.

That is not true elsewhere in the world. Right now, Malala Yousafzai is fighting for her life. Why? she dared to speak out for her right to education. The Taliban in Pakistan found her words a threat and tracked her down and shot her. It really makes our petty bickering seem really dumb.

I don't want to go down a rabbit hole of complaining about troubled, that goes against the point I am trying to make. As we quibble over the right to health care and religious freedoms, we need to remember people like Malala who have to stand up just to get an education.

To learn more about Malala, what she has been through, and what real oppression feels like, please watch this documentary by Adam Ellick - Class Dismiss - on YouTube.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is Silence Golden?

It has been a while since I posted something. As many of you know, I write under a couple of pen names and I have taken the leap of self publishing. As part of my efforts to build that brand, I participated in a blog tour this summer. A post a week on other people's blogs and hosting a post a week on mine. Problem wasn't I didn't have my blog setup very well so I recently remade it. It looks much better now and I'd like to invite anyone who follows this blog to follow that one. It is doubtful I will very often do more than one post at a time. Though I'm going to have three posts in quick succession because I'm going to list all my posts on other blogs.

So, my silence really wasn't me being quiet, it was me rambling on elsewhere. Now, if I'd been smart, I would have done all this before participating in that blog tour, but we live and learn. It was a fun and challenging experience, and it resulted in a flash fiction that I rather like.

If you have a chance, check it out and see how not silent I was this summer. I could use the traffic.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Movie Pinacle for 2012 - Les Miserables

What do you get when you mix one of the greatest books of the nineteenth century, fabulous music, an Academy Award winning director, and a cast of talented actors? You get Les Miserables, due in theaters December 2012.

I'm very glad that I had a chance to see Les Miserables on stage (in Denver) this last year so I have something to compare it to. I have followed this musical for many years, but aside from the music, this is adapted from one of my all time favorite books. I'm in the middle of attacking the unabridged version of Victor Hugo's novel. Not an easy thing when you are used to the spare and direct more modern writing style. But even when Hugo goes off on tangents he has a way with words that keeps me reading.

Les Miserables has been adapted many time. Many of the film adaptions have elected to end the story with Javert's suicide. I've seen those versions and they just don't cut it. The two best versions come to us from France. The 1958 version starring Jean Gabin (which I have only seen dubbed) and the 2000 version starring Gerard Depardieu. These both cover the complexity of the novel and go right to the end.

One problem with adapting this book is that a lot of the interesting story is not told directly. Jean Valjean first appears on the road as a parolee. Various different attempts have been made to integrate some of that information while omitting Hugo's many side tracks.

In the musical we have a very unique telling of the story, and the whole story. While a few characters are omitted, like Azelma and Marius's grandfather, and a few scene are gone, what it does do it drive right to the heart of the story Hugo was telling. Through the music these characters gain a dimension that it takes Hugo an epic half a million words to tell.

Some of the comments I have seen in the last day since the trailer was released are about the quality of the music. I have all the major recordings of Les Miserables. I have heard the various singers and these comments make me laugh (a sad sort of laughter at how petty and short sighted some people can be). The entire point of the songs in Les Miserables is not for the singers to belt out a performance like you would expect in a musical concert. These songs were meant to be acted with emotion. I have been less than impressed with a number of the "great" stars of Les Miserables. I have heard many better singers. But what they did do is nail the emotion. Well, I don't think there is any doubt that Anne nails the emotion. I hope the rest of the performances are so raw, so viceral, so real.

My first reaction to the trailer was to wonder how many awards this film is going to get. Just that short glimpse and I am sure that come award season early next year that this will be one of the films that will be contending for some of the most prestigious awards. The Tony's were nice, now for a few Oscars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring Block

I don’t know about other writers, but there are time of the year that I find better for writing and times that are worse. For me, Spring is the worst. I don’t know why, but I find I can’t concentrate, and any story I am working on seem to drag on. And no, I don’t mean that the story is dull, but that I only get a few hundred words in at a time, when at other times of year I can get a couple thousand.

So I’ve dubbed this as Spring Block. I’m fighting it, as I’ve fought it for several years. I am determined to not stop writing. I will persevere. But it is tough going. Oddly enough, this year is going better than last year. Two years ago I wanted to write two short stories in preparation for a novel, and struggled to reach 20,000 words in five months. Last year I again barely managed to get two short stories written but I didn’t get to the second one until June (technically after spring and at the start of the more productive part of the year). This year I wrote a short story, a novella, and am in Chapter two of my next novel. Better, but still not the level of progress I want.

I can hear some people saying that every writers needs some down time. There are books to read, manuscripts to edit, that sort of thing. But it should be up to me when I take my down time. I just don’t get why during this stretch of months, January through May, everything seems to drag. Distractions are more distracting and time seems to get away from me for every little thing. In many ways I have the least going on this time of year, but I get most of my writing done during the time of year when I have so many other things going on. Last year I managed to write two novels between July and November, and get two remodel projects done, and watch a lot of movies and TV shows. Could it be that I’m not busy enough in the spring? That is about the only thing I can figure.

In any case, my Spring Block is almost over. May is almost here and after may is June, one of the best writing months outside November.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Petty Worries

Normally I devote my space here to my writing thoughts, but in a way this is related as it relates to one of my all time favorite novels, Les Miserables. Anyone who knows me knows that I am crazy about the musical based on the book and may or may not know that I am almost equally enamored of two French language adaptions of the book (the epic 1950's film that I have been unable to find in the original french with subtitles, and the 2001 version with Gerard Depardieu). I can't stand the US versions that end with Javert's death. That is not the end of the story. The Liam Neesen version was brilliant up until it ended with half an hour of story left.

Anyway, that brings me to my current topic, the impending 2012 film of the musical. I'm a big fan of hollywood musicals, but I hate it when they needlessly mess with the flow of the story. With Les Miserables, we have nearly three hours of non-stop music and little chance to change things. But from a writing perspective, I find the casting interesting and brilliant. I have been pleased with nearly every casting choice. But that is not the case elsewhere.

Taylor Swift has been offered, and I understand that she accepted the role today, and fans of Les Miserable on Broadway are up in arms. She can't sing, they say. She doesn't have the look. I have always been sensitive to quality singing and am quite picky about who I like and don't like. There are a great many supposedly great singers that I can't stand the sound of. Sarah Brightman, at least in her solo career, can't seem to enunciate a single word rendering the songs an unintelligible mush. Yuck. Colm Wilkinson, the originator of Jean Valjean, seems to have developed and strange enunciating style, as has Leah Solanga. Love her work for Disney, but her Eponine in the 10th anniversary concert and her Fantine in the 25th anniversary concert really suck. I know she can act, but I can't hear it in her voice. I recently saw the touring production in Denver, Colorado, and all the cast members were excellent, though maybe their Cossette was a bit weak. I have quite a number of the cast recordings, in three languages, and I know it can be done well.

That brings me to miss Swift and her singing and acting ability and her ability to pull off this role. For one thing, that young woman has had the heartbreak that gives her the emotional foundation for the role of Epoinine. Second, she is a damned fine singer. I am listening to her last album as I write this. The complaints I have heard is that she doesn't have the right look, that she can't hit the notes for On My Own, that she is a country singer and not fit to do a Broadway musical, and I'm sure the list will continue to grow through the end of the year. But I have to say, seriously people, you have crap recordings that are lauded as great and you have a girl who can actually sing cast in a MOVIE version of a London stage production. Not Broadway, London. Big difference. But look at who she is cast with. Sasha Baron Cohen is playing her father and is a mere 4 inches taller than she is. Her love interest, Marius, is the same 5' 11" as she is. She is tall and thin and waifish. She also has a very similar voice to the woman who originated the role in London at the Barbican. I think she will make an excellent Eponine and I can't wait to see it.

So to bring this back to writing, as a writer, when I create a character I have an image of that character in my mind. I may or may not put down the description I have in mind, but that doesn't change what is in my mind. If I should be so lucky as to have one of my stories find its way to Hollywood to be filmed, I might have some general guidelines for the type of people who should be cast but I would never dream of putting the image before the quality of the performance. Considering the other actors cast in Les Misserables, the fit of Taylor Swift seems perfect. Yet some people have an image so ingrained in their heads of who should play the role that instead of just saying that they wanted to see some other person cast, they have to resort to calling her names. They obviously haven't listened to her songs. She has been dealing with that for years and is quite adept and defending herself.

Let the casting director do their job. Unless I am mistaken, this movie is being produced by the original producer of the musical. I have no doubt that the quality of singing and acting has been more important in their casting choices than star power. They wouldn't cast her if she couldn't do it. Everyone needs to give this cast lineup a chance. I, for one, will be planning for the best theater to go see it in and am already planning on purchasing the soundtrack and blu-ray when it comes out.