1993 Animated (FR)
Running time: 95 minutes
no credited voice cast
Special Guest Stars: Victor Hugo. No, really. Sheesh. And Starring Cosette!
Directed by Thibaut Chatel
Produced by AB PRODUCTIONS (Animage)
Adaption and dialog by: Jacqueline Monsigny, Frank Bertrand, Thibaut Chatel, and Jean François Porry
M. Gillenormand: yes (seen in background)
Both Mlle. Baptistine and Mme. Magloire: only Mme Magloire
Thénardiers, after the inn: yes
Sister Simplice: yes
Gavroche's brothers: no
Mme. Victurnien: yes
Petit Gervais: yes
M. Mabeuf: yes
Hugo's original preface used
Valjean is in prison at the beginning (later, in flashback)
Bishop Myriel remains asleep during the robbery (unknown)
Fantine and Félix Tholomyès (small glimpse)
Fantine sells her teeth
Fantine becomes a prostitute
Valjean buries his money (unknown)
Fight at Fantine's Deathbed
The ship Orion
Valjean meets Cosette at the well
The first incident at Gorbeau House
Javert chases Valjean and Cosette
* Through Paris
* On foot
* Car(riage) chase
The second incident at Gorbeau House (somewhat)
Valjean and Cosette see the chain gang (yes, sort of)
Lamarque's funeral is shown or mentioned
Chase through sewers
Story continues after Javert's suicide (unknown)
Marius, after learning Valjean's history, treats him badly
Works in the galleys
The factory makes glass beads
The doll, Catherine
The garden at Rue Plumet (sort of)
The Luxembourg Garden (not really)
The town's name is Montreuil-sur-mer (Montreuil)
The man Valjean saves in Arras is named Champmathieu
Valjean's name becomes Fauchelevant ..
Eponine/Gavroche as Thénardier's child
P R O D U C T I O N N O T E S
Oh sweet Mary, Jesus, and Joseph.
Which is exactly what the Bishop of Digne would say, if he were exposed to this 8 frame per second travesty.
One would think—nay, assume—that the French would instinctively know how to get this right. I mean, it’s their national story, they all pretty much know it by heart. How is it possible, on any level, to botch a 95 minute animation this badly? Leave aside the pedestrian animation style, midway between Filmation and Rankin Bass (and despite which Rankin Bass, despite their odd design ideas, can do great animated features, c.f. The Last Unicorn). The credits claim they farmed this out to a Korean animation studio, but frankly, it must have been North Korea. And oh hey, do I see the words Pyong Yang there? Indeed I do. Okay, that explains that. Move on...
There are parts of this that, if you don’t approach it with a grain of salt and a bottle of Excedrin, will make you claw your own eyes out and stick chopsticks through your eardrums. For example, the music. The theme song, written by one of the writers, is played almost continuously through the entire work. You will get tired of it after fifteen minutes and then have to suffer through the idea that there’s still 80 minutes more of it to go. It’s so damn annoying that the brief times they break out into the Marseilles or Gavroche’s friggin’ Voltaire song will feel like Yo Yo Ma playing a few bars of Bach in comparison.
The character voices themselves are reasonable and make sense enough to the characters, there’s no one jarringly out of place. However, I cannot believe that not one of these actors looked at this script and not say, "there is no way I am lending my voice to this massacre." I mean, are voice actors in France really that desperate for work they’d sell their own virtual front teeth for this gig? Shame on all of you.
But the final blame lies with the writers, and even with four writers, there’s plenty of blame to sufficiently coat every single inch of them. Because, although only one of the writers is female, this thing has Mary Sue written into every single microfiber of its screenplay, and for Mary Sue read: Cosette. How else do you explain the following:
This, then, is the classic definition of a Mary Sue. And what’s worse, Mary Sue’s daddy owns an animation production company. God help us all.
As for the other details of the plot:
Oh why bother. Here’s the entire story for you. Don’t say I haven’t warned you.
C A S T N O T E S
The cast is listed alphabetically without explaining who voiced who, and I’ve never heard of any of them. Refer to the above paragraphs for the reason why I think that no one will ever hear of them again.
Benoit Allemane (no relation to Benny Goodman)
Daniel Beretta (no relation to the character of the same name played by Robert Blake)
Jacques Berthier (no relation to Big Bertha)
Paul Bisciglia (no relation to Leo Buscaglia)
Claudie Chantal (no relation to Claudette Colbert)
Emmanuel Curtil (no relation to Emmanuel Lewis from Webster)
Micheline Dax (no relation to Jadzia Dax from Star Trek DS9)
Sophie Gormezano (no relation to John Leguizamo)
Evelyne Grandjean (no relation to Jean Valjean)
Gerard Hernandez (no relation to Los Bros Hernandez, the creators of Love And Rockets)
Henrie Labussiere (who probably doesn’t wear one. Oh, that’s a bustier. Never mind)
Denis Laustriat (no relation to Dennis Hastert)
Brigitte Le Cordier (no relation to Brigitte Bardot)
Celine Monsarat (no relation to Celine Dion)
Jean Claude Montalban (no relation to Ricardo Montalban)
Michel Muller (no relation to Martin Mulner)
Valerie de Vulpian (no relation to Valerie Bertinelli)
and Bernard Woringer (as the Beaver)
T H E W O R S T T H I N G S A B O U T T H I S V E R S I O N
I am unable to list the worst things, since that would be like choosing the yellowest bits of sand on the beach. I mean, the music is equally bad to the animation which combined is almost but not quite equal to the supreme wretchedness of the script. Perhaps in this case the producers were attempting to bring the viewers into the story by making them as miserable as humanly possible? Frankly, they ain’t that talented. In fact the phrase "talented as a thrown brick" comes to mind, but I’m not sure why.
T H E B E S T T H I N G , S I N G U L A R, A B O U T T H I S