Musically, it's very pleasant. Celie is portrayed by LaChanze, who years ago played Ti Moune. The voices are fantastic.
However, I think this may be the first time I've experienced the story without tears. I've read the book and cried throughout reading it. I've seen the movie many times and have yet to get through it without breaking down at the end (there are other moments that simple anticipation of knowing what's about to come will make my heart skip a beat).
I think it's a combination of it being a musical and merely the soundtrack. There are so many scenes that have been skipped here listening to it. I felt rushed through it. I don't know if the play would also have that feeling. I also feel like the music cut the tension of all the scenes that would normally have gripped me and rendered them limp (for example, I would turn to years ago when I was in college and we were all in my group obsessed with Les Miserables. We'd listened to the soundtrack quite often and, yes, cried at the deaths here and there. We bawled when watching the play in Philadelphia...both times we went to see it. Yet, there is a moment where we should be upset and I always burst into nervous laughter/giggles. The characters are in one of the rare moments of spoken dialogue. They are interrupted by Gavroche running into the group of students shouting "Le Mark is Dead!" There is a beat of silence...then Enjolras begins singing "...Le Mark is dead..."...and it's cut all the tension right out of that scene.
A lot of this musical is like that for me.
I just hope that the musical is NOT many people's FIRST experience with these characters or they'd be missing a whole lot. It's one of the greatest movies of the twentieth century (and highly underrated).